Glutamine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins), found naturally in the body.

Glutamine is taken by mouth for sickle cell disease, to improve nutrition and help people recover from surgery, injuries, burns, bone marrow transplant, complications of HIV/AIDS, radiation, and cancerchemotherapy, and for many other uses. Glutamine is given intravenously (by IV) for improving recovery after surgery and other conditions.

Glutamine is commercially available as capsules or in packets as a powder form. There are two prescription glutamine products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Endari (Emmaus Medical, Inc) and NutreStore (Emmaus Medical, Inc). Glutamine for commercial use is made by a fermentation process using bacteria that produce glutamine.


Is a Form of:

Amino Acid

Primary Functions:

Sickle cell disease

Also Known As:

Acide Glutamique, Acide Glutamique HCl, Acide L-(+)-2-Aminoglutaramique

How Does It Work?

Glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid in the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Glutamine is produced in the muscles and is distributed by the blood to the organs that need it. Glutamine might help gut function, the immune system, and other essential processes in the body, especially in times of stress. It is also important for providing "fuel" (nitrogen and carbon) to many different cells in the body. Glutamine is needed to make other chemicals in the body such as other amino acids and glucose (sugar).

After surgery or traumatic injury, nitrogen is necessary to repair the wounds and keep the vital organs functioning. About one third of this nitrogen comes from glutamine.

If the body uses more glutamine than the muscles can make (i.e., during times of stress), muscle wasting can occur. This can occur in people with HIV/AIDS. Taking glutamine supplements might keep the glutamine stores up.

Some types of chemotherapy can reduce the levels of glutamine in the body. Glutamine treatment is thought to help prevent chemotherapy-related damage by maintaining the life of the affected tissues.


  • Sickle cell disease. Glutamine is an FDA-approved prescription drug for sickle cell disease. Taking it by mouth twice daily reduces sudden complications of sickle cell disease. Prescription glutamine might also reduce the number of times people are in the hospital and the number of days in the hospital for a crisis.
  • Burns. Administering glutamine through a feeding tube seems to reduce the risk of developing severe infections and might reduce the chance of death in people with severe burns. Administering glutamine intravenously (by IV) seems to decrease the risk of some infections in people with severe burns. But it does not seem to decrease the risk of death.
  • Critical illness (trauma). While some conflicting results exist, most research shows that glutamine keeps bacteria from moving out of the intestine and infecting other parts of the body after major injuries. Glutamine might also reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections in people who are critically ill. Glutamine seems to prevent hospital-acquired infections better when given intravenously (by IV) rather than by a feeding tube. Overall, glutamine does not seem to reduce the risk of death in critically ill people.
  • Involuntary weight loss in people with HIV/AIDS. Taking glutamine by mouth seems to help HIV/AIDS patients absorb food better and gain weight. Doses of 40 grams per day seem to produce the best effect.
  • Recovery after surgery. Giving glutamine intravenously (by IV) along with intravenous nutrition seems to reduce the number of days spent in the hospital after surgery, especially major abdominal surgery. It might also help prevent hospital-acquired infections after elective or emergency surgery. Giving glutamine by IV along with intravenous nutrition might also reduce the risk of infection and improve recovery after bone marrow transplants. However, not all people who receive bone marrow transplants seem to benefit. Glutamine does not seem to reduce the risk of death after any type of surgery.

Recommended Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:



  • For burns: 0.35-0.5 grams per kilogram body weight each day or 4.3 grams every four hours.
  • For critical illness (trauma): Glutamine has been given in a liquid feed at 0.2-0.6 grams per kilogram body weight each day or at a dose of 20 grams per day has been used. It is usually given for at least 5 days.
  • For sickle cell disease: 5-15 grams of prescription glutamine taken twice daily for 48 weeks in people with sickle cell disease 5 years of age or older has been used with or without the conventional medication hydroxyurea.
  • For involuntary weight loss in people with HIV/AIDS: 14-40 grams of glutamine per day has been used in combination with other nutrients.


  • For burns: 0.57 grams of glutamine per kilogram body weight each day has been used for 30 days.
  • For critical illness (trauma): 0.3-0.5 grams per kilogram or 18-21 grams of glutamine compounds have been given daily, sometimes with hormones.
  • For recovery after surgery: 0.57 grams of glutamine per kilogram body weight has been used after bone marrow transplantation. Also, 20 grams of glutamine per day or 0.3-0.4 grams per kilogram body weight has been used in people undergoing surgery. Sometimes glutamine is given in the form of glutamine dipeptide. Typically, 18-30 grams of glutamine dipeptide used. This amount is equivalent to 13-20 grams of glutamine.



  • For critical illness (trauma): 0.3 grams per kilogram has been given daily.
  • For sickle cell disease: 5-15 grams of prescription glutamine taken twice daily for 48 weeks in children 5 years of age or older has been used.

Glutamine Supplements Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of taking glutamine?

Glutamine is an energy source for intestinal and immune cells. It also helps maintain the barrier between the intestines and the rest of your body and aids with proper growth of intestinal cells.

What are the negative effects of glutamine?

Side Effects

  • Blood in urine.
  • changes in skin color.
  • cold hands and feet.
  • difficulty swallowing.
  • frequent and painful urination.
  • hives, itching, skin rash.
  • pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg.

Is a glutamine supplement safe?

While L-glutamine supplementation is usually considered safe for most people, there are some who should avoid it. People with kidney disease, liver disease or Reye's syndrome, a severe condition that can cause swelling of the liver and brain, should avoid taking L-glutamine supplements.

What glutamine supplement is the best?

  • A+ AMRAP Nutrition Glutamine.
  • A+ Novacore Nutrition Glutamine.
  • A+ Micro Ingredients Glutamine.
  • A+ NOW Foods Glutamine.
  • A+ Pure Science Supplements Glutamine.
  • A+ Optimum Nutrition Glutamine.
  • A Spartan Elite Nutrition Glutamine.
  • A Source Naturals Glutamine.

Who should not take L glutamine?

While L-glutamine supplementation is usually considered safe for most people, there are some who should avoid it. People with kidney disease, liver disease or Reye's syndrome, a severe condition that can cause swelling of the liver and brain, should avoid taking L-glutamine supplements.

Can glutamine make you gain weight?

Glutamine and Weight Loss

To put it in the simplest of ways, glutamine can help keep weight off by reducing your food cravings and giving your body more energy. By having enough glutamine in your system, you're better able to lose weight while maintaining muscle mass.

When should you take glutamine?

Take glutamine oral powder with a meal or snack unless directed otherwise. Take glutamine tablets on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. Dissolve your dose of glutamine oral powder in at least 8 ounces of hot or cold liquid.

Which is better glutamine or creatine?

In terms of muscle mass preservation and reducing fatigue, the evidence favours creatine, which is our clear winner! If you only want the gut health benefits of Glutamine, then it would be more beneficial to focus on a varied nutrient-rich diet or try supplementing with a simple probiotic.

How does L glutamine heal the gut?

The mucous membrane blocks bacterial infiltration during digestion. L-glutamine can also boost immune cell activity in the gut, helping prevent infection and inflammation, as well as soothing the intestinal tissue. Because L-glutamine is used for energy production, it can support the reduction of intestinal spasms.

Is glutamine bad for your liver?

While L-glutamine supplementation is usually considered safe for most people, there are some who should avoid it. People with kidney disease, liver disease or Reye's syndrome, a severe condition that can cause swelling of the liver and brain, should avoid taking L-glutamine supplements.

Is it worth taking glutamine?

Glutamine is an important amino acid not just to muscle cells, but to the gut, the liver, and the immune system. But truthfully, it's not really worth worrying about: just eat a decent amount of protein and you'll have all the glutamine you really need. One to two grams per kilogram of bodyweight will suffice.

Can you take too much glutamine?

Generally speaking, taking L-glutamine is safe. Make sure to stick to the recommended doses, however. Taking too much is potentially bad for your health. Side effects may happen if you're allergic to L-glutamine, or if you've taken too much.

Does glutamine help leaky gut?

Glutamine is considered the most important nutrient for healing of 'leaky gut syndrome' because it is the preferred fuel for enterocytes and colonocytes (52). Glutamine supplementation causes a profound improvement in intestinal barrier function in highly stressed patients and patients in TPN.

What causes glutamine deficiency?

Deficiency Factors

Injury, surgery, burns, infections, malnutrition and high-intensity exercise are among the situations involving physical stress that engender glutamine deficiency.  Low glutamine levels typically occur in individuals who are experiencing severe physical trauma caused by infections or extensive burns.

Is Glutamine good for the skin?

Nutrients ranging from glutamine to alpha lipoic acid (ALA) to chromium can help enhance the loss of body fat, regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels, and promote healthy, youthful-looking skin.

Is there a difference between glutamine and L glutamine?

Glutamine is an amino acid. Like many other amino acids, it exists in two different forms: L-glutamine and D-glutamine. They are almost identical but have a slightly different molecular arrangement. The form found in foods and supplements is L-glutamine.

How does glutamine help immune system?

For example, the role glutamine plays in the control of proliferation of immune system cells occurs through activation of proteins, such as ERK and JNK kinases. Both proteins act on the activation of transcription factors, such as JNK and AP-1, and it leads to the transcription of cell proliferation-related genes.

Does Glutamine promote tumor growth?

Researchers are concerned that glutamine supplementation leads to an increase in tumor growth in cancer patients following in vitro studies revealing an increase in cell growth by glutamine supplementation. Subsequent in vivo studies showed the opposite effect, which is a decrease in tumor growth.

Does glutamine reduce weight?

Glutamine and Weight Loss

By having enough glutamine in your system, you're better able to lose weight while maintaining muscle mass. Adding glutamine to your diet will also help you stay on track with your anti-inflammatory diet plan and help reduce cravings for high-glycemic carbohydrates.

Does glutamine really work?

However, some research has reported that glutamine supplements may decrease muscle soreness and improve recovery after intense exercise. In fact, one study found that glutamine or glutamine plus carbohydrates can help reduce a blood marker of fatigue during two hours of running.

How much L glutamine should I take for weight loss?

Things to Know Before Trying Glutamine for Weight Loss

A daily intake of 50 to 60 grams per day has shown no harmful side effects, but it's crucial to note that this supplement intake was given to hospital patients for a short amount of time, not to healthy people looking to use glutamine for weight loss.

Who needs glutamine?

If you have anxiety, sugar or alcohol cravings, constipation or diarrhea, a poor immune system, low muscle mass, poor wound healing or slow recovery after workouts, you may want to supplement with L-glutamine. L-Glutamine comes in two forms; pick whichever works for you, capsules or powder.

Clinical Studies