Glutamine is the most common amino acid in the body. It’s also essential for digestive health.
Supplementing with glutamine can reduce symptoms caused by leaky gut syndrome, including intestinal inflammation, food sensitivities, anxiety, and depression.
Muscle growth is another benefit of glutamine. How does one amino acid impact the brain and body in so many different ways? We’re going to cover that in this article.
We’ll also discuss the best sources of glutamine, including reviewing the best glutamine supplements for leaky gut.
Glutamine Facts Overview
Leaky Gut Defense by Pure Therapeutics is our top pick for best l glutamine for leaky gut. It combines pharmaceutical grade glutamine with licorice root, aloe vera, and arabinogalactans derived from Larch tree bark.
Licorice root is a powerful adaptogenic herb that improves gut health by strengthening the mucosal lining of the stomach and small intestine. It’s also effective at soaking up excess cortisol and addressing problems with adrenal fatigue.
Aloe vera is an anti-inflammatory that aids cell repair, and the active arabinogalactans are prebiotics that promote healthy microflora.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It’s a building block for proteins and acts as fuel for repairing the cells of the gut lining.
Glutamine makes up over 30% of the amino acid nitrogen in the blood.
Keeping glutamine levels high is important for nearly every body system.
70% percent of the glutamine in the body is created in the skeletal muscles, making glutamine a great supplement for bodybuilders or anyone who hits the gym.
Glutamine also functions as an essential neurotransmitter in the brain.
This isn’t good considering that your body uses glutamine in such large amounts. Glutamine improves cognition by supplying the brain with GABA and glutamate.
Getting adequate glutamine through the food you eat and the supplements you take can improve overall health by aiding gut repair, lowering inflammation, and strengthening the immune system.
Glutamine is a prime example of how closely tied the gut is to the brain.
Early in evolution, the nervous system first became more complex in the gut. As we evolved, those intricate neurons expanded into the brain. The gut continues to talk to the brain through the vagus nerve, which functions as a mainline for messages between the two.
FUN FACT: A good amount of 911 calls come from the elderly pinching their vagus nerve while straining to defecate. They pass out as a result, and fall off the toilet.
Think of the gut and brain as different addresses on the same street. It’s always important to keep this in mind when treating gut health. What you put in your body (by mouth) can (and usually does) impact brain chemistry. This effect gets multiplied when your gut lining is already compromised (aka leaky gut, ulcers, etc.).
With a healthy gut lining, food has a chance to be fully processed before nutrients enter the bloodstream. With a leaky gut, toxins enter the bloodstream too soon and cause inflammation that can even affect the brain.
Now that we understand the basics, let’s take a closer look at the specific ways glutamine heals the gut and improves brain health.
The lining of the gut is where good bacteria live. By aiding repair processes, the best glutamine helps maintain a strong barrier of defense against toxins while making a hospitable home for good bacteria to live.
Digestive specialists regularly prescribe glutamine to treat leaky gut, diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), ulcers, and Crohn’s disease.
The fact that people with autoimmune diseases tend to have digestive problems is no coincidence. An unhealthy gut lining strains the immune system by allowing too many inflammatory agents to enter the bloodstream.
But glutamine’s role in the immune system doesn’t end with strengthening the gut lining. Without glutamine, the immune cells themselves aren’t able to grow. The macrophages, lymphocytes, and neutrophils need plenty of glutamine surrounding them at all times to function.
Any disease that compromises the immune system is affected by your body's glutamine content. The same goes for recovering from surgery and healing injuries. Supplementing with the best glutamine can supply your body with the fuel it needs to recover.
When inflammatory cytokines enter the bloodstream, inflammation can surface as arthritic joints or inflamed skin. Supplementing with glutamine and eating glutamine-rich foods can heal skin inflammation and reduce pain.
Glutamine protects the brain from inflammation by promoting healthy white blood cells and strengthening the gut lining. In the brain, glutamine is used to make three different neurotransmitters: GABA, glutamate, and aspartate.
Having adequate nutritional glutamine (through food or supplements) is essential to keeping the right ratio of these three neurotransmitters. Inadequate glutamine can lead to a deficiency in GABA and an excess of glutamate.
This can make anxiety worse as well as exacerbate depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy, addictive behaviors, and bipolar disorder. The best glutamine keeps these crucial neurotransmitters in balance, and in doing so improves focus, concentration, and working memory. (R)
If you have anxiety, don’t MEGA-DOSE with glutamine. You could make your anxiety worse by further knocking out of balance the ratio of GABA to glutamate.
Bottom line: Keep an eye on your symptoms while supplementing with glutamine. If you start to feel like your anxiety is getting worse decrease your dose until symptoms improve. Supplementing with only the best glutamine can reduce the the chances of negative side effects.
Take 2 to 5 grams twice daily and don’t exceed more the 10 grams in a single day.
On its own, glutamine can lower inflammation and help protect the lining of the gut. With the added help of licorice root, larch tree bark, and aloe vera, your gut will be encouraged to heal and repair itself through several different mechanisms at once. It’s this combo that puts Leaky Gut Defense at the top of our list for best l glutamine supplement.
Licorice root has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to enhance the effects of other herbs and treatments. These enhancing effects most likely come from licorice root’s effectiveness as a soothing anti-inflammatory. The aloe vera in Leaky Gut Defense also reduces inflammation.
Arabinogalactans, the product's fourth ingredient, is a prebiotic. Prebiotics act as food for healthy gut bacteria. Arabinogalactans are an effective way to balance microflora in the gut by increasing good bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactobacillus.
Pure Therapeutic’s supplements are all made in the USA in an FDA-monitored manufacturing facility. They have over 15 years in the health industry. Leaky Gut Defense combines ingredients that can rapidly heal damage to the gut and restore healthy bacterial colonies, making it our top pick for best glutamine.
As a company, Pure Encapsulations is hard to beat regarding purity, quality, and production standards. The only downside is that their products are more expensive. What you do get is guaranteed quality with a long history of commitment to delivering hypoallergenic products.
Their facilities are all in the USA and are monitored by the FDA. For Pure Encapsulations, the watch of the FDA is just a formality. Pure Encapsulation's manufacturing standards well-exceed those put in place by the FDA.
At the beginning of each day, they disassemble their packaging equipment and individually sterilize the pieces to prevent cross-contamination and allergen exposure.
I’m always wary of companies that market amino acids to bodybuilders as overhyped muscle-building and hormone-boosting supplements. NutraBio seems to be an exception to this rule.
Since they first came onto the scene in 1996, they’ve made huge strides in quality standards and continue to research and develop new products. NutraBio has their own US-based manufacturing facilities that are overseen by the FDA. The best glutamine supplements are produced from start to finish by the companies that sell them.
NutraBio's products are free of unnecessary binders, fillers, and additives. They only use therapeutic doses of ingredients (don’t use minuscule amounts of something just to say it’s in there). Aside from added flavoring, they only use active ingredients.
The FDA allows supplement companies to omit some ingredients from their ingredients list to protect their proprietary blend. NaturaBio doesn’t buy into this. They believe in full transparency and disclose all their ingredients.
Thorne has been producing high-quality supplements for over 30 years. They’re in the same camp as Pure Encapsulations with standards that well-exceed the FDA's. Thorne regularly collaborates with high-level medical universities for ongoing research.
Over the years, Thorne Research has partnered with John Hopkin’s University, Columbia University, Duke University, and the National Institute of Health.
Thorne’s products are a little more expensive per dose, but what you get is a level of quality, purity, and effectiveness that few companies offer.
Natural Factors is a company that first won me over with their chewable GABA supplements. As it turns out, they produce high-quality supplements across the board and regularly make it into our supplement reviews.
Like all the companies featured in our articles, they have high-quality standards. Natural Factors is an industry leader in research and innovation. Out of the best glutamine supplements we’ve reviewed, few companies is as dedicated to sustainable manufacturing practices that limit environmental impact.
Glutamine is the most prevalent amino acid in the body. It's used in the brain to bake GABA and in the gut to heal damage and reduce inflammation. It's also critical to recovering from injury, building muscle, improving cognition, and reducing anxiety.
Supplementing with glutamine is prescribed for the treatment many digestive disorders and several mental health issues.