- Our Picks for the Best Glutamine Supplements
- #1. 1st Phorm Glutamine – Best Powder
- #2. BCAA Glutamine by Transparent Labs – Best for Weight Loss
- #3. L-Glutamine Capsules by Thorne – Best Capsules
- #4. GNC Pro Performance L-Glutamine
- #5. ONNIT L-Glutamine Powder Amino Acid
- #6. N-Acetyl L-Glutamine by Bulk Supplements
- #7: 1UP Nutrition Her BCAA/EAA Glutamine & Collagen
- Different Types of Glutamine
- Benefits of Glutamine
- What to Consider Before Buying a Glutamine Supplement
- The Bottom Line
Do you know why glutamine is important? The truth is that most of us don't consider the importance of supplementing with glutamine until we learn a little bit about this amino acid. I figured it was time to finally dive into glutamine after seeing a sharp rise in questions about this supplement from clients.
Our bodies make glutamine! Glutamine is made in the muscles before being transferred to various organ systems by the blood. Glutamine is one of the body's most important “building blocks” because it plays a key role in making proteins. It's also essential for producing other amino acids. Why are so many people taking glutamine supplements all of the sudden?
Glutamine has become such a popular supplement among fitness-minded people because of its muscle-building functions. The theory is that glutamine can help with both muscle building and fat burning. Any supplement that helps to support muscle health can assist with fat burning simply because putting on muscle helps us to burn more calories when working out, sitting, sleeping, and more. In addition, glutamine has been shown to be important for the following:
- Gut function.
- Immune function.
- Stress regulation.
- Injury recovery.
- Liver detoxification.
“Glutamine supplementation seems to increase muscle glycogen synthesis and reduce ammonia accumulation induced by exercise, especially when administered for long-term periods,” according to a 2019 paper on glutamine as an anti-fatigue amino acid in sports nutrition. This is precisely why glutamine supplementation is so popular among athletes. There's also strong clinical evidence that glutamine supplementation can help with weight loss. In a 2014 study, researchers concluded that glutamine supplementation favors weight loss in non-dieting obese female patients by reducing insulin action and glucose uptake in fat and adipose mass.
Our Picks for the Best Glutamine Supplements
Did you start researching glutamine supplements after hearing ads for glutamine on radio or television? Searching for some better information was the right choice. There are actually some really great glutamine supplements available from reputable, dynamic brands out there. I'm going to cover the seven glutamine products that deliver everything that's needed for quality. These brands made my list for transparency, purity, potency, positive reviews, and all of the other factors that you want to see when choosing any kind of supplement. Take a look!
#1. 1st Phorm Glutamine – Best Powder
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1st Phorm has created an ultra-pure, ultra-simple product that's designed for people who simply want a supplement for muscle growth without any filler. Containing 5 g of L-glutamine per scoop, this powder can be mixed into water or juice up to four times a day. Ideally, you'll time your servings to be taken about 45 minutes to 60 minutes before each meal. 1st Phorm also recommends having a serving roughly 30 minutes before a workout on training days if you're taking it for muscle building.
1st Phorm has nearly 100% positive reviews. Many real-life customers report that this supplement has helped them to turn a corner with pain, inflammation, and gut issues. Many others simply like the impact this supplement has had on their fitness.
- Ultra-pure formula.
- Powder is easy to use with your favorite drink.
- Stirs in cleanly and smoothly.
- Easy to take before workouts.
- Tons of positive reviews. This is a customer favorite!
- No discount when you subscribe.
- No flavors offered.
#2. BCAA Glutamine by Transparent Labs – Best for Weight Loss
This powder brings together multiple elements to create a health powerhouse. While a serving of 5,000 mg of glutamine is at the center of every serving, you're also getting three branched-chain amino acids, 1,000 mg of coconut water powder, and 1,535 mg of vitamin C. This powder is available in five fruity flavors that are sweetened and colored naturally using beta carotene, beet root powder, stevia, and other natural ingredients.
I want to talk about why the coconut water powder in this supplement is so interesting. Coconut water is great for rehydration during exercise. It also helps to fight inflammation, support good immune function, balance blood glucose and insulin, and promote good kidney function. It's also associated with improved eye and skin health.
- I love that this formula includes branched-chain acids, vitamin C, and the hydrating power of coconut water in one formula.
- Contains 1,700% of your daily vitamin C needs.
- The sweetness of stevia isn't for everyone.
- No plain flavor option.
- This is the most expensive option on my list.
#3. L-Glutamine Capsules by Thorne – Best Capsules
I know that not everyone wants to deal with powders that have to be mixed into liquid. That's why I was excited to find such great capsules offering 500 mg of L-glutamine in every serving. The only other ingredients in these capsules are hypromellose and silicon dioxide. Overall, this is a great no-nonsense choice that's so easy to take. It's also a great budget choice.
- Easy-to-take capsules require no fuss!
- No flavors or textures to worry about.
- High concentration of glutamine in every serving.
- Generous 20% discount when you subscribe.
- While the capsules are easy to swallow, they are on the larger side.
#4. GNC Pro Performance L-Glutamine
I love when I can find a high-quality supplement that's easy to get from a mainstream retailer. GNC only uses L-glutamine to create this easy-to-mix powder. However, I do want to point out that you can get GNC Pro Performance in a capsule form that contains only L-Glutamine and gelatin.
Each scoop contains 5 g of L-glutamine without any other ingredients. The beauty of this powder is that it blends fully and smoothly with zero grittiness. The fact that it's completely free of flavor makes it so easy to blend into water, juice, or a protein drink. While GNC Pro Performance L-Glutamine powder doesn't have quite as many reviews as I like to see, it does feature a handful of very positive reviews from real customers. Users seem to really like the energy and recovery provided by this powder.
- Very pure. Zero additives or filler.
- Blends smoothly into liquids.
- Option to subscribe for recurring deliveries to get a discount.
- No flavors available.
- I wish more customer reviews were available.
#5. ONNIT L-Glutamine Powder Amino Acid
First, I love that a supplement this impressive gets down to below $20 per bottle when you opt for the recurring subscription. The only ingredient in this ultra-pure formula is 5 g of glutamine per serving. You're getting that classic ONNIT promise of this product being tested for purity and quality.
This is a color-free, flavorless powder that mixes into liquids easily. In fact, reviewers love the way the powder disappears the second it’s added to a glass of water without any kind of grittiness or chalkiness. Many reviewers also love the way this powder is so easy to blend with other supplements without any discord when making protein shakes and smoothies.
- Very pure ingredient list that contains only L-glutamine.
- Flavorless powder mixes cleanly and easily into any liquids.
- Terrific price for the quality.
- Tested for purity and potency.
- Tons of highly detailed positive reviews.
- No flavors available.
#6. N-Acetyl L-Glutamine by Bulk Supplements
This is a great pick if you're looking for a cheap glutamine supplement that offers all the quality of more expensive options. This powder costs anywhere from half to a quarter of the price of some of the other glutamine supplements out there. The only ingredient you're getting is N-acetyl L-glutamine at a volume of 500 mg per serving. Something else I want to point out is that this bottle contains 200 servings! Most of the other comparable glutamine powders have just 90 servings per container.
- Great price! You also get another 5% off when subscribing for recurring orders.
- Pure formula.
- Tons of positive reviews.
- While this is a flavorless powder, some reviewers do note that it has a slightly “tart” flavor.
#7: 1UP Nutrition Her BCAA/EAA Glutamine & Collagen
This is an exciting “building block” supplement that combines glutamine and collagen. The combination is designed for muscle recovery and growth, protein synthesis, skin and hair recovery, and hydration. The formula also contains three branched chain amino acids, six essential amino acids, two separate hydrolyzed collagen peptides, 500 mg of vitamin C, and 2 g of protein.
Something that gives me confidence to recommend this product is the way that 1UP Nutrition practices extreme transparency with its ingredients. The company actually uses an open, non-proprietary formula to let customers know exactly what they're paying for! Finally, 1UP Nutrition Her BCAA/EAA Glutamine & Collagen has thousands of positive reviews online that detail how extraordinary people feel when taking this supplement.
This powder is actually available in nine different fruity and sweet flavors. However, none of the flavors contain any artificial coloring. They are sweetened with sucralose.
- Packs in tons of powerhouse amino acids.
- Contains 800% of your daily intake for vitamin C.
- Tons of tasty flavors to choose from.
- Full transparency with ingredients.
- Thousands of positive reviews to read online.
- Unflavored and vegetarian.
- Savings when you subscribe.
- There's no option for a “plain” flavor.
- Flavoring is a little on the sweet side.
Different Types of Glutamine
Is all glutamine created equally? Something that may confuse you a little bit when shopping for supplements is that you actually have three different types of glutamine to choose from. I'll break down the differences for you.
This is the most common form of glutamine offered in supplements. In fact, only one product on my review list of the seven best glutamine supplements above contains a form of glutamine other than L-glutamine. L-glutamine is generally regarded as the most important form of glutamine available because this is the form that is naturally produced in the body.
N-acetyl L-glutamine is the acetylated analog of L-Glutamine. In studies, N-acetyl L-glutamine has been found to be a good candidate for glutamine fortification. However, it does appear to be slightly less absorbed than glutamine.
D-glutamine is what's known as an enantiome to L-glutamine. While its properties are similar, it doesn't appear to offer the same benefits.
Benefits of Glutamine
I brushed over some of the benefits of glutamine before I introduced my reviews. However, I want to take a minute to go into detail about some of the benefits of taking glutamine supplements for the average person.
“Glutamine is utilized at a high rate by cells of the immune system in culture and is required to support optimal lymphocyte proliferation and production of cytokines by lymphocytes and macrophages,” according to a clinical analysis on glutamine and the immune system. The glutamine that the body naturally produces plays a key role in immune function. However, you might be wondering why you need to worry about supplementing with glutamine if the body produces it naturally. The answer is that the body can struggle to produce enough glutamine to keep up with the needs of the immune system during times of illness, injury, or stress. In studies, glutamine supplementation has been shown to cause everything from better health outcomes to shorter hospital stays among people dealing with illness and post-operative healing.
You may have seen reviews or blogs written by people who swear by glutamine for healing leaky gut syndrome (see the common leaky gut symptoms if you're worried about it). The reason why is that glutamine helps to maintain the barrier between the inside of the intestines and the rest of your body. It also helps to stop harmful bacteria and toxins from migrating from the intestines into the rest of the body. Finally, glutamine is simply an important building block for maintaining cell growth in the intestines.
“L-glutamine supplementation resulted in faster recovery of peak torque and diminished muscle soreness following eccentric exercise,” according to a study on the influence of oral L-glutamine supplementation on muscle strength recovery and soreness following unilateral knee extension eccentric exercise. Why do people who work out need L-glutamine supplements? When stressing our bodies using any kind of exercise or training, we actually deplete our natural glutamine stores. Your body falls into a state where it can't actually produce enough glutamine on its own to meet the demand created by your physical activity. When this happens, you're at risk for not getting the positive nitrogen balance needed to fuel muscle growth. As a result, damaged post-workout tissue may remain damaged simply because it doesn't have the building blocks necessary to rebuild. This is where supplementation can help.
What to Consider Before Buying a Glutamine Supplement
The search for a good glutamine supplement is actually very similar to the search for any kind of supplement. You want to prioritize quality over everything else. You also want to make sure that a formula is a good fit with your personalized goals. Let's cover how to find that perfect fit.
I think that standard glutamine supplements that contain nothing other than pure glutamine are completely appropriate for the average person. In fact, single-ingredient glutamine should be perfectly fine if you're in training mode. However, you can consider upgrading to a more complete glutamine supplement containing other amino acids, vitamin C, protein, and coconut water powder if you feel like you need an extra “push” because you have a grueling regiment.
I think it's also important to align your glutamine supplement with your current diet. First, I want you to think about how many vegetables and fruits you're consuming. One common issue I see is that people who are in training mode tend to cut out fruit because they are cutting sugar. I think this is where picking a glutamine supplement with vitamin C can potentially be a smart idea. What many people don't realize is that a large portion of the vitamin C in our bodies is actually found in skeletal muscle. Vitamin C is essential for making something called carnitine. Carnitine is a very important substance for providing energy for both muscle function and collagen building.
Substance and Flavor
What form of glutamine should you take? I'm personally a big fan of the powders simply because my experience with clients is that they tend to stick with powdered supplements. The nice thing about the flavorless and odorless characteristics of pure glutamine powders is that they allow for very smooth, non-grainy blending. That means you can easily add your glutamine powder to a glass of water. However, these powders also blend beautifully into health juices and smoothies.
Another reason why I like glutamine powders is that you get the added benefit of hydrating whenever you take your dose! Of course, capsules are also great for being able to get your serving down when you're busy with life, work, or anything else. My only advice is to pick the option that you believe will fit into your lifestyle because glutamine supplements only work when you're consistent with taking them.
Third-Party Tested Ingredients
I'm always thrilled when companies use third-party tested ingredients. This is an important part of quality control because it gives ingredients integrity. I also recommend only purchasing glutamine products from companies that are transparent about ingredient sourcing.
The Bottom Line
Glutamine supplements are great for those times when you're really going hard because they can fuel your muscles when your body can't quite “keep up.” In addition, people are making big breakthroughs with naturally healing their guts with help from glutamine's natural “barrier” qualities. Glutamine's support of the immune system can help to heal gut issues, assist with recovery, and place you in an increased state of wellness. Glutamine doesn't have to be a supplement that's “just for athletes.” However, it's a supplement that all people who train should be considering.
Tips for Success from the RD
How can you get the most from your glutamine supplements? Getting the results you want is all about consistency and timing. Let's go over some simple tips for success!
When Should I Take Glutamine?
There's no wrong way to take glutamine. If you're taking glutamine for leaky gut syndrome, it's perfectly fine to take it first thing in the morning, right before bed, or any other time. However, you might want to be more strategic about when to take glutamine if you're training. Most glutamine supplements come with instructions to take servings up to five times per day. Some products recommend taking a serving 30 minutes before a workout. The general advice for taking glutamine during training is actually to focus on having a post-workout serving because this is the prime window for supporting recovery. Are you a runner? Taking glutamine right after a marathon can help to support your immune system when it's at its most vulnerable.
Can Glutamine Help Me Build Muscle?
Glutamine can't build muscle for you. It is not a replacement for exercise, training, and eating the right balance of protein. However, it can help to feed your muscles what they need for proper recovery. Many people find that this helps them to put on lean mass. Glutamine may also help to prevent muscle damage that's caused by your body's inability to keep up with glutamine production based on your workouts.
How Much Glutamine Is Too Much?
Generally, you want to stay under the maximum dose of 30 g of glutamine per day. However, consuming the maximum dosage in a single serving isn't the best way to get results. You should instead split up your daily glutamine intake into five or six servings that are taken throughout the day. Glutamine isn't known to cause side effects. However, it is possible to experience symptoms that can include nausea, vomiting, joint pain, and hives if you've taken too much.