GLUTAMINE: NOT Recommended for Leaky Gut

I may receive a commission if you purchase through links in this post. I am not a doctor; please consult your practitioner before changing your supplement or healthcare regimen.

Many articles recommend using glutamine (also labeled L-glutamine) as a supplement to help heal leaky gut. It provides energy to the small intestines and when converted to glutamate can accelerate healing. Tangentially, it is also recommended by some to abate sugar cravings, or among body builders and athletes for performance and recovery. Certainly many doctors prescribe glutamine for their patients with leaky gut.

Glutamine concentrations decrease during periods of disease or stress, thus one motivation for supplementation. And the body’s ability to expel glutamine means that many doctors see glutamine as benign, with no side effects even at high doses. Its depletion causes compromises in gut function…so why not supplement?

As mentioned, glutamine is a precursor to glutamate or glutamic acid. When this conversion occurs, the properties and effects of glutamate can be attributed to glutamine. Glutamate is one of two excitatory neurotransmitters in the brain that can cause anxiety. Excesses in brain tissue (remember the gut-brain correlation) can also cause cell damage. So while glutamine in excess seems benign, once it converts to glutamate, that status is called into question.

Glutamate is heralded for abating alcohol and sugar cravings, healing wounds, and increasing energy, but it is also an amino acid that can cause extreme damage when in excess.

Paul Jaminet Ph.D., author of Perfect Health Diet, adds an insight regarding glutathione, of which glutamine is also a precursor:

Glutamine, a supplement frequently recommended for gut ailments, can also enhance glutathione production. However, I would generally avoid this, because it can promote proliferation of pathogenic bacteria.

In addition to promoting pathogen overgrowth, several studies are emerging with additional concerns or supporting, cautionary data: One study on oral hygiene and disease (1) shows that glutathione produces bacterial growth, proving it can become food for invasive pathogens. Another study (2) shows the virulence of cancer cells when exposed to glutamine. A third study (3) shows increased mortality among patients given glutamine. Glutathione has also been linked to the thinning of gut lining when used long term.

There are many more articles and testimonies available about the honorific effects of glutamine and glutathione than the converse. What we’re discussing here is not a black and white issue. (Often in life we must understand the subtleties.) The complexities of amino acids, their roles in the human body, and also the complexities of antioxidants and pathogens is still beyond the full scope of our understanding. The benefits of glutamine and glutathione supplements have been studied far more than their pejorative potential. Because noteworthy and well-respected practitioners are beginning to recognize and acknowledge the dangers of this amino acid and this antioxidant in certain settings, it is wise for us to know their potential not only for good but also for harm.


One of the reasons glutamine is a beneficial amino acid in general is that it increases glutathione. Glutathione is a key antioxidant in the human body, one which protects the body from inflammation and pathogens. Glutathione also helps the body to detoxify and promotes proper liver function.

Yet there are better ways to encourage glutamine’s (and glutathione’s) presence naturally without supplementing with isolated glutamine.

Yes, that’s right: we’re again talking about co-factors and a balanced diet.

Glutamine is good. But it is best and safest when it is found amidst the other amino acids around which it’s found in nature. So…supplement with glutamine by consuming gelatin, in which case you will actually be consuming the healing glutamate/glutamic acid and, in turn, promoting healthy levels of glutathione production. Remember, too, that gelatin is most effective when consumed with its co-factors, whole food sources of protein and fat.

Whole food, digestible sources of glutamine are meat, fish, eggs, soaked beans, raw milk and cheese, human breast milk, bone broth, raw spinach, raw parsley, kombu and cabbage.

Here is the grass-fed gelatin that I recommend. Collagen is also wonderful, and even easier to digest than gelatin. Stir collagen into hot or cold beverages.

For more ways to incorporate gelatin into your diet, I recommend this post.

If you’ve noticed a gut-healing benefit from taking a glutamine supplement, this post may or may not apply to you. But I believe we are safer, based on recent studies, consuming gelatin and whole food sources.



RHR: You Are What Your Bacteria Eat: The Importance of Feeding Your Microbiome – With Jeff Leach

RHR: The Afternoon Sugar Crash, Green Smoothies, and Liver Detoxification[email protected]+56-85-9

Comments 108

  1. No WAY. Thank you for this information – I had not heard of this side of the story and have definitely been prescribed LGlutamine to take in the past. I appreciate this! Thank you!

    1. Hi- I have read all the comments below and find them all fascinating. Here’s the thing- it just depends on the person. I used to be able to take L-Glutamine in supplement form and it helped me tremendously. I would heal from it. But after 3-5 years of a stress-diet high in sugar and antibiotics for illnesses, I developed a BBB and major leaky gut issue. Now I can’t tolerate L-Glutamine at all. I’ve gone back over this past year and retried it several times. My intolerance got so bad I couldn’t even drink bone broth- I’ve learned ‘everything in moderation ‘ even when you are healing your gut. I can’t tolerate VP collagen/gelatin at all- it made my extremely sick and killed my gut. I agree with L-Glutamine potentially feeding pathogenic bacteria, as well as in relation to increasing heavy metals. Especially if you can’t digest it due to the new mucous layer protecting your damaged small intestine lining and it ferments in your gut. This also applies to things like DGL and other mucilaginous herbs- which I also cannot tolerate now. A whole foods diet doesn’t work when you have major food malabsorption problems either… in the end, you just need to figure out what works for you as an individual and go with that- what I have learned, is to always listen to my gut! What I also know- blame the true ‘bad guys’- antibiotics and refined sugar that our healthcare and capitalistic society keeps shoving down our throats.

  2. I had no idea about this! Thank you for sharing. I have never taken it, but I’m glad to know about this now. I’ll stick with gelatin 🙂

      1. Make sure the gelatin is from grass fed cows, not BSE or mad cow disease bearing cows fed cattle cadavers and bones. Beef Collagen may be safer choice.

    1. I hope more research will continue to clarify the complexity and dangers of this supplement, and that more folks will be treated with whole foods in the future instead.

  3. I tend to trust whole foods over supplements in most cases! So, I like the list of whole foods you provided! Thank you for this education!

  4. So interesting! You brought up a lot of good points. Years ago I was told to take Glutamine, but I never took it for very long, especially since I have just never been much of a supplement taker, preferring whole food sources for nutrients and vitamins. Mother Nature knows best! Thanks for the great info!!

  5. There are a lot of enthusiastic reviews of Knox gelatin at Amazon. Seemingly it oonfers the same benefits as the more high-end products. Sometimes I wonder how much difference there really is between all the various brands.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Jen! I do think that Vital Proteins and Great Lakes are superior to Knox. I appreciate you bringing up that issue. Knox likely has MSG residue in it. Also, VP and GL brands both use grass-fed cows for their gelatin, which means more nutrition for the cows, thus the right nutrition for us. I like the idea of porcine (pork) gelatin as well, but Knox’s pigs are raised in confined, closed spaces their whole lives and fed genetically modified feed, not real food; so their gelatin will not be as healthful or support kind husbandry. For me, kindness to animals is crucial, as well as the nutrition and taking care of the earth’s resources that comes from them eating the right foods. I hope this helps.

      1. Hey Megan! I missed your reply previously. Well, I did some digging, and it turns out that neither Great Lakes nor Vital Proteins is actually grass-fed. Plus Vital Proteins is from Brazil, where pesticides are used a lot. You might check out this review:

        Given that Knox is way cheaper and there are tons of favorable reviews at Amazon, I’ll continue with the brand. If I could find another that was truly superior, I would switch.

        1. Hi Jen, I’m going to write the 2 companies and hear what they have to say. I’ve been pleased with the information I’ve received so far from Perfect Supplements. This is what they say about theirs:

          Collagen and Gelatin are 100% natural and free of pesticides, hormones,
          chemicals GMOs and other contaminants. They are sourced from
          Brazilian Grass Fed, Pasture Raised Cows that spend their entire life free
          grazing on grass. There is regular testing to verify the area is natural and
          free of pesticides as well as regular testing on the products. The
          establishment that takes the cows for finishing ensures that they feed the cows
          grass while they are there, but they cannot guarantee the cows have not gotten
          into other animals food sources such as grains. I hope this information is
          helpful! You can read more here:

          I’ll write again when I hear back from VP and GL. In the meantime, I personally would not use Knox because of the msg and the fact they definitely don’t take any steps to care for animals. Those are nasty feedlot animals that make Knox. Ugh, couldn’t be any worse. Thank you for writing and caring so much!! I recommend Perfect Supplements! 🙂

          1. I guess we will have to agree to disagree about Knox. I don’t think there would be so many positive reviews on it at Amazon, if it was really an inferior product.
            Great Lakes states that gelatin does not contain MSG. Note, they don’t specify that THEIR gelatin doesn’t contain it. They are talking about gelatin, period

            And what that guy says about there being no difference between the gelatin brands, because they get broken down into their constituent amino acids in the stomach, rings true to me. Bottom line, I think this is more about what feels right to the person, so by all means, use the kind that appeals to you.
            End note: just found this in another thread about the benefits of gelatin. Someone posted that her mother got great results eating JELLO every day! I very much doubt she found any grassfed Jello. 🙂
            “My mother is 88 she’s been eating jello for the last 40 years everyday.
            She has thick hair all her teeth no wrinkles her skin is tight very
            little cellulite and moves around like a teenager. I always wondered
            what her secret was but even she had no idea that it was the gelatin she
            was eating. I started doing the same as her but using a kosher bovine
            grass feed kind. I notice the difference already and wish I had known
            much sooner. Better late than never. My mother should advertise jello
            she looks 20 years younger than her age. In adding her bones are strong
            she fell twice in the past 2 years and never cracked a bone her bone
            density test always come back great.”

            Oh, and another post in the same thread. He uses Knox:

            “hi.. i am 34 yr old guy.. and i get id’d everywhere.. now there is good and bad to that.. but have been using this stuff for about 2 years… i also use it with protien whey.. but only one time a day.. other time i use green tea.. i started it when looking it up for gf to get healthier.. and figured.. i might as well take it also.. everything about me is healthy.. i would say i haven’t changed in health from when i was 16.. and the gel seems to be helping in that.. i use knox.. although its meat products.. it seems to work.. i am also a semi-pro vocalist, medical researcher, craftsman/carpenter.. web master.. and more.. it seems to help substantially in keeping the mind going and energy aspect :)”

            1. You have glossed completely over the issue of mal-treatment of the pigs.Just because Knox gets great reviews doesn’t mean it’s ethically right to support Knox. Millions of people believe in eating only animals that were raised in a kind and loving environment as close to a natural one as possible. These millions have not review Knox gelatin because they would never buy it.

    1. Thanks, Angela, for commenting. I’m so glad for your experience. The article doesn’t state that glutamine doesn’t ever work. It definitely states that we should seek out glutamine, but rather in the forms of gelatin and whole foods than by using the isolated amino acid in supplement form. The article states that much research and many people affirm the usefulness of the supplement, but that many new studies and noteworthy doctors ALSO warn against its use because of dangers involved with the supplement. So while many, like your daughter, were helped by the supplement, it is impossible to know who will be harmed. It is safer to use other forms. I hope that helps to clarify. Glutamine is good. But it’s safer if taken from gelatin or from whole foods like bone broth.

      1. unless of course you have a conscience and are vegan… then its red cabbage sauerkraut and other pre and probiotic veg foods. Just saying

        1. Judging people who do not share your dietary philosophy as, without a conscience, is a bit harsh and hyperbolic, don’t you think?

          1. It’s just an opinion. Does not seem as harsh as eating dead mammals, fish & birds. What do you find harsher? words, or acts?

            1. Both– words and acts have started wars. There is never a need to make someone else feel bad for their choices just because they don’t align with your own. Take what you need and leave the rest.

              Was it really just an “opinion” or was it an attempt at shaming? Sadly, shaming (aka: bullying) has become a constant on the web. We teach the children that bullying is unacceptable, yet the adults do it without an afterthought.

              The poster could have made a great point without the “dig” and you could have as well.

    2. Angela, when I go to test for food sensitivities using electro-dermal biofeedback technology, it always shows extreme sensitivity to Gluten, some other grains, MSG, L-Glutamine, gelatin, most protein (except some fish), most fats and anything with Dairy, some veggies and many fruits also. And I do have IBS, a leaky gut, hypothyroidism and anxiety also. So this article is ABSOLUTELY TRUE!!

      1. An additional question about the Great Lakes brand. I have heard that the source of their gelatin is cows from Argentina and that lye is used in the processing. Is this true and harmful (my guess is yes to the latter and possible to the former). Any idea Megan?

        1. Hi Marnie, I haven’t read about lye being used. Yes, I have also read that Great Lakes’ cows come from Argentina and Brazil. I do trust their product and suspect that while the gelatin making process is extensive, enigmatic, and complex, the end result is healthful. I’m sorry I can’t speak with more insight about lye specifically. I do think that Vital Proteins is an even more reliable gelatin, with more closely guarded quality control.

  6. This is such an eye-opening article for me. I have been prescribed by an integrative doctor to take this supplement but always wondered why if I can take a whole-food collagen/gelatin instead. I did consume L-glutamine sporadically but not consistently and not in dosages my doctor wanted me to take. I think I knew intuitively that it was not the best for my gut or my health.

  7. I am on a leaky gut protocol that prescribes supplemental l-glutamine, but you know, my gut instinct (haha) keeps telling me not to take it. Now I know why. I bought a case of Great Lakes collagen hydrolysate instead, and add it to my morning coffee and evening water. I’m not certain if it’s helping my gut, but my nails are growing so fast!

    1. Thanks for sharing! I had the same gut 😉 instinct you did. I had the supplement and kept hesitating. Then I stumbled on one article why to avoid it, then another and finally started digging to see what others’ experiences had been. Yay for collagen and gelatin. True blue goodness.

  8. I have to respectfully disagree. I have achieved healing of my gut to a far greater degree using glutamine supplementation than with just WAPF whole food principles. I have spent a lot of time over the years doing the bone broths and gelatin etc, the whole program and never healed to the level that adding a glutamine healing regimen has done.

    Here is my theory on that: there is simply such a constant barrage of insults in the form of naturally occurring food toxins and chemicals from pesticides and antibiotics and numerous other chemicals from manufacturing and modern technology combined with poor food quality even if a person gets the best food available and compromised digestive functioning so that not as much of what is in food is digested and absorbed that many people especially with health problems can’t get enough of this and other amino acids to support the fueling and repair of their intestinal lining as well as for other functions. Even doing every Wapf thing that is possible to do. Especially people who have serious health issues.

    As far as these “stories” of harm whether they be theoretical in studies or anecdotal I am definitely going to be following up to see if this is true. I highly doubt it. And it won’t be the first time that I’ve caught Weston price purists in untruths. For example Sally Fallon’s claim that manufactured so called synthetic b vitamin supplements don’t cure b vitamin deficiency diseases such as beri beri and pellagra that only whole food sourced vitamins do. I researched that and every single medical record I could find of the treatment of beri beri and pellagra outbreaks in various parts of the world indicates that it was found that people were cured much more quickly with b vitamin supplementation than with food sources of b vitamins alone. And it was plain old cheap lab manufactured b vitamins that were used.

    The Weston Price people have this romantic idea that nature is perfect and if we can just all live naturally enough no man made interventions are necessary and not only are the not necessary they are harmful. I believe this is a false paradigm. I think the reason they fall for this false paradigm is because they have an atheistic evelotionart worldview. I don’t hold this or believe it’s correct but instead hold to a worldview that the world was created with the level of perfect that the WAPFers think exists in nature but that that got ruined and we are in a process of break down and are devolving not evolving in the sense of gaining greater order and perfection. Thus as a result the proper man made interventions can do a lot to counter act and make up for this.

    I have experienced nothing but healing and benefit from periods of glutamine use and I’ve read and heard the same stories from many many other people and rarely heard a negative story and never one of any kind of serious harm. Just that it didn’t work for them and it’s likely that in these cases the person simply wasn’t taking enough. I’ve heard one or two stories of nausea or some like thing but these can be herx symptoms which I experienced a bit as well but they are temporary. Some people just don’t know this and immediately give up thinking its harming them.

    As far as glutathione goes deficiency as a far bigger problem for the vast majority particularly for ill people who also often have detoxification defects. More glutathione means better detox and is why substances that improve glutathione levels improve energy and stamina and overall health in people who are ill and chronically fatigued.

    As far as studies on nutrients it’s important to understand there are a lot of methodologically flawed studies out there that are done to purposely make nutritional interventions look useless or even harmful. There is a lot of incentive by various entities to make nutrition and alternative health care options look bad because they are competition to the mainstream. It is important to look at the source of the studies.

    With studies that show the benefits of nutritional supplementation many well conducted studies are done by independent researchers and while research being fudged by supplement makers is not non existent there is a lot less of it than the negative studies many of which are done by entities that have serious conflicts of interest and have loads of money to conduct these expensive studies and stand to gains billions by flawed studies that discredit the competition.
    This just isn’t the case with the positive studios most of the time. Especially when your talking about some totally unpatentable substance that no one can make massive money off of or make enough money from to afford to have expensive double blinded studies conducted.

    Mainstream research is full of positive studies on glutamine. I just read info from the blog of a holistic gastroenterologist Gerard Mullin that the consensus of meta analysis of peer reviewed research is showing that glutamine heals leaky gut and shifts the microbiome from an obesogenic dysbiotic one to a normal lean person microbiome. I think that is pretty exciting!

    If you go look at reviews say on Amazon for instance of various brands of glutamine you will see almost nothing but rave reviews. It is a tiny number that have any negative comment and those are minor. Many say this stuff is a one item tool kit and helped my health in so many ways. It healed me of ibs or ulcerative colitis.

    Also this generally only takes a short course of high dose glutamine and then either a small maintence dose or many discontinue it. Some just occasionally do a round of it. Maybe once every few months.

    Andrew Saul of asks the question: if supplements are so dangerous where is the evidence? Where are the reports and the bodies? If you look at the data the government keeps on adverse events reporting deaths by supplements are like 1 or 2 per decade and minor adverse events of ill health effects of some kind are higher but very low in the tens up to hundreds out of millions of people.

    I think you are taking the knee jerk “this is not a whole food” so it must be bad WAPF position and that this is flawed and does an injustice to the people you are influencing that might have their health revolutionized by taking advantage of it.

    1. What’s interesting is that you took all of that time to propose mostly theory, based on things you’ve read, where obviously you’re discounting all of other other quirky factors that pretty routinely underlie normal human physiology.

      You “disagree” with the notion Glutamine might not be beneficial for particular people, which is asinine, because you are not those particular people. You are you, and you benefited from Glutamine supplementation. Perhaps you didn’t have a particularly nefarious pathogenic bacteria infection in your gut.

      I did. And Glutamine, quantifiably, irrefutably made things CONSIDERABLY WORSE. Right away. Without question. I tested it thoroughly, several times. — The author is 100% right as it relates to Glutamine facilitating pathogenic bacteria in the gut that might be overgrown, and manifest in reflux, bloating, or other symptoms similar to SIBO.

      TLDR: You are interpreting the advice as it relates to you, and making an overall, overarching determination of the advice. — This is a logical fallacy.

      You don’t have to go further to disprove your notion that Glutamine is universally beneficial than me (and many many many many many other similar examples you’ll have to hunt for around the web, that do exist), someone with a bacterial overgrowth, that Glutamine directly negatively affects.

      TLDRX2: You’re being short sighted, and thinking everyone’s gut is similar to yours. — I couldn’t even believe I was reading what you wrote. You’re one of those people that truly believes you know what you’re talking about, and that it’s universally applicable. — You folks are literally the worst ;).

      1. You are so right!!!
        ive suffered with leaky gut (Sneeze my brains out if I eat any gluten and have phlegm from hell if I eat any dairy) Ive, through trial and error doing high fat low carb, low fat high carb, keto, paleo, meditarranean an found finally GAPs, SCD that Bone Broths instead of healing gives me a terrible symptoms not sureif its the autoimmune disease called Relapsing Polychondritis where my LEFT EAR burns like hell and goes totally RED fpr HOURS or the rest of the day, I stopped and after a while took the advise of a ‘nutrionist’ at wholefoods nd purchased Collagen and L-Glutamine, EVERY time I take Collagen BANG!! my ear goes red, so I stopped after a bout a week I thought let me try Glutamine powder, BANG!! My ear throbs and is red again, this stuff is the same or probably made from ground up bones and animal tissue, I have no problem with eggs, chicken in small amounts but those three Bone broth/L-Glutamine/Collagen powder gives me serious gut reactions, I believe the red ear is an autoimmune reaction in my gut to this crap forgive me words but for me this stuff has hurt me and only did this cause i always hear, leaky gut? The eat/drink bone broths, take Glutamine powder, for me it didnt work, infact it hurt me.
        I didnt understand or know of any bacterial connection, but I did know from experience something is happening and my gut is going nuts when I take those powders, now I will give them away, you can get glutamine from cabbage anyway, in my opinion its not the glutamine but the source of that glutamine that gave me problems, i.e. probably some animal bones or carcasses

        1. All the above people are or were experiencing increased mercury/lead (and other metals) elimination symptoms resulting from inadvertent heavy metal chelation, this was produced by increased Glutathione levels resulting from supplemental Glutamine.

          Solution is to keep taking, but at much lower dose, and with addition of Glycine. Use ratio of 2:1 Glutamine to Glycine. Start at low dose, e.g. 300mg Glutamine with 150mg of Glycine, lower if you can find it. Split pills if you can. You won’t need Cysteine, your body will make it and/or you’re already getting plenty eating healthy food OR junk food. When combined these are the ingredients needed to produce glutathione inside our cells. Why not just take glutathione? Because it won’t go into cells like it can when made inside cells with cysteine, glycine, and glutamine. Also, glutathione in pill form doesn’t survive digestion assimilation well enough to have much impact. Instead it does opposite, a higher thiol content leading to heavy metals being mobilized resulting in symptoms and complaints described by those comments above.

          Always start closer to zero for all supplements, both for vitamins, and medicines not prescribed, then work up slowly each day until discomfort or symptoms arise, then back down to previous level, maintain for some period, your choice, then try increasing again till symptoms trouble you again, reduce, repeat.

          Detoxification of metals should be done slowly, with breaks for recovery and elimination. Typical schedule is 3 days of treatment, followed by 4 days recovery, elimination, and focused supplementation with healthy minerals which were also removed or lost in detoxification process. Repeat for 1-5 years, depending on your load, and continued toxins exposure.

          1. For some reason Glutamine and Collagen and bone broth gives me red burning ear (left) for hrs and the only disease I found was relapsing polychondritis which is affected by ones diet, one lady said she recovered from this nasty disease by avoiding meat and going on the Mcdougal diet of starches like potato etc diet, not only would I get burning left ear but night sweats, one guy who is a paleo nutritionist laughed and said those are just meat sweats, i said I dont care I dont want to get them and today started a low fat starch diet, I believe it can work and isnt as dangerous as many seem to think, in my case with fatty liver and gallbladder polyps I have to be careful as with no fat the GB will work less and may become even more sluggish than it is, but having a leaky gut or damaged gut then CKK enzyme system which tells the GB to release once fat hits the gut isnt going to be working cause this system is interfered with cause of the damage, also one guy who was overweight went on a potato ONLY fast or diet for months and high bloods were better than when he started, the problem is the fuel that we choose, by combining the two FAT+CARB as in cake,biscuits, chocolate, cheesecake, lasagna etc etc … all the tasty food that we find hard to resist, our biology makes them hard to resist cause we are constantly expecting famine and so the system wants you to pile away in the storehouses (adipose, Liver, Vicera) we are geared to store fat whether it comes from fat or carb, the only problem in my case is that protein+fat route is more hazardous for the problems I have.

              1. I’ll keep a look out on my email, Im happy I found one person in the world that has the same ear problem maybe not the red burning ear but very close, it seems to me that the part in the gut that corresponds to the ear is being affected? Inflamed? In case we lose contact here is my email Calogerofiore(at) , wish you well till next time.

            1. I believe it’s the gelatin or bone broth because maybe they are from non- organic and non grass fed becomes and pigs.,the animals have high inflammation from eating the grains and then we eat it and it throws our own omega 3-6-9’s off and causes high inflammation for us, and then we get intense pain from the inflammation. At least that is what I think is happening.

          2. Hi Sam, I’m appreciating your input here. So you are saying, that for people who may react negatively to L-Glutamine, to keep taking it with in smaller doses with addition of Glycine? I was just reading that L-Glutamine can increase the ammonia levels and for this reason Trans Alyanyl Glutamine is a better and more absorbable option. What do you think of this? I know ammonia is a real issue for me. I tried some L-Glutamine this morning and found it very painful for my gut. About 2.5 grams worth. I may also have excess Glutamates. I have tested high for lead. Where does all of this fit into you perspective (the variations of Glutamine and the ammonia issues)?

      2. I’m interested in knowing if maybe the people who experienced a proliferation in pathogenic bacteria had an unbalanced bacterial population prior to glutamine supplementation. If that is the case I think it would be sensible to just add a disclaimer that an important precondition to taking glutamine is supplementing with a broad spectrum, high strength probiotic for 2 months to correct the imbalance.

      3. Quoting Ryan: “You are interpreting the advice as it relates to you, and making an overall, overarching determination of the advice. — This is a logical fallacy.”

        But that is exactly what the original article is also doing, with its headline “GLUTAMINE: NOT Recommended for Leaky Gut”. It may be that some people don’t tolerant glutamine, but many others do, so for the article to make an overall, overarching conclusion of “GLUTAMINE: NOT Recommended” is not correct.

  9. You are confusing MSG with Glutamine and therefore you are a liar and a fraud. You are confusing people by spreading lies. Glutamate and Glutamine are NOT the same fucking thing. You fucking loser moron.

  10. I used L-Glutamine for leaky gut and had a HORRIBLE reaction!! I agree that it affects the brain negatively as I had disturbances in my vision and could actually feel my brain “mis-firing” for lack of a better description. I felt “drugged” when supplementing with this. I have even reacted to the Glutamine in a vegetable protein powder I purchased. Will never use that supplement again!
    My leaky gut is severe and have food intolerances as a result. Looking to try the Great Lakes Gelatin, but unsure which one to try. There seems to be 3 difference kinds? Anyone have experience with the right one for Leaky Gut?

    1. Hi Cheryl, thank you for sharing your experience! When buying Great Lakes (or Vital Proteins or Perfect brands) you can choose either collagen (also called collagen peptides) or gelatin. Gelatin is the one that sets up to make “jello”-like desserts. It must be added to cool water then be heated or have hot water added to dissolve. Collagen is the one that can be stirred into any temperature liquid. Both are great. I have both in my pantry for different needs. They are both helpful for leaky gut.

    2. I had a horrible reaction to glutamine as well. Side effects included increased fatigue, muscle spasms, heart palpitations and increase anxiety. Definitely didn’t agree with my body and I have begun to have reactions to some foods.

  11. I think the main reason L-glutamine doesn’t work for everyone is probably because some people with leaky gut also have a leaky BBB (blood brain barrier). I am one of those unlucky people it seems. L-glutamine gives me migraines (as do any excitatory amino acids and foods/supplements that are stimulatory). Here are a few links that discuss “leaky brain”:

    1. Hi i am also in leaky gut protocol last 3 years.l cannot take l glutamine even 500mg, i feel horrible headaches and chest spasms. Now i am using colostrum and digestive enzymes and i feel much better

    2. Glutamine easily crosses the BBB in everyone. When it converts to glutamate, it can disturb the glutamine/GABA balance. If it does, it can cause serious anxiety, panic, headaches, and heart palpitations, among other symptoms. It doesn’t happen for everyone obviously, but if you’re prone to anxiety, panic, headaches, or heart palps, it can.

  12. I have leaky gut and systemic candida, or at least I did. I have been on high dose probiotics, digestive enzymes, as well as 20 mg per day of glutamine. I have not had any trouble with the glutamine. I have no idea if it is healing my gut or not, but have been religiously taking it. I just tried Vital Proteins collagen peptides last night for the first time and had an adverse reaction to it. It gave me a headache and it really bothered my stomach. I did not take a full dose. So, I don’t know what to think. I don’t understand why I had such a bad reaction to the collagen peptides. I know in my case, my ‘gut’ has been resistant to the collagen for a long, but my health care professional convinced me to try it. Everyone is so different. I’m open to input. I just want to heal my body, in the fastest way without conventional medicine if possible.

    1. I’m glad you’re in the good hands of knowledgeable practitioner. Healing does take a lot of troubleshooting, and glutamine is not at all problematic for many patients. I certainly never had a negative response to it, but I also never it saw it help me. I’m sorry for your negative reaction to collagen. Blessings in your process and figuring out what works best for your body.

  13. Hi Megan, for Hashimoto’s people who have low antibodies (paleo autoimmune is working) but zonuline elevated and head symptoms (migraines etc. not hystamine caused) what do you think about OKG or OKG+glutamine for leaky gut? I guess glutamine only could give some sides (probably microglia issues) but OKG stimulates immune system too.

    BTW low calproctine and no indican/scatol disbyosis suggest to approach directly leaky gut, isn’t it?

  14. Glutamine worked great for me for a few months. Unfortunately over Xmas I became Glutamine intolerant. I can handle 1gm max a day now. If I have over 10gm I gut full blown D and ill for a couple of days (bloating, the runs the lot). There’s a presentation by Kasia Kines that discusses clients she’s seen that have become intolerant.

    So it was good but it always gave me headaches and nausea when I took it. Now having collagen and a simple diet (no gluten, dairy) makes me feel even better and no running to the loo !

  15. Thanks for this great post. I have the MTHFR genetic defect and as a consequence very poor gut function with neurological issues. Everything I looked at, all the “healing diets” recommended glutamine. I had read Dr. Natasha Campbell’s book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” and for some of the reasons you mentioned she advises caution before adding bone broth because of the glutamine content. I can’t tolerate bone broth at all and had gotten so bad I started reacting to the glutamine in foods. It certainly shouldn’t be taken in supplemental form for a lot of people. You really have to consider the benefits and side effects of amino acids. They have the potential to hinder progress and even aggravate present symptoms. But it is so hard to find someone who even mentions potential negative reactions. I for one learned the hard way with this supplement. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Vina,
      I suffered taking Glutamine and collagen and bone broths but my symptoms dont seem neurological, my symptoms mimic relapsing polychondritis which is inflamation of cartilage in the body and a serious disease, my left ear but not the lobe become red as hell and burns for hrs, I get this with a fair amount of sugar too, with muscle meat or eggs no problem though just those bone broths, I wondered whether its the heavy metals in the bones that does it, one lady who said she cured herself of this disease said she went vegan and was healed so I tend to limit animal products, dairy and gluten.

      1. Hi Calogero,
        That’s interesting. I do believe it is the high concentration of amino acids that is the problem. Glycine, also found in high concentration in bone broth, breaks down to oxalic acid and I know i have major issues with that chemical. Thankfully, I resolved this issue by fasting and now that I have incorporated bone broths back into my diet, it has certainly aided my healing process. Going vegan would never be an option for me. Meat heals! Plants ‘cleanse’! I need nutrients in their most bio-available form, without all the anti-nutrients in plant foods. It is a myth bone broth is high is heavy metals. The heavy metal content of foods is largely unknown but kale, for instance is much higher in lead than bone broth! I believe it is essential to not only be gluten free, but grain free. Far too inflammatory and irritating to the gut. All the best with it.

      1. Really?? Ive been taking NAC now 1200g almost everyday for the last 6 months, with a few breaks here and there and although I was feeling better, even before i started taking NAC whatever i have is back again. I believe its leaky gut but could also be an infection – i had it for 3 years and only when i stopped eating grains and just proteins and fat for 2 weeks straight did i feel better. But I started drinking cafe lattes regularly and i think maybe this is why its back, brain fog and the whole shabang. Its such a struggle this thing. But Im surprised you were cured with NAC? Personally it seems like NAc as no effect on me no longer although it did wonders a year ago when i first tried it for a month.

  16. The rats were fed 1 g/kg/d. Pills have only 500-1000 mg. 6,84 g we eat via diet per day. How much glutamine has gelatin anyway?? The other study is with mice. Next study reviews the potential BENEFITS of glutamine nutrition in the patient with cancer. Last study regards critically ill patients with multiorgan failure. I cant follow you.

  17. Thank you so much for this article! I have been doing GAPS now for 6 months for my ASD 15 year old son. He has had remarkable progress on the diet alone, but have been recommended over and over to try him on glutamine. I am always very hesitant to add or change his protocol, since we are seeing such positive results already. That being said, if there is more that can be done to help him, of course i want to do whatever i can. Yours was the only “con” article i could find in reference to glutamine, but also made the most sense. He already consumes bone broth at least 3 times daily, plus a lot of the other foods suggested. So with the exception of possibly adding more gelatin or collagen, i think we’ll just keep on with what we’re doing 😉 Again, thank you for helping me make an informed decision for my child. By the way, your whole website has been a Godsend through this GAPS journey.

    1. Great, Heather. Thank you for sharing! So glad the site is helpful. And Yay You! You’re doing great! 🙂 I hope healing keeps going great!!

      1. What are your thoughts on digestive enzymes in conjunction with GAPS? I searched your site, but didn’t find anything pertaining to them. I know they GREATLY help my 17 year old daughter with her IBS-D, but was wondering if it would help my son absorb more of the nutrients he’s ingesting. Also, thank you so much for your comment! So encouraging 🙂

        1. Hi Heather, I’m a big fan of using digestive bitters. I like the one by HerbPharm the best; but there are a few good ones. Second to that, I like HCl with Pepsin, one with every meal that contains protein. Yes, I think they’re a necessary aid during the GAPS process and after. I prefer them to digestive enzymes, because they’re adjusting the ph of the stomach, but also positively affecting the liver, gall bladder, small intestine, pathogen issues etc. As far as your son not digesting all of his nutrients, we have had that issue as well, especially with my youngest. Another wonderful supplement if he’s very sensitive is to start with an even gentler digestive aid which contains cabbage juice. It’s here: Cheers and blessings!!

  18. Bone broth and gelatin are byproducts of a very, very cruel and sick industry. Please know there are conscious, vegetable based alternatives! So many foods are pre and probiotic and gut healing… there is no need for this madness.

  19. Seems somewhat irresponsible to be drawing widespread conclusions from a few things you’ve read, especially when pushing products. For example, the study you reference that indicates glutamine can help cancer cells proliferate was taken from a study on patients who already had cancer. Yes, it’s always wise to consider the other side of things and not assume any one supplement is a panacea, but to outright say that glutamine is NOT recommended is way out of your range of expertise, sorry.

    1. How else would you test a substance’s effect on cancer cells than to give it to people who already had cancer?

      Glutamine has serious effects inside the body and the brain. That’s a fact. It might work out fine for many but it’s a very bad idea for anyone with a mental illness to take it.

  20. This is one of the worst articles about gut health i have ever read.
    First – people that have problems with glutamin – it is not the gut – their problem is elsewhere
    Second – they will have problems with collagen and gelatin also
    Glutamin is much better than collagen or gelatin because it is absorbed while gelatin or collagen if not digested will feed bad bacteria – putrefaction.
    There are many people who eat broths and gelatin but never heal unlike people taking glutamine.
    And to tell that glutamine is bad is like blaming peanuts for your peanut allergy. You just have to check reviews under glutamine on any site that sells it.
    You can not heal using whole foods for many reasons – like low HCL – and for this reason – low HCL – when you eat meat it will putrefy and feed bad bacteria.
    Ryan Michael Ballow – please show some evidence that glutamine feeds bad bacteria even if you have sibo – this can happen if you dont absorb it – but if you cant absorb amino acids then how are you live at all?

  21. I was suffering from brain fog for about 1 year. conventional medical approaches did not work. then i decided to heal my leaky gut. i used l-glutamine to heal my leaky gut but it is increasing brain fog.then i stop taking glutamine.

  22. Green tea and other GABA inducers attenues glutamate toxicity, that’s why you drink green tea with your soya souse sushi.

  23. When I go to test for food sensitivities using electro-dermal biofeedback technology, it always shows extreme sensitivity to Gluten, some other grains, MSG, L-Glutamine, gelatin, most protein (except some fish), most fats and anything with Dairy, some veggies and many fruits also. And I do have IBS and a leaky gut, anxiety and hypothyroidism also.

  24. Megan Stevens – Thank-you! thank-you! I can’t thank you enough for this post. I got online this morning looking for help since I couldn’t figure out why I am feeling so awful after trying out Glutamine. Last night I read to make sure to take it on an empty stomach – so I did,and couldn’t go to sleep, then finally with a lot of help from passionflower etc and just exhaustion fell asleep, but woke up feeling worse at 3 AM: nerves on fire, stomach/heart/head feeling like it was flying, headache, body aches, just feeling horrible.
    I’ve never done well with some restaurant Chinese food or any MSG laden food – headaches, buzzing nerves, insomnia etc. So I’ve been very careful about excito toxins – why did I buy this stuff? in the middle of the night I kept thinking “glutamine – glutamate – monosodium glutamate” so had to find out if there was ANYBODY else seeing this. I’d read so much good about Glutamine for the gut – I hadn’t seen anything negative.
    Thank-you for being brave enough to post this most helpful information, against the popular stuff out there. Popular isn’t always truth! and everyone doesn’t always react the same!! (I’ve thrown out the bottle of glutamine)

    1. Hi Chris, I’m so glad this article was helpful! Thanks for your kind words. Blessings in finding better alternatives that help you in your wellness process! 🙂

  25. I’m somewhat in agreement here. Too much glutamine spikes my anxiety and it’s very uncomfortable and counterproductive to healing. However, now I’ve incorporated lysine, citrulline, agmatine… and the anxiety can be reduced taking GABA, ashwagandha, etc. too.

    1. Post

      Yes, so many. You can read my posts on vitamin U, the Intro GAPS Diet, mastic gum, to start, by typing any of those three topics into the search box. Also, gelatin is available from fish, if that works for you, and from pure grass-fed beef, if that works for you.

  26. I was prescribed 10grams of L glutamine per day for leaky gut. I started slow at 3 grams. Within a week my fatigue was off the chart and I had a terrible eye twitch. I’ve been off it now for little over a day and haven’t fully rebounded. But getting better. There is no doubt it was the glutamine. My body has confirmed that this stuff isn’t good for everyone!

    1. Post

      Thanks for sharing your experience Holly! Because there is still so little data on the negative effects L-glutamine can have, these comments are a helpful resource of information, so everyone who finds this post can see what adverse symptoms can occur. Like you said, it’s not good for everyone.

  27. I took l-glutamine for a few days last summer and it felt like I went back to eating gluten. My guts were upset and my joints very painful. Not a good supplement for me! Any other recommendations besides gelatin? I need as much help as I can get.

    1. Post

      Hi Heather, thanks for sharing. If you use the search engine on my site you can read the articles I wrote about 1) mastic gum and 2) slippery elm and marshmallow root and 3) vitamin U. Those are all great options for helping to heal the gut. NAC has also been SO helpful for me. (You can find it here: Lastly, I would be nowhere without the use of digestive bitters to help the pH of my stomach for digestion. This is the bitters I buy, which is fruit-free and very strong, but a wonderful supplement: Best wishes!! (If you have access to an infrared sauna, or the budget for one, I have loved mine so much for healing.)

  28. Thank you so much for posting this. I took l-glutamine in the advice that it can help heal my leaky gut/Crohn’s. But after an hour of battling it I had extreme anxiety. I thought I was losing my mind. Nice to know I’m not crazy lol. What about bone broth? I want to give it a try but am worried about side effects like with l-glutamine.

    1. Post

      It is unlikely that bone broth, which is a whole food with many amino acids, will cause anxiety. I’m glad the post was helpful and reassuring! Best wishes!

    1. Post

      Hi Maya, do you have a specific supplement in mind? I do like the glycine benefit reishi mushrooms provide. It seems a gentle supporting approach. Glycine can also be acquired through collagen. Are you looking for a vegan-based glycine?

  29. Hello, great article. I recently went to a Naturopath and she told me to take 5gr three times a day of L-Glutamine but now I find my skin is more itchy. My gut does seem to feel better but I’d rather get the gelatin. I live in Canada and I’m not sure where to get it and what’s a good brand? Any suggestions? Thanks, Alex

    1. Post

      Hi Alex, I’m sorry; I don’t know. I have a Canadian friend with the same problem. I know when I was in Victoria they had sheets of gelatine, like in England, but I don’t know about the sustainability of the different companies that provide it. That might be the way to look for it though. Meat stock is another great option, if you’re up for making a short-cooked bone broth, here are instructions and info about it:

      1. I have been taking L-Glutamine for some weeks now to help my leaky gut healing. I found out 3 days ago about the glutamate and glutathione connection to L-Glutamine. I had to stop having broth. I also stopped having L-Glutamine (5 g twice a day). I suffer from insomnia if I eat broth… I do not know if it is because at present I have too much Glutamine accumulated in the body. Will it wear off?. I am on a very restrictive diet eating only steamed vegetables and some animal protein, not much and I’d like to have gelatin or collagen to help. My elimination diet for the leaky gut does not finish until the 16th March. I have other problems in my digestive system I prefer not to
        disclose now. Normally, I sleep well though (if I do not eat broth).

  30. Well I learned the hard way not to have glutamine with leaky gut. Two pound weight gain in two days when using it along with bone broth. On top of a steadily increasing weight thanks to all my food intolerances. I wish they would stop promoting this damn “supplement”.

  31. Here brief comment on part of the artical.

    Glutamine is an neurotransmitter and can cause anxiety as the artical says. However there active pumps in the brain that remove unwanted proteins including glutamine so that a balance in maintained. The amount glutamine in the blood and in the brain is very different. Glutamine levels in the brain is controlled within a narrow range.

    If someone has a hangover or eats to much sugar glutamine levels increase in the brain. Supplementing with glutamine has been shown to reduce sugar and alchohol craving. Most likely the brain can easily adjust over time to excess glutamine in the blood.

    If you take glutamine while drinking it may reduced the hangover that you will get afterwards.

  32. Several of the dangers of long-term use of glutathione could be true, but at the same time, long-term use of glutathione causes a zinc deficiency. Lack of zinc = probably all of those dangers of glutathione. Zinc is a very tricky mineral to absorb, considering it’s blocked by calcium; and many people don’t know about mineral interactions, supplement interactions, low stomach acid, phytates, etc.

    What do you all think?

  33. Supplementing with L-Glutamine… AND gelatin? No thanks, no way — NOT if you are an “A” Blood Type. A good deal of the leaky gut problem (and many other health issues) rests in not eating the right diet based on your blood type. And Type A does best avoiding meat and animal by-products. Chicken and turkey are about the only (somewhat) safe meats for this type.

    So, believe me — the blood type factor in dietary do’s and don’ts is the one thing that isn’t on the radar enough, and don’t believe those who say the “research isn’t in” or that’s it’s inconclusive. Look into the information for yourself and modify your diet. Some supplements can help, but even those may be subject to your blood type as well.

  34. I came here searching about L-Glutamine BAD side effects .. an idiot doc prescribed to me a neurotransmitters complex supplement for anxiety and depression .. included Lglutamine .. taking in total 15 pills in 20+ days span and I had my worst year ever .. for sure caused of EXCITOTOXICITY from Glutamate produced from LGlutamine .. and possibly by Phenylalanine and other EXCITATORY neurotransmitters. That idiot “doc” should had prescribed inhibitory neurotransmitters for anxiety . Please EVERYONE search the bad side effects of everything, prescribed Drug/Medication, Supplements , cause a great part of “doctors” are ignorants actually !!

  35. Thanks for the information on your page. I’ve been searching for information on glutamine, as a recent hair analysis came back as having high levels of glutamine. While my glutamic acid and glutathione levels results were normal. I don’t take any regular prescriptions but I do take a probiotic and on occasion calcium supplement chews. I’m not sure why my glutamine levels are high. Diet? Underlying medical issue or problem? I’m also not sure if I need to be concerned about it? Any advice?

  36. Interesting! I have SIBO and L Glutamine worked for a time but taken lately
    it threw my stomach out of sink big time. This makes sense to me now,
    Grateful for your input.
    I guess we need to read ALL the info out there. Good and bad.

  37. L Glutamine is found in all foods..After intestinal surgery it was found to help in healing…at 1000mg per day…After a period of 30 days most patients are advised to reduce the dose until you then stop taking it all together. So just like taking any medicine you take it for a reason. Lets understand that . Boosting your intake for a short period of time after lower GI insults has shown to help many people..But does that mean you can then go on a Alcohol, Sugar or Junk food binge! A lot of factors here to consider before we throw L Glutamine under the Internet bus..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *