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L-Glutamine & Gut Health: What Experts & Research Says About The Connection 

Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
By Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director. Previously she worked at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com.
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
Expert review by
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
mbg Vice President of Scientific Affairs
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's degree in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.
Image by Gillian Vann / Stocksy
December 12, 2021

We know gut health is complicated—and that everyone's unique needs will be varied based on their lifestyle, dietary preferences, and inherent body differences. We also know that the gut requires a robust diverse array of foods and nutrients to keep it healthy, so to support your digestive health you can look to multiple routes, from probiotics, prebiotics, fibers, antioxidants, fatty acids, and amino acids. 

On the latter suggestion, there's one amino acid that's quite popular in the health and nutrition world for its GI-tract-aiding benefits, and it's one that might be the missing link to optimizing your digestive function.* 

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Why L-glutamine is so important for gut health. 

Glutamine, as we've noted, is an amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins are an essential nutrient and what helps our cells, muscles, connective tissues, and even our gut carry out basic daily functions.* Glutamine, in particular, helps build up collagen (you know that famous peptide that gives skin that youthful, firm, supple appearance?) as well as for the cells in our gut. L-glutamine is simply the form of the amino acid that we find in foods and supplements.* Got all those basics? Good.

"According to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Science, glutamine is one of the most common amino acids in the blood and cells, and it's a preferred source of energy for intestinal cells," says integrative gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, M.D., about glutamine. "The authors also explain that glutamine supplementation can support the lining of the bowel and help it keep a strong intestinal barrier, in addition to enhancing immune cell function and the immune system while reducing the inflammatory response."* 

In other words, this amino acid helps ensure the integrity of the lining of your gut stays in top form.* Essentially, your gut functions better when it can utilize glutamine for energy—and given they operate better, you'll see residual benefits that come with a stronger gut barrier.* 

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The takeaway.

If you are looking to optimize your gut health, this amino acid just might be your missing link.* Of course there are many ways you should be proactive about your intestinal health, but supplementing with L-glutamine will ensure you have a strong basis. 

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
Alexandra Engler
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director at mindbodygreen. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She has worked at many top publications and brands including Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends and updates in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as travel, financial wellness, and parenting. She has reported on the intricacies of product formulations, the diversification of the beauty industry, and and in-depth look on how to treat acne from the inside, out (after a decade-long struggle with the skin condition herself). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.