If you’re an athlete or bodybuilder, you may have heard that glutamine is a gamechanger for muscle growth and recovery. Spoiler alert – it is.
Glutamine is an amino acid that can help your body take on stress and support your health, all while getting you closer to your fitness goals. Even if you’re not an athlete, glutamine provides health benefits for your entire body.
In this article, we cover the importance of glutamine, when to take glutamine for maximum health benefits, and how to get glutamine into your everyday life.
Benefits of Glutamine
Glutamine (also called l-glutamine), is an important amino acid that functions as a building block for proteins. While it’s not one of the nine essential amino acids, it has plenty of its own benefits.
It is considered a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning the body is typically able to produce it on its own, but there are times when the glutamine needs are larger than what your body is able to produce.
Glutamine needs increase during times of increased stress, illness, injury, or intense physical activity. During these times you need additional glutamine from a dietary source to support the increased needs. Otherwise, depleted stores of glutamine can make your recovery time longer.
Adding glutamine to your diet if you are sick, overly stressed, or training for an athletic event is highly recommended. It is one of the best ways to boost your immune system and optimize your intestinal health during these physically demanding periods.
If you decide to add this amino acid to your routine, you may be asking yourself when should glutamine be taken for maximum results? The answer- right before you go to sleep!
When to Take Glutamine
Taking L-glutamine before bed is one of the best ways to obtain the MAXIMUM benefits from the supplement! Why is this?
According to one study, glutamine helps increase the synthesis of protein in your body, thereby providing your muscles with the nutrients they need to produce new muscle fibers. This allows your muscles to grow and get stronger while you are sleeping which is one of the major benefits of glutamine before bed.
Additionally, it can potentially slow the breakdown of muscle in your body and help to speed up your metabolism. This slight increase in metabolism and muscle mass that happens with the addition of glutamine, may help you increase lean body mass, tone up, and lose weight.
Another benefit of taking glutamine before bed is that it is a good way to raise your body’s production of natural growth hormones. Those hormones help with growth during your adolescence and they also play a role in your body’s ability to send nutrients to your muscles.
Optimizing your production of growth hormones during the night will help increase your muscle mass naturally, all while helping you recover from injury or illness. Optimal levels of growth hormone are particularly important during weight loss, injury recovery and athletic training.
According to one study on glutamine, a single 2-gram dose of supplemental glutamine may increase short-term levels of human growth hormone up to 78%. As you can see, regardless of your health status, the benefits of glutamine before bed can be vast and plentiful, especially if you are looking to build muscle and burn fat.
While we are big fans of taking L-glutamine before bed, that isn’t the only time that it can provide a benefit. Knowing when to take glutamine may still vary depending on your schedule and activity level.
Other beneficial times to take glutamine may include:
- Shortly after waking up: Fasting while you sleep can equate to 8 or more hours without protein, so having an early morning glutamine supplement in addition to your breakfast can help nourish your muscles at the beginning of the day.
- Within 30 minutes after working out: This gives your muscles the boost they need to repair themselves after a tough workout, which can speed up the recovery process.
As you can see the best time to take glutamine may vary on your goals, schedule, and preferences. So while we love it before bed, you should take it when it works best for you.
Who Should Take Glutamine?
There are many people who can benefit from taking this supplement, but athletes and bodybuilders are the ones who benefit from it the most.
Here are a few reasons you should consider glutamine, regardless of your lifestyle or activity levels:
- It prevents muscle cell catabolism (breakdown) after a workout. Pushing yourself hard during a strenuous workout can lead to muscle cell breakdown and dehydration. Glutamine helps prevent dehydration and reduces the instance of muscle cell breakdown, which is commonplace when your body is starved for water. Additionally, research has shown that glutamine supplements may decrease muscle soreness and improve recovery after intense exercise.
- It boosts your immune system. If you want to have a healthy immune system, taking glutamine is a great way to support it. Studies have shown that glutamine supplementation can boost the immune function of athletes. Athletes are particularly prone to respiratory illnesses due to the intensity of their training schedule. Did you know that getting sick can set your athletic progress back by a week or more? Imagine being able to train harder with fewer colds, viral infections or the flu – allowing you to maintain your focus and progress in your training regimen.
- It enhances brain function. Using your brain at work all day to solve tough problems? Try glutamine, which can boost the levels of neurochemicals that send messages through your brain. This will allow you to relax and recover and can even help your brain work more efficiently.
- Glutamine supplementation can play a role in supporting your intestinal health. Glutamine is an important energy source for intestinal and immune cells. Glutamine supplementation can benefit your overall immune health by supporting the intestinal cells which prevent harmful bacteria and toxins from entering your circulatory system to cause damage.
Branched Chain Amino Acids and Glutamine
As an athlete you may have heard that branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential for muscle growth. How are these amino acids impacted by glutamine?
While glutamine is not considered an essential amino acid, the branched chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine are. These three important players make up 35% of your muscle protein. They help to preserve muscle energy stores and reduce the amount of protein breakdown during exercise or illness.
Taking BCAAs and glutamine together before bed can support your immune system and fitness goals even further, by optimizing the effect of the amino acids on your muscles.
The benefits of taking BCAA and glutamine before bed include a quicker muscle recovery time, the promotion of increased growth hormone, and can even lower stress hormones like cortisol.
How to Find Glutamine in Foods and Supplements
By now, you’ve seen the benefits of getting glutamine in your diet. Here’s how you can integrate glutamine into your lifestyle so that you can support your muscle growth and recovery, immune system, brain function, and gut health.
Taking glutamine in supplement form is a great way to boost your glutamine intake.
If you choose to take a glutamine supplement, you should take anywhere between 5 and 40 grams of L-glutamine per day. About 5 to 10 grams per day is ideal for those who are taking the supplement for the first time, and you can slowly increase your glutamine intake as your body adjust.
You’ll want to take your glutamine supplement on an empty stomach, as this amino acid is sensitive to the acids in your stomach as well as to the heat released by digestion. Take 5 to 10-gram doses at a time to help give your body the amino acids it needs.
When you’re figuring out your perfect supplement regimen, don’t forget about the benefits of pairing glutamine and BCAAs in your night time routine.
Taking a glutamine supplement is not the only way to get more of this important nutrient. Glutamine is naturally found in a variety of healthy foods that make up a balanced diet.
Foods that contain glutamine include:
- Skim milk
- Cottage Cheese
- Raw Spinach
- White rice
Since glutamine is a necessary part of proteins, essentially any food containing protein will contain some glutamine. Focusing on getting adequate protein in your diet is a simple and easy way to increase your overall glutamine intake.
Glutamine is an important amino acid that is not just for muscle building and improving your athleticism, but is beneficial for general healthy living. Taking your glutamine supplement at night can help you experience the most benefits, but it is versatile enough to be used according to your own schedule and goals.
If you’re looking for a glutamine supplement that is:
- Absorbed FAR faster than most protein powder supplements
- Enhances your digestion
- All natural
Look no further than Well Wisdom’s Glut Immune! Glut Immune contains a highly absorbable form of glutamine that is stable enough to pass through your gastrointestinal tract for maximum bioavailability.
This special formulation can deliver up to 10 times more glutamine to the digestive and circulatory system compared to other L-glutamine supplements.
Glut Immune is made from red wheat berries, and therefore is not gluten free. People who are sensitive to gluten or have Celiac’s disease should avoid this product.
Glut Immune is also easy to add into your favorite recipes to give your body an extra boost of nutrition. Check out our tasty recipes for Veggie Stew and Cabbage Pastry that use Glut Immune, our glutamine supplement.
Is it OK to take glutamine at night?
It is okay for most people to take glutamine before bed. For the majority of the population, L-glutamine supplements easily convert to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps the body relax and supports sleep quality. A few people have difficulty converting L-glutamine to GABA, so excess L-glutamine can result in sleep disturbances.
What time is best to take glutamine?
The best time to take glutamine depends on your personal goals. Studies support taking glutamine at night to speed up metabolism, help increase muscle mass, and support your body’s natural growth hormones. However, taking glutamine in the morning or half an hour after a workout can also support the nourishment and recovery of your muscles.
Does glutamine help with insomnia?
There is a relationship between your body’s levels of l-glutamine and sleep disturbance. People with short sleep insomnia tend to have lower circulating levels of glutamine, and as a result, lower levels of GABA. Increasing GABA levels through diet may help support sleep during insomnia.
 Smith RJ. Glutamine metabolism and its physiologic importance. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1990;14(4 Suppl):40S – 44S. https://aspenjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1177/014860719001400402
 Welbourne TC. Increased plasma bicarbonate and growth hormone after an oral glutamine load. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995;61(5):1058-1061. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7733028/
 Legault Z, Bagnall N, Kimmerly DS. The Influence of Oral L-Glutamine Supplementation on Muscle Strength Recovery and Soreness Following Unilateral Knee Extension Eccentric Exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2015;25(5):417-426. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25811544/
 Song Q-H, Xu R-M, Zhang Q-H, et al. Glutamine supplementation and immune function during heavy load training. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2015;53(5):372-376.
 Miller CB, Rae CD, Green MA, et al. An Objective Short Sleep Insomnia Disorder Subtype Is Associated With Reduced Brain Metabolite Concentrations In Vivo: A Preliminary Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Assessment. Sleep. 2017;40(11):10.1093/sleep/zsx148. doi:10.1093/sleep/zsx148
Briguglio M, Dell’Osso B, Panzica G, et al. Dietary Neurotransmitters: A Narrative Review on Current Knowledge. Nutrients. 2018;10(5):591. Published 2018 May 10. doi:10.3390/nu10050591
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Thanks for article. Very informative. Just one note, under the “Who should be taking it?” portion, it’s written people working “white collar jobs”? I work a white collar job however I see in 2017 almost all jobs are mentally demanding/challenging (i.e. waitress, police, teachers).
And is it ok to take l-glutamine or we have to take another form of glutamine ?
I bought a bottle of Pro Performance L-Glutamin today and the bottle reads to take 3kmg a day, but you’re saying 5-10 grams per day!…Which is it?…I’m taking it for extreme aerobic workouts; will it help me recover?…
if taken during the day, one runs the risk of tossing and turning and losing sleep. i am about to try taking it at night with a kava/theanine supplement. I need it for gut healing.
How do you find taking it at night ? I’m looking to take it for gut issues as well.
I took this for gut problems. I came off it as I was getting serious vivid nightmares. Having done some basic research, it seems it’s not for everybody. Yes, I slept better than I have done for years but can’t handle the nightmares
Very glad I found this article! I accidentally took a double dose of my husband’s L Glutamine thinking it was my Magnesium! I had never taken Glutamine before AND it’s 2am, so I was afraid I’d be up the rest of the night.