L-Glutamine for Weight Loss—Is It Worth It? 

Happy lady checking her weight with enthusiasm on a scale

Does L-glutamine help with weight loss? Does glutamine make you gain weight? 

These are but a few of the questions concerning taking L-glutamine for weight loss and whether glutamine supplementation is worth all the hype. 

Glutamine is an amino acid, a nonessential one that is naturally synthesized by the human body with prominent roles in supporting overall quality of life, including supporting immune health, balancing blood sugar levels, and removing excess ammonia from the body. During times of illness or injury, glutamine becomes a conditionally essential amino acid due to insufficient quantities in the body to support these crucial functions. 

This article ties together all the benefits of L-glutamine for weight loss and how it can be a productive dietary supplement to your daily routine. For more information, keep reading! 

Benefits of L-Glutamine for Weight Loss

Notepad displaying 'Diet plan' in bold letters

Does glutamine help you lose weight? Much debate has been on glutamine and weight loss and whether the amino acid is productive in burning fat. L-glutamine supplements can be highly beneficial for one’s health, including in efforts to lose fat.

Supports Weight Loss

So, does L-glutamine help you lose weight?

Glutamine for belly fat has been discovered to be a productive maneuver in decreasing waist circumference by reducing belly and body fat. It was revealed in a study using patients with type 2 diabetes that glutamine productively improved body composition and cardiovascular risk factors in those supplementing 30 grams per day. 

More studies demonstrated that glutamine supplementation can promote significant improvements in body weight. One study used nondieting obese female patients who did not change their lifestyles or dietary habits and incorporated glutamine supplements into their routine. After four weeks, the women had a prominent decline in body weight and waist circumference with only one addition to their lifestyle—glutamine. 

Improves Gastrointestinal Health

There is an association between gastrointestinal health and fluctuations in weight that many individuals do not correlate to affecting weight loss efforts. The gut microbiome in the digestive tract is correlated with a person’s ability to lose weight. 

A study revealed that the composition of gut bacteria was different compared to obese and nonobese individuals. It also discovered that the genes designated to aid the bacteria in growing, multiplying, replicating, and assembling cell walls were more prevalent in individuals who had lost weight. The findings proved that the gut microbiome plays a prominent role in the success of weight loss efforts. 

Daily glutamine supplement is a productive method of regulating endogenous gut microbiota and boosting gastrointestinal health. The amino acid glutamine supports the gut microbiome, reduces inflammation, supports gut mucosal wall integrity and intestinal permeability, and has been shown to reduce symptoms of leaky gut syndrome. These qualities can aid weight loss efforts by supporting gut and gastrointestinal health. 

Promotes Immune Health

Another factor that individuals don’t often correlate to success in weight loss journeys is the immune system and its health status. 

Immune cells in the gut have been linked to the regulation of the metabolism. The metabolism is the main contributor to the development or prevention of obesity. A slow metabolism is correlated with fewer calories burned and, therefore, more fat stored. A faster metabolism burns more calories at an increased rate, meaning a lower likelihood of weight gain. 

Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the body, is believed to be a fuel for the immune system. It is a conditionally essential amino acid used in clinical nutrition protocols and is recommended for critically ill and immunocompromised patients. The amino acid is extensively used by immune cells; without the energy provided to the immune cells, they would not be able to function correctly to support a healthy running metabolism. 

Supports Muscle Growth

Many have heard the information widely shared across social media and magazines about how muscle burns more calories than fat. Studies have proven that muscle tissue burns more calories per day than fat. This is another health benefit of muscle and why it is stressed that individuals should build lean muscle mass to support healthy body composition.

As an amino acid, glutamine is one of the building blocks of protein. It is linked to the influence of muscle cell volume, which is necessary for increasing skeletal muscle mass and promoting protein synthesis. 

Balances Blood Sugar & Insulin Levels

There is a connection between blood glucose and weight loss that should be considered more in-depth. Blood sugar and insulin are directly correlated as blood sugar triggers insulin release from the pancreas, and insulin helps blood sugar enter the cells to be used as energy. 

Balancing insulin and blood sugar levels is vital in general, especially for weight loss, as insulin is the primary hormone responsible for weight gain and fat storage. If insulin levels are high, this can reduce the body’s ability to use glucose for energy, therefore limiting the burning rate of fat, which is excess stored energy. 

Some individuals struggle with insulin resistance, where the cells don’t absorb blood glucose or respond to insulin. This can result in prediabetes or type 2 diabetes and can lead to significant concerns such as dementia, retinopathy, and stroke. 

Glutamine is a powerful amino acid that directly introduces glucose into the bloodstream and supports insulin production in the pancreas to help regulate blood glucose levels. One study revealed that 30 grams of glutamine after every main meal reduced blood glucose levels, waist circumference, body fat, and systolic blood pressure for patients with type 2 diabetes. 

Reduces the Secretion of Hunger Hormone

There are so many fad diets out there dictating what to eat and what not to eat. Some individuals have gone so far as to lean on medication to suppress appetite.

A considerably more natural method of weight loss is reducing the secretion of the hunger hormone ghrelin with the help of glutamine.  Ghrelin is also responsible for promoting cardiovascular health, signaling the pituitary gland to release growth hormones, and has a prominent role in insulin release. 

Helps With Sugar Cravings

We’ve all struggled with a sweet tooth at some point It can feel impossible to suppress the sometimes intense sugar cravings that hit us at the stroke of midnight. And with the seemingly uncontrollable sugar cravings hitting you along with a binge of your favorite sweets, it may feel like you’ll never reach your fat loss goals. 

Glutamine helps to steady blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are unbalanced, this results in sugar cravings, a need for the body to boost these levels. The amino acid glutamine effectively negates sugar cravings by balancing unsteady blood sugar levels. 

How Much L-Glutamine for Weight Loss

A woman taking L-Glutamine supplement

For weight loss, taking 30 grams of glutamine per day is recommended. When starting with glutamine supplementation, it is advised to start with smaller doses first  to assess tolerance and then increase the dosage if needed.

It is also recommended to speak to your healthcare provider before starting glutamine supplements to ensure there are no conflicting medications or health concerns that do not mix well with glutamine. 

When to Take L-Glutamine for Weight Loss

For taking glutamine, it is best to take the supplement on an empty stomach. If exercising, take glutamine supplements before workouts for boosted performance or after workouts for speedier recovery and muscle growth

Most people like to take glutamine first thing in the morning when the stomach is empty to increase the rate of absorption. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does L-glutamine cause weight gain?

No, L-glutamine does not cause weight gain. The nonessential amino acid supports immune function, muscle growth and repair, and other noteworthy bodily functions crucial for health. Glutamine is fuel for immune cells, which regulate the metabolism, and has been linked to weight loss rather than gain in research. 

How does glutamine work?

The amino acid glutamine removes excess ammonia, a toxic waste product, from the body. Most glutamine is located in skeletal muscle tissue. It is made in a process called glutamine synthetase in the lungs, liver, brain, skeletal muscle, and adipose tissue. 

Can glutamine help you lose weight?

This article discusses whether glutamine is a productive maneuver aiding weight loss endeavors. Studies confirm that the amino acid glutamine can benefit individuals looking to decrease waist circumference and burn belly fat without having to change one’s diet or lifestyle. 

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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