Should You Use L-Glutamine for Leaky Gut?

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Can l-glutamine help with leaky gut
Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » Should You Use L-Glutamine for Leaky Gut?

If your doctor has told you that you have a leaky gut, you’re likely considering a gut supporting diet. But supplements may also be helpful for leaky gut. One of my favorite gut support supplements is l-glutamine. In this post, I’ll cover all the amazing benefits of l-glutamine for the gut and how you can use it.

What Is Leaky Gut?

As food enters the intestines, it is broken down into individual nutrients that can pass through the tight junctions of the intestinal lining and into the bloodstream to be used in the rest of the body. The gut lining keeps large particles, bacteria, and toxins from passing through in the same way that nutrients do. These undesirable particles are swept out of the body with other waste.

However, with leaky gut (also known as intestinal hyperpermeability), the intestinal lining is not as robust and allows these particles and toxins through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. This can wreak havoc on the body.

A 2017 article in Frontiers in Immunology describes leaky gut syndrome as “a dangerous warning signal for autoimmune disease.” According to microbiologist Kiran Krishnan, about 80% of the body’s immune system and tissue resides in the digestive tract, which is why leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases are often tied together.

Causes of Leaky Gut

Steve Wright, the creator of, sat down for a podcast episode with me to talk about leaky gut, heartburn, and digestion. During the podcast, he describes how his program helps individuals identify 19 specific triggers that may cause leaky gut.

These are the main factors that are believed to play a role in the development of leaky gut:

  • Poor diet
  • Stress
  • Environmental toxins
  • Bacterial imbalances
  • Genes

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons leaky gut occurs and it’s likely a combination of these factors. Some triggers are out of our hands (genetics), but many are without our realm of control.

Symptoms of Leaky Gut

Leaky gut leads to more than just stomach pain. Symptoms of leaky gut are often quite different from person to person. Some people can even have leaky gut syndrome without experiencing symptoms. Other times it can be painful like Crohn’s disease. This is why it’s so difficult to diagnose (and possibly why mainstream medicine is having a hard time believing that leaky gut is real!).

These symptoms may indicate that an individual’s intestinal lining isn’t working correctly:

Leaky gut often occurs alongside other chronic illnesses plaguing many people throughout the western world, including autoimmune diseases, cancer, respiratory infections, Parkinson’s disease, and more.

What Is L-Glutamine?

L-glutamine plays a vital role in a variety of processes. It especially helps in the case of leaky gut because it supports the body in restoring the intestinal lining.

This essential amino acid provides the body with support by:

  • removing waste (such as ammonia)
  • building proteins
  • stabilizing blood glucose levels
  • building nucleic acids for DNA

This supplement (in its powdered form) became a popular supplement for bodybuilders because it supports healthy muscles. A study from 2015 states that this nutrient helps athletes recover and experience less muscle soreness following strenuous physical activity.

Benefits of L-Glutamine on the Body

Besides helping with muscle recovery, l-glutamine has many other benefits. Even if leaky gut wasn’t something on my radar, I would use it for some of these other benefits.

Supports Healthy Brain Function

A healthy brain (just like the rest of the body) requires a variety of vitamins and nutrients to maintain a healthy mental state. Glutamine is one of those valuable amino acids for brain health.

Glutamine makes up a large portion of the central nervous system. A lack of glutamine in the body can interrupt natural brain cycles and lead to epilepsy, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, and other mood or nervous system disorders.

Supports a Healthy Digestive System and Bowel Movements

It is only natural that a condition known as “leaky gut” would cause problems in the digestive system and bowels.

Gut-related issues seem to be more common than we think. Dr. Ken Brown revealed in this podcast with me that today about 20% of the population experience IBS. One of the biggest concerns for digestive issues and bowel issues is inflammation.

Fortunately, l-glutamine can support the body in lowering the inflammatory response in IBS and other chronic illnesses, according to a 2017 review. The review found that stressors (including illness) deplete glutamine, so supplementing can help.

Additionally, this review explains that glutamine supports cellular health which is also important for gut health.

Supports Weight Loss

This nutrient has been used to promote weight loss and fat burning by many in the fitness industry. In one study, after just six weeks of receiving the supplements, patients with type 2 diabetes saw a dramatic reduction in some of their cardiovascular risk factors as well as body composition. Researchers believe that l-glutamine helps to reduce insulin levels and stabilizes blood glucose, supporting the body in burning more fat and building muscle.

Can L-Glutamine Support the Gut?

As mentioned above, l-glutamine supports healthy digestion and overall gut health. A French study describes glutamine as a vital nutrient for overall intestinal health (including leaky gut syndrome).

Supports Healthy Food Choices

Due to its ability to support healthy blood glucose levels, l-glutamine supports healthy eating habits, instead of feeding cravings for sugars and carbohydrates that cause inflammation throughout the body (making leaky gut worse). Additionally, a 2019 study shows that low glutamine levels in the brain were associated with heavy alcohol consumption and cravings, too.

Supports Intestinal Health

Stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis often accompany leaky gut as these conditions directly affect the intestines.

L-glutamine has shown promising benefits in supporting the health of the intestines. A European review looked at the role glutamine played on intestinal health and determined that the amino acid has a “protective effect on intestinal tissues.”

What Are the Side Effects of L-Glutamine?

This supplement is considered generally safe for most people. If you have a medical condition or are unsure at all, always check with your doctor to discuss whether this supplement is safe for you. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t use this supplement without talking with your doctor as it’s unclear whether it’s safe. Your doctor may recommend getting your share of this nutrient in food form instead of supplements.

Side effects are rare, though some people have an allergic reaction to this supplement. If you notice signs of an allergic reaction like swelling, hives, nausea, etc., get medical attention immediately.

How to Add L-Glutamine to Your Diet

L-glutamine is found naturally in a variety of protein sources. Include these foods in your diet to naturally reap the benefits of this nutrient:

  • Grass-fed beef
  • Bone broth
  • Free-range chicken
  • Spinach
  • Beets
  • Peas
  • Broccoli rabe
  • Wild-caught cod and salmon
  • Turkey
  • Cabbage
  • Cottage cheese
  • Asparagus
  • Venison

Eating a whole foods diet with at least three servings of these foods daily is a great place to start when increasing l-glutamine. Probiotics are also helpful for supporting healthy digestion so adding any of the above vegetables in fermented form is a great idea. Beet kvass is one tasty idea.

Taking l-glutamine as a supplement to complement a healthy diet can support your journey to a healthier gut, too. For some, acquiring enough l-glutamine through food may be easy. But, to get a consistent amount daily, supplementing may be a better route to take.

When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I knew I needed to be taking care of my gut health. I started this gut-healthy diet and made sure I was getting ample amounts of l-glutamine. This protocol made a huge difference in supporting my body’s natural health.

I like these l-glutamine capsules, but you can also find l-glutamine powder.

The Power of the Body

What I find really interesting about using these kinds of supplements to support health is that they are things easily found in food. That means that you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money. Instead, you can be more intentional about the food you eat and get many of the benefits of this supplement.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, l-glutamine is an essential nutrient to consider adding to your diet with your doctor’s approval.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


103 responses to “Should You Use L-Glutamine for Leaky Gut?”

  1. Jane Avatar

    I am just curious how long you would commend taking l-glutamine to heal leaky gut. Weeks, Months? Thank you

  2. Taylor Avatar

    L-glutamine has helped me tremendously and healing my ulcerative colitis. We have talked about starting a family in the next year or so. What is your opinion of taking this if trying to conceive or are pregnant?

  3. Meagen Avatar

    Hi there, I have been taking L-glutamine for about a month or so and have seen positive results. The supplements available are 500mg and I was sometimes taking them twice a day. It’s harder to find the powder in Canada and it’s quite expensive because it is mostly used as a workout supplement. Any thoughts?

    1. Jane Avatar

      I am in Canada, too and found a good quality l-glutamine powder for sale at a Naturopath’s office. The brand they sold was Jarrow. I took a quick look on and saw it for sale there. Hope that helps.

  4. Cheryl Savage Avatar
    Cheryl Savage

    I love you site, and I’ve used it to make products. I have a question. I have Lyme and my gut is a mess. I have issues with eating, gaining weight, and absence of crucial bacteria. Can you tell me a good brand, one that doesn’t have gmos or is organic. Not sure if that’s necessary, but with so many things, I never know.

    Thanks so much! Great blog!

  5. jason Avatar

    Be careful taking l glutamine ,it can turn into l glutamate in some people.Def try food before supplements.Meaning some people have an allergy,or a sencitivy to l glutamine,I did!But I also have some sevete health problems.

  6. Cedra Avatar

    Hi Kate,

    I am also curious what your thoughts are on Glutamine after watching The Truth About Cancer. Also, in Mercola’s article on this subject he doesn’t specify what entails a high dosage. I am currently taking 5 grams a day.



  7. Donna Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    So I’ve been watching the truth about cancer a global quest and on last nights episode a doctor briefly mentioned that glutamine feeds cancer in much the same way that sugar does. I was wondering if you have heard about this and what your thoughts are on the subject. I take glutagenics daily as it is the one product that has helped control my gastrointestinal issues. Now I’m wondering … Hmmmmm

    Thanks and I look forward to your response,

  8. Kit Avatar

    Thanks Katie! I was hoping for your recommendation. Can finally feel confident in putting my hands on a product!

  9. jason Avatar

    Glutazen hmm,I only no of the l mino acid l l glutamine.i dont no why it formed the rash on neck and I wasnt able to take,switching foods and playing around with enzyme therapy now seeing how it will do.i have a real severe case of leaky gut ,had it for over twenty years in a world of trouble.

  10. Parashuram Avatar

    By chance I stumbled on to a Japanese formulation of L Glutamine by the brand name Glutazene which contains only 663.30 mg of L Glutamene with water soluble Azulene of 2.01 mg in sachet form. The recommended dose is 3 sachets per day each sachet costing 10 Indian Rupees. I have started only last week and it is already showing improvement in my chronic IBS and flatulence condition.
    Please try it.

    1. Sumi Avatar

      Hi parashuram,

      I suffer from leakygut and would like to try some reliable brands of glutamine. Between, where did you buy this glutamine from???

  11. Sara Avatar

    My 4 year old was prescribed L glutamine. Any suggestions on how to get him to take it??? I have tried mixing in his coconut yogurt but no luck! Thanks for all the helpful articles.

  12. Carol Day Avatar
    Carol Day

    I’ve asked this before and no one seems to reply. Perhaps you can. What brand or form does l-glutamine or glutamine come in? I don’t want to buy something I don’t need. Thanks.

      1. Heather Avatar

        I really respect your advice and I read you take l lglutamine with food correct? I think that might help me tolerate it because on an empty stomach all my symptoms are worse. So you do believe it works with food? Do you take it in the middle of the meal or at the end? Please help. This has been the most confusing supplement I have ever taken. Thank you!

  13. Megan Avatar

    Interesting to hear glutamine doesn’t work for everyone. I’m currently taking this, along with herbs and medication for candida and my stomach is so bad right now. I also have IBS and eating is quite difficult right now. I just hope it will work to heal my gut once and for all.

    1. Lois Avatar

      Have you continued taking this? I just started and my stomach has been very tight and upset as well.

  14. Meghan Avatar


    Given that the supplement world isn’t very well regulated and it can be tough to find a quality supplier, I was hoping you might be able to advise which L-Glutamine supplement you use. I’ve looked at several suppliers but am wary about what I’m buying. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    1. amy Avatar

      Hi, I work at a naturopath’s office… we sell the brand “pure encapsulations” for l-glutamine. they are very picky about which brands they sell or recommend so i’d try that brand if you can find it!

  15. Eli Avatar

    Naturaqure is safe and made only of Aloevera plant. It helps heal the gut and all the autoimmune deseases.

  16. Lisa Avatar

    When I had Leaky Gut, I tried taking L-Glutemine , it made matters worse. My blood sugar kept dropping and had a raw feeling in my gut. I contacted the company where I got it to find out what it was made from as the label only said it was fermented. The only answer I got was “we are not sure” More than likely it was from Corn. I do have issues with Glutamates, I stopped taking it and found something else to fix my leaky gut. My DH also took it and did nothing for him.

    1. Poriya Avatar

      Hi Lisa:
      Thanks for sharing your experiences with L-glutamine, and mentioned being helped by something else…Of course, people will be wondering that is, if you would not mind sharing it. Thanks very much!

    2. jason Avatar

      L glutamine makes me breakout with a rash on neck,and severe stomache cramps,be careful,but I do have multiple chemical sencitivity caused by leaky gut too.I muat be turning the l glutamine to glutamate in my body,maybe. What did you take?

    3. Heather Avatar

      What did you take? I am having problems with l-glutamine. Thank you for your time

  17. Carol Avatar

    Trying to buy L-Glutamine. Wholefoods is where I was searching. They have capsule form, and they have a powder but it’s just called Glutamine recommended for after sports.

    Can you recommend one, Katie?

  18. Phil Avatar

    Hi, I have read that glutamine can be a problem for those sensitive to glutamate. Do you have any information on this? There was an article on recently about free glutamates and some people mentioned in the comments reacting to bone broths. I would really like to see this topic addressed, thanks 🙂

    1. BRIAN Avatar

      I also react very badly with bone broths… tried pork knuckles… andalso chicken…native and free range..still bad reaction

      but im very okay with tender pork ribs and bones just 1 hour boiling

      i bought glutamine too…took two one day…felt drunk…it was bad

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