Exploring the Benefits of L-Glutamine for Cravings

Joyful lady holding a mix of delicious donuts

Does L-glutamine help with sugar cravings? L-glutamine for cravings can be extremely beneficial for individuals who experience intense sugar cravings and have a near unbeatable sweet tooth to boot. 

The amino acid glutamine is beneficial to anyone who has a bad sugar habit with challenging cravings that can cause binges and weight gain. With the help of L-glutamine supplementation, biological occurrences that cause the body’s need for sugar can be inhibited to empower change and control over these overwhelming cravings. 

From how glutamine supplementation can help reduce sugar cravings to whether to take L-glutamine on an empty stomach for the most benefits, this article details how this powerful amino acid can help you beat sugar cravings for good.  

Sugar Cravings: What They Are & What Causes Them

Anxious woman gripping a chocolate treat

Sugar cravings are a strong urge to consume sweet goods, like candy or ice cream. These cravings can be frequent and often lead to binge eating, resulting in the overconsumption of calories and weight gain.

Though intense cravings are often misassociated with a lack of self-control or sugar addiction, there is more going on beneath the skin that is causing what can often be overwhelming sugar cravings. 

Insulin Resistance

Though there are many reasons for cravings for sugary foods, one of the biological factors is insulin resistance. Low blood sugar is caused by high insulin levels, and with the dip in blood sugar, the body seeks a quick way to balance the low levels, resulting in sugar cravings. 

Consuming Too Much Sugar

Excessive sugar consumption can be harmful to blood sugar levels. It causes frequent spikes in blood sugar levels that end up crashing down. The body’s biological need to balance the low blood sugar levels results in a sugar craving that can be challenging to resist. 

Consuming refined sugar, let alone consuming too much of it, has been linked to sugar cravings. One study discovered that out of 19 participants who cut out sugar and artificial sweeteners, 18 found that sweet foods and drinks tasted sweeter, some of which they believed to be now too sweet. And from the study’s findings, 86.6% had ceased craving sugar after less than a week. 

Not Drinking Enough Water

Not drinking enough water is linked to sugar cravings. When we crave sugar, many different components can connect to the defining cause of it. Dehydration is one of them; shockingly enough, a survey found that 17% to 28% of American adults are chronically dehydrated

When the body is dehydrated, it has difficulty metabolizing glycogen into energy. Due to its inability to provide energy, the human body requires quick access to energy, resulting in sugar cravings. 

Eating Too Many Refined Carbohydrates

Junk food cravings and sugar cravings are a lot more correlated with one another than you may think. 

Eating too many refined carbohydrates affects our body’s insulin response. Refined carbohydrates are quickly digested, causing a spike in blood sugar that will ultimately drop. The body needs to balance the low blood sugar levels, which results in sugar cravings or even cravings for junk food like refined carbohydrates such as chips, breakfast cereals, pastries, and white bread. 

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies are another factor to consider regarding the causes of sugar cravings. Not getting adequate amounts of nutrients in your diet can lead to mood swings, sugar cravings, and low energy levels.

What Is Glutamine?

Glutamine is one of the nonessential amino acids in the human body that acts as one of the building blocks of protein. It becomes a conditionally essential amino acid during stress, injury, or sickness, supporting the immune system and wound healing. 

As the most abundant amino acid in the human body, glutamine supports everyday functions and promotes a better quality of life. From supporting the immune system to helping reduce sugar cravings, the benefits of this amino acid are indisputable.  

How the Amino Acid Glutamine Can Beat Sugar Cravings

'Sugar Cravings' spelled with donuts

Does L-glutamine stop cravings? L-glutamine for sugar cravings can promote numerous benefits in helping beat sugar cravings by supporting the gut microbiome and reducing ghrelin secretion. For more information on how glutamine can stop sugar cravings, continue reading! 

Reduces the Secretion of Hunger Hormone

Offering a significant improvement in reducing the secretion of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, glutamine supplements can help you lose weight and battle sugar cravings. 

A study using rats with diet-induced obesity revealed that glutamine improves insulin signaling in the liver and muscles and stimulates insulin resistance in adipose tissue. The amino acid effectively decreases the secretion of ghrelin. When ghrelin hormone levels are high, it can result in unfavorable sugar cravings. 

Balances Insulin & Blood Sugar

Glutamine helps decrease sugar levels in the blood when they spike too high. When blood sugar rises, the sugar cravings become more intense.  

With an active role in blood sugar regulation, glutamine balances out unstable insulin and blood sugar levels to reduce the intensity and likelihood of sugar cravings. Insulin is a significant hormone responsible for fat storage and weight gain, transporting blood sugar into the body’s cells to be incorporated as energy. 

When blood sugar spikes, insulin is released to lower the high blood sugar to a safer level. But, if insulin lowers blood sugar too low, as can happen more often than you may consider, this results in the body’s need for a quick adjustment, as in sugar cravings. 

That’s where glutamine comes in. The amino acid glutamine regulates blood glucose levels by supporting insulin production, introducing glucose directly into the bloodstream. Studies have dedicatedly proven that glutamine was effective in reducing blood glucose levels and systolic blood pressure for patients with type 2 diabetes, as well as decreasing body fat and waist circumference. 

Supports Gut Health 

Gut health is an essential factor that can dictate food cravings. If the bacteria in the gut are healthy, this means fewer food and sugar cravings as blood sugar is supported and balanced.

The bacteria in the gut are heavily correlated with the cravings that shoot up to our brains through the vagus nerve. When the gut microbiome is unbalanced or hungry, the bacteria need glucose, which sends a signal through the vagus nerve to the brain to help balance the unstable levels. 

When the gut microbiome is healthy, there are no insatiable cravings for sugar or other junk food. Glutamine is productive in supporting a healthy gut microbiome as the amino acid maintains balance in the gut, reduces inflammatory responses, and protects the intestinal lining. This aids in preventing an imbalance in the gut microbiome that can result in undesirable junk food and sugar cravings. 

When to Take Glutamine for Sugar Cravings

Now that you know the benefits of L-glutamine supplementation to reduce sugar cravings, it’s important to know when to take oral glutamine for the best results. 

Taking a tablet or capsule of glutamine on an empty stomach is always recommended to digest faster without other food in the belly. Powdered glutamine can also be taken with water or mixed with other foods, like smoothies. The powdered form is quickly digested into the body’s system compared to capsules or tablets.

Follow the instructions on the label of the supplement you choose to buy. Typically, doses of glutamine start at 5 grams. Beginning at this low dose is recommended to ensure there are no undesirable side effects like nausea or dizziness. Moving up from 5 grams is acceptable, though doses should be spread throughout the day and not exceed 30 grams of glutamine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does L-glutamine help with sugar cravings?

L-glutamine is productive in reducing sugar cravings by balancing blood sugar levels. It plays a prominent role in glucose metabolism as a glucose precursor that maintains blood glucose levels with the depletion of glycogen stores.  

Is it OK to take L-glutamine daily?

For short-term use, it is safe to use L-glutamine supplements. The long-term usage of glutamine supplementation has come into question for health concerns. It has significant side effects on the human body and its biological processes, such as impairing ammonia detoxification.

Does L-glutamine suppress your appetite?

L-glutamine has been linked to weight loss and improved body composition thanks to its ability to support the gut microbiome and stimulate glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Research has shown that GLP-1 suppresses the appetite center of the central nervous system and decreases the secretion of ghrelin and gastric emptying.

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

I am an ISSA-certified CPT and Nutrition Coach with a BA in Creative Writing and a Minor in Nutrition.

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