Best Glutamine Supplements For Healing & Recovery | 2020 Buyer’s Guide
What is the best glutamine supplement? Look for a branded product that contains pure l-glutamine. If there are other ingredients, make sure that they are not unnecessary but enhance the effectiveness of the supplement. We recommend l-glutamine in capsules as they are more convenient and tasteless. Being unflavored means that there are no extra additives, including artificial ones. You can also easily take capsules while traveling, without messing about dissolving the powder. We believe that Optimum Nutrition L-Glutamine Muscle Recovery Capsules best fits these criteria.
Why have we chosen it? It is made by Optimum Nutrition, a trusted American brand with global outreach and great customer service. The supplement is available in easy-to-swallow capsules, with each pill containing 500 mg of pure l-glutamine. It is free of unnecessary additives, artificial flavors, and fillers. Nor does it contain GMO, gluten or soy. The two other ingredients, gelatin and magnesium stearate, make the supplement more effective. The product is cost-efficient as one canister includes 240 capsules. Take these pills to help your muscles recover faster, heal your gut or enhance your brain health.
What Is Glutamine?
Glutamine is an amino acid, which is a very important compound for your body because it performs multiple essential functions. Primarily, it participates in the biosynthesis of proteins and is necessary for your immune system to function. Besides, this amino acid is crucial for the health of your digestive system. All this makes glutamine indispensable for the process of healing and recovery of your body.
Normally, our bodies produce enough glutamine, however, when your body is subjected to stress, it requires more of this amino acid. You can get extra glutamine from a regular meal like eggs, chicken, beef, and other protein-rich foods. And yet, it is hard to calculate how much glutamine you will obtain from these food items. That is why it would be wise to take glutamine supplements if you need to help your body to recover.
Glutamine is available in two forms: l-glutamine and d-glutamine. In this article, we will dwell on the former since d-glutamine is not that important for the body. It is l-glutamine that needs to be obtained with foods and is added as an active ingredient to the supplements. That is why some manufacturers indicate it simply as “glutamine”, instead of “l-glutamine.”
What Are the Benefits of Glutamine Supplements?
Since glutamine is so useful, let’s take a closer look at what kind of benefits such supplements offer.
- Boost Your Immune System. L-glutamine supplements provide extra fuel to immune cells. Why is it so important? Immune cells can be compared to soldiers defending their country from invaders. The stronger they are and the more ammunition they have, the better chance they will push back the enemy. This is particularly relevant in a situation where you get injuries or undergo rehabilitation after surgery. A study conducted at the UK-based University of Southampton has shown that l-glutamine supplements can also help the body to fight off infections. The scientists have revealed that glutamine levels decrease in animals with sepsis, burns, and injuries. While including glutamine in the diet increases their resistance to infections.
- Improves Your Digestive System. In your gut, glutamine plays an essential role in digestion and secretion. In addition, it hampers toxins and bacteria from moving to other areas of your body. This is called leaky gut syndrome. According to researchers from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, taking supplements with this amino acid enhances the mucosal barrier function in the gut. Based on their findings, the scientists recommend using glutamine in clinical practice.
- Enhances Your Workout Performance. Being an amino acid, l-glutamine is one of the basic building blocks of protein. And it is the protein that is used by your body to gain muscle mass and repair damaged tissues. While there is little scientific evidence showing the ability of l-glutamine supplements to improve muscle strength, it does help with muscle recovery. So a group of Canadian scientists examined the effects of such supplements on muscle growth and soreness after intense workouts. They have found out that taking supplements based on this amino acid leads to faster recovery of peak torque and decreased muscle soreness. And interesting fact: men benefit more from l-glutamine than women in terms of muscle recovery.
- Helps With Inflammation. L-glutamine has an anti-inflammatory effect and can also act as an analgesic. Indian researchers have conducted a study showing that the effect of this amino acid can be compared to that of some anti-inflammatory drugs, with the advantage that l-glutamine supplements do not cause gut irritation.
- Enhances Brain Function. This amino acid provides energy for the brain and, in this sense, it is recommended for people with alcohol addiction issues. Moreover, taking these supplements will make you more alert and agile. According to scientists from Rutgers University, they can be effectively used in the treatment of many neurodegenerative diseases.
- Helps With Blood Sugar Levels. More importantly, this amino acid is recommended for Type 2 diabetic patients as they suffer from lower l-glutamine levels. A trial conducted with the participation of people with diabetes has shown that this amino acid helps to get rid of extra fat, lose some inches in the waist and cut blood glucose levels.
How To Choose Glutamine Supplements
There are several important things to consider when purchasing your glutamine supplement.
- L-Glutamine Concentration. First, check the amount of this amino acid in a supplement. Generally, 5 grams of l-glutamine per serving is a recommended dose for bodybuilders and the like. However, some manufacturers include smaller amounts of this ingredient in their products. That is why there are products containing just one gram of l-glutamine.
- Other Ingredients. Well, I know people who prefer blends of healthy amino acids, nutrients, and other compounds. Whether to buy blends or supplements containing l-glutamine depends on your needs. On the one hand, additional ingredients may enhance the efficiency of the supplement. On the other hand, they increase side effects. How to solve this dilemma? If you need to take l-glutamine in high doses, opt for a supplement containing only this ingredient. If it plays just a supportive role and is not a priority in your supplementation program, you may choose blends.
- Flavored/Unflavored. There are different options on the market and the choice largely depends on your preferences. If you are a beginner, start with unflavored powders or capsules. If you want a flavored supplement, make sure that it does not contain artificial flavors.
- Brand. I would strongly recommend against buying supplements from unknown brands. Since products of this category are not regulated by the EPA until they are available on the store shelves, there is a high risk that you buy a supplement containing harmful ingredients. In some cases, such ingredients are not indicated on the label or you simply may be unaware that they are harmful.
TOP-9 Best-Rated Glutamine Supplements
Below, you will find the TOP-9 supplements, some of which contain solely l-glutamine while others include a variety of extra ingredients. These products are available in the form of capsules or powders and cost from $6 to $30.
1. OPTIMUM NUTRITION L-Glutamine Muscle Recovery Capsules | Best Overall
For some $12, you get 240 capsules, 500 mg of pure l-glutamine each. The product comes in easy-to-swallow capsules and is flavorless. No unnecessary additives or components. Just this amino acid, which is so much needed for muscle protein development, and two other ingredients — gelatin and magnesium stearate. Gelatin provides your body with building blocks that will help muscles to recover. It is a protein source but without fat. The other ingredient, magnesium stearate, is used in capsules to prevent other components from sticking to each other.
The recommended dose is one to two capsules a day. Take them between meals and about half an hour before or immediately after exercise. The product is manufactured by Optimum Nutrition, an Illinois-based company with robust customer service and international distributors all over the world.
This glutamine supplement has gained over 1,300 customer ratings, the majority of which are positive. Buyers purchase it for different purposes: to heal the gut or to maintain muscles. Judging by the feedback, this stuff works great both for muscle recovery and dealing with digestion issues.
2. Crazy Muscle L-Glutamine Capsules, 1000mg | Best L-Glutamine Capsules
This product will reduce muscle soreness, will give you more energy and allow you to train more and faster. Based on 100% pure l-glutamine, this supplement contains neither sugars nor artificial flavors. In this product, the concentration of l-glutamine is higher than in the previous one — 1,000 mg per capsule. Since this is the minimum recommended daily dose, such capsules are more convenient. More importantly, you do not have to consume unnecessary fillers that are usually part of the contents of capsules from other brands.
With almost 90% of customers giving it five stars, this product is popular with those who are engaged in weightlifting to gain muscle mass or are interested in health and wellness products. One buyer takes this supplement in the morning on an empty stomach to speed up muscle recovery. He says that this does not cause a stomach upset. Moreover, these tablets are more convenient than powdered solutions.
3. NOW Sports Nutrition, 1 Pound | Best L-Glutamine Powder
If you opt for powdered supplements, try this product. It includes high-grade l-glutamine and nothing more. No gluten, soy or artificial flavors. More importantly, the powder was tested for banned substances, meaning it can be safely used by professional athletes who have to follow anti-doping rules. All Now Sports Nutrition products are GMP-certified, meaning its manufacturing facilities are compliant with the industry standards. By the way, Now Sports Nutrition is a trusted brand established about 50 years ago as a family-run business and now is well-known in the world of bodybuilding.
Add one teaspoon of the powder to water or juice and mix the solution thoroughly. Take this supplement between meals once or twice a day. Many customers buy this stuff to heal the gut. One of them recommends starting at a low dose to avoid such side effects as nausea and flushing. Take a half teaspoon of the powder in the morning before a meal and the same amount in the afternoon, increasing the dose slowly.
4. Body Fortress 100% Pure Glutamine Powder | Best Pure Glutamine
This product is definitely for bodybuilders and those who have to exercise a lot. Each serving contains 4.5 grams of L-glutamine and 15 calories. The supplement comes without preservatives and artificial flavors. It is also free of glutamine, sugar, and yeast. One 13-ounce canister includes 66 servings, so this supplement will be enough for more than a month, given you take it twice a day. The powder blends well with water or green tea and has no taste. Take it before and after exercises to facilitate recovery and maximize your workout performance.
Many customers rate it highly, noting that the product is of good quality. The downside to this supplement is that it is not NSF-certified, whereas the National Sanitation Foundation certification is reliable evidence of a product’s safety. Another weak point is in the canister quality. It is very hard to open, which actually speaks of poor manufacturing.
5. Essential Stacks Gut L-Glutamine Powder | Best For Bodybuilding
This is another l-glutamine powder without any extra additives, such as gluten, sugar, and soy. The product was designed specifically for people with gut issues and is manufactured at the FDA-registered facility. That is why I recommend it for bodybuilders as this supplement will most likely not cause any adverse effects when taken in higher doses. The substance is highly absorbable because of the lack of extra amino acids.
Besides, it is easier to use. Just add one scoop of the powder in water and mix it with a spoon! One canister includes 10.5 ounces (300 grams) of the powder, with one serving amounting to 5 grams of l-glutamine. The disadvantage lies in the price as the product is almost three times more expensive than many others on this list. Still, customers like this product and 82% of them gave it five stars. They particularly highlight the high quality of the ingredient and claim that it works wonders.
6. Nutricost L-Glutamine Powder, 500 Grams | Best Unflavored
The problem with many efficient supplements often lies in their bad taste. Some people do not pay much attention to that while others simply cannot consume unpalatable supplements. That is why I think it is important to mention an option that I consider to be the best unflavored l-glutamine supplement. This product is manufactured by Nutricost, a well-established American company selling high-quality supplements for different purposes — from sports nutrition and weight management to products for men’s and women’s health. This company boasts extensive expertise in this field, so no wonder that it managed to create a powder without an unpleasant flavor typical for this kind of product.
Besides, this supplement is a cost-efficient option. For about $20, you get 100 servings of the powder, with each serving containing 5000 mg of l-glutamine. The Nutricost supplement is popular among customers and rated highly. One of the buyers said that he liked the powder because he cannot even taste it when adding it to a smoothie or the like.
7. Natural Factors Micronized L-Glutamine Drink Mix 5000 Mg | Best Glutamine Drink Mix
Based on a single ingredient — micronized l-glutamine — this product is tasteless and mixes well with drinks. It is also free of GMOs and is certified organic, so rest assured that with this drink, you will not consume any synthetic substances and pesticide residue.
As for quality standards, I’d like to elaborate a bit on the brand. Founded in the middle of the 20th century, Natural Factors is among the largest American producers of nutritional supplements. The company runs farms where only organic ingredients are grown. Moreover, Natural Factors owns its production facilities and laboratories to carry out research and test the produced supplements.
Customers say this supplement works, having a significant impact on muscle recovery. Namely, it helps with pains and allows them to get rid of muscle stiffness. According to buyers, this powder is also good at decreasing sugar and alcohol cravings. It does not have any taste and absorbs well.
8. NOW Supplements, L-Glutamine 500 Mg | Best Vegan
The reason why I think this product is the best vegan l-glutamine supplement is that it combines a low price with a vegetarian-friendly content. This supplement does not contain GMOs, sugar, gluten or soy. It comes in capsules with powdered l-glutamine inside. The brand Now is another trusted brand on our list, with all its manufacturing facilities, labs and even testing methods being GMP-certified.
Customers describe the supplement as phenomenal. One buyer claims that it helped to cure serious alcohol addiction. Before starting to take these pills, he used to drink one pint of vodka a day. He tried to get rid of alcohol cravings on his own but failed. It was the l-glutamine supplement that helped him to relieve not only alcohol but also sugar cravings. The latter ones appeared when he quit alcohol.
9. Evlution Nutrition L-Glutamine 5000 | Best For Muscle Gain
This product is great for those who want to build up muscles as it contains 5 grams of pure l-glutamine. Since this amino acid actively participates in protein synthesis, the more glutamine you get during workouts the better. The company extracts this compound only from high-quality ingredients and does not use any additives. That is why this supplement is also a vegan-friendly option.
More than 80% of customers have rated this product highly for its ability to speed up muscle recovery. One buyer says that taking these supplements keeps him from feeling too sore the next day after workouts. The major complaint with this product is that it does not completely dissolve in the water and is quite gritty.
10 Best Glutamine Supplements Comparative Table
Who needs glutamine? Who can benefit from glutamine?
These supplements are mostly in demand among those who regularly do workouts and people with digestion issues. They can also help to improve overall health due to their ability to boost the immune system. They can also curb sugar and alcohol cravings and stimulate wound healing.
Who cannot take glutamine?
People with kidney and liver diseases should not take these supplements. Also, glutamine is not recommended for people with a high cancer risk as it can prompt tumor growth. And finally, some people are allergic to this amino acid and may experience nausea and vomiting after taking it.
Does glutamine affect kidneys?
Studies show that glutamine supplements in combination with higher glucose levels can potentiate kidney failure.
How to take/use glutamine correctly?
Much depends on the specific product. While powders should be taken with a meal, pills work better when taken at an empty stomach — one hour before or two hours after a meal. Mix glutamine powder with water, juice or green tea so that it fully dissolves in the liquid.
What is the right dosage?
Keep in mind that it is your doctor who should determine the dosage, especially in case you have health issues. Also, you should follow the label directions of the supplement you are going to take. But in general, a standard glutamine dose is around 5 grams per day for muscle recovery and about 30 grams per day for the enhanced intestinal barrier.
What are the side effects?
Some people may experience allergic reactions after taking glutamine. The symptoms are the following: difficulty breathing, fever, weakness, swelling, muscle pain, headaches, and itching. However, the most common side effect is nausea.
How long is glutamine stored in your body?
Being an amino acid, glutamine is stored in your muscles and then used by your body to produce new tissues. Still, the bulk of glutamine is excreted over the course of 2-3 days.