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L-Glutamine for Weight Loss: Is It Effective for Burning Fat?

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Interested in using L-Glutamine for weight loss and wondering if it is worthwhile?

In this article we’ll be going over why L-Glutamine may not be the best option for weight loss. With that being said, there are plenty of other benefits to this supplement we’ll be covering. 

While using L-Glutamine for weight loss isn’t recommended, it may have some other benefits. In high doses it appears L-Glutamine may be beneficial for improving recovery and exercise performance. If you’re interested in losing weight, we recommend prioritizing diet over supplements like Glutamine. 

L-Glutamine For Weight Loss

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is a nonessential amino acid meaning it is produced by the body in sufficient quantities given a sufficient intake of other nutrients. It has a wide variety of roles in the body from immune function to muscular function.

It is also found in the diet through virtually all protein sources. With this being said, the benefit of Glutamine supplementation is a debated topic. As we’ll cover below, there is very minimal evidence to support Glutamine’s use as a weight loss supplement.

While there is some evidence to support its use for recovery and performance. These results are fairly limited as well. Glutamine supplementation appears to be best suited as an adjunct therapy for conditions that lead to glutamine deficiency. These include serious illnesses such as Cancer and HIV, among others. 

Does Glutamine Supplementation Help With Weight Loss?

As mentioned above, due to limited evidence it is difficult to recommend Glutamine supplementation for weight loss. There is a study that showed a high daily dose of Glutamine (30g/day) led to increased fat loss.

However, this study also states that further research needs to be done before definitive claims can be made about Glutamine’s effect on fat loss. A more definitive study using a similarly high dose of Glutamine showed no effect on body composition. So, you may be wondering, “How much L-Glutamine for weight loss is necessary?”

While we don’t recommend glutamine for this purpose, higher doses (~30g daily) do appear to have more significant effects. It’s worth noting that a systematic review found that Glutamine supplementation led to weight reduction. However, the ratio of fat and lean body mass didn’t change, implying this supplement is not effective for fat loss specifically.   

These conflicting results make it difficult to recommend the use of glutamine for weight loss purposes. While there is some evidence to support its use for this purpose, it is fairly limited, and the higher quality studies show it doesn’t have a significant effect. 

Does Glutamine Supplementation Help With Weight Loss

What Other Benefits Can Glutamine Be Used For?

✅ Recovery and Performance

As mentioned above, evidence supporting Glutamine’s effects on recovery and performance is fairly similar to the evidence surrounding its use as a weight loss supplement. 

While there is a study that demonstrated high doses of Glutamine leading to increased time to exhaustion and improved recovery, a more recent systematic review shows that Glutamine has no effects on performance or recovery. 

✅ Treatment of Illness

All things considered, Glutamine supplementation is likely most useful as an additional therapy for certain medical conditions. It is mainly used in the event of illnesses that lead to glutamine deficiency, as glutamine plays a valuable role in our immune system. 

Of course, the use of glutamine in these cases is highly individual and should be prescribed by a doctor as part of a larger treatment plan. While Glutamine’s effectiveness varies from condition to condition, it does appear to play a valuable role in supporting immune system function for those with glutamine deficiency. 

How to Lose Weight With or Without Glutamine Supplementation?

Regardless of whether or not you plan on using glutamine for weight loss, there’s no substitute for a proper diet and good training. We’ll be going over the necessary factors for effective weight loss in more detail below!

How to Lose Weight With or Without Glutamine Supplementation

1. Stick to a Moderate Calorie Deficit

We recommend eating in a caloric deficit of around 250-500 calories a day depending on how fast you want to lose weight. This should lead to steady progress over time without feeling as if you are starving. 

To find your maintenance calories, track how much you need to eat to maintain body weight. Subtract 250-500 calories from this number to see how many calories you should eat a day.

Be sure to consistently measure your weight to ensure you’re making progress. You can always adjust your caloric intake accordingly to stay in line with your goals!

2. Eat Your Protein

Arguably just as important as eating in a caloric deficit on a cut is eating enough protein. Without sufficient protein intake, you’ll end up losing muscle mass along with body fat.

To preserve as much muscle as possible while dieting, we recommend eating plenty of protein. 

While dieting, we recommend eating more protein than you would on a bulk. Around 1g per pound of body weight should be ideal!

3. Do Strength Training

Similar to the point about eating enough protein, if you’re not doing strength training on a cut, you’ll be losing muscle along with fat. To maintain as much muscle as possible, resistance training is a must. 

Remember that it’s possible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time if you’re eating right and training properly. If you’re new to training, find a program that hits every muscle group to ensure you’re building a well-balanced physique.

Best Glutamine Supplement

L-Glutamine from Jacked Factory

L-Glutamine from Jacked Factory
  • Form: Powder
  • Flavor: Unflavored
  • Unit Count: 17.6 Ounce
  • Item Weight: 5 Grams
  • Item Dimensions: LxWxH 3.15 x 2.36 x 1.57 inches
  • Product Benefits: Digestive Health Support
  • Age Range (Description): Adult
  • Package Information: Bottle

While evidence supporting the use of L-Glutamine as a supplement is limited at best, if you’re interested in using Glutamine, consider Jacked Factory’s option. 

It should be noted that the serving size here is low compared to the amounts used in the studies mentioned above. Each scoop is only 5g, while many of the studies mentioned above used around 30g/day.

As a result, for optimal effects you may want to take multiple servings of this product per day. 

You can rest assured this is a high-quality supplement as it’s made in a cGMP-certified facility ensuring high standards in the manufacturing process. It’s also a single-ingredient supplement with no unnecessary additives, ensuring you’re getting 100% L-Glutamine. 

Considering you may need to take multiple servings for optimal effects, the 5g/scoop isn’t optimal. However, each 5g serving will only cost you about $0.24, so it still won’t be too expensive if you want to take multiple servings at once.

Just keep in mind you may run out of the supplement fairly quickly doing this.

Best Protein Powder

Transparent Labs Whey Isolate

  • Best For: Muscle Building, Recovery, Cutting
  • Package Information: 2.28 lb/30 servings, 4 lb/55 servings
  • Protein-by-Weight Ratio: 81-87%
  • Protein: 28 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0-3 grams
  • Fat: 0-1 gram
  • Calories per serving: 120
  • Serving Size: ~33 g
  • Price per serving: from ~$1.8

As mentioned above, if you’re looking to lose fat, we recommend getting your diet in order before looking for purported “fat-burning” supplements like Glutamine. One of the best supplements to help with this is a high-quality protein powder like Transparent Labs’ Whey Isolate

This is because protein powders are a great way to boost your protein intake without too many unnecessary calories. A high-quality whey isolate like this is a great example.

Each serving of their chocolate flavor only has 120 calories and 28g of protein! This makes it an ideal food for dieting, whether you’re using it as a high-protein snack or as part of a meal. 

This product also comes in a solid 12 different flavors, giving you plenty of unique options to choose from. It should be noted that calories and protein will differ slightly from flavor to flavor, so choose one that suits your needs best!

It should also be noted that Transparent Labs makes all its products without any artificial sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives. This makes it ideal for those who prefer to buy all-natural supplements!

Because of their high-quality standards, this is slightly pricier than a lot of other protein powders out there. However, at ~$2.00 per serving, we believe it still offers excellent value for money.

FAQ

What Happens if I Take L-Glutamine Every Day?

It’s thought that there may be some health risks associated with using an L-Glutamine supplement for a long period of time, although there is no definitive evidence to show this. It’s thought that consistent use of the supplement may alter your body’s ability to produce Glutamine naturally. 

However, Glutamine appears to be well-tolerated in most. Consult with your doctor if you’re concerned about the potential side effects of glutamine supplementation.

What Are the Side Effects of L-Glutamine for Weight Loss?

While L-Glutamine does appear to aid in total weight loss, it leads to both fat and muscle being lost, which is not ideal when cutting. So, if you’re trying to maintain as much muscle as possible while losing fat, we don’t recommend using it for this purpose. 

Does L-Glutamine Reduce Belly Fat?

The relationship between supplementation with L-Glutamine and weight loss is unclear. So, does L-Glutamine help with weight loss? Maybe. 

While there is some evidence that it may aid weight loss, it appears it leads to loss of muscle and fat in equal measure, making it less ideal for specifically losing fat. We recommend prioritizing diet and exercise first before looking to use supplements like L-Glutamine.

Does L-Glutamine Make You Gain Weight?

No, it doesn’t appear like L-Glutamine will make you gain weight. While it may help with weight loss, it doesn’t appear to be useful for losing fat specifically. While you may still be interested in taking L-Glutamine, benefits for weight loss are fairly minor. 

When to Take L-Glutamine for Weight Loss?

If you’re interested in the best time to take L-Glutamine for weight loss, it shouldn’t matter too much. Because we don’t recommend using L-Glutamine for this purpose. This is the same answer we’d give to questions about the proper L-Glutamine dosage for weight loss as well. 

Conclusion

Overall, because of conflicting results, we don’t recommend using L-Glutamine for weight loss, or any other purpose other than potentially in addition to medical treatment when prescribed by a medical doctor. While it does show some promising results in some areas with high doses, evidence is not consistent enough to draw any definitive conclusions. 

With that being said, if you’re still interested in using L-Glutamine, check out L-Glutamine from Jacked Factory. However, if you’re looking to lose weight, we believe you’ll be better off investing in a great protein powder, like Transparent Labs Whey Isolate.

Have you ever considered supplementing with Glutamine? Any tips to help lose weight without supplements? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Also read:

References:

  1. Tavis Joseph Piattoly, “L-glutamine supplementation: effects on recovery from exercise” LSU Master’s Theses. (2005). 
  2. Amirhossein Ramezani Ahmadi, et. al, “The effect of glutamine supplementation on athletic performance, body composition, and immune function: A systematic review and a meta-analysis of clinical trials” Clinical Nutrition, Volume 38, Issue 3. 1076-1091. (2019)
  3. Department of Surgery, “Glutamine,” NYU Grossman School of Medicine, https://froemkelab.med.nyu.edu/surgery/content?ChunkIID=21749 (Accessed Oct. 28, 2023)
  4. Kahlile Yousef Abboud, et. al, “Oral Glutamine Supplementation Reduces Obesity, Pro-Inflammatory Markers, and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in DIO Wistar Rats and Reduces Waist Circumference in Overweight and Obese Humans” Nutrients. Mar; 11(3): 536. (2019).
  5. DG Candow, et. al, “Effect of glutamine supplementation combined with resistance training in young adults.” Eur J Appl Physiol. Dec;86(2):142-9. (2001).
  6. Samuel Mettler, et. al, “Increased Protein Intake Reduces Lean Body Mass Loss during Weight Loss in Athletes,” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 42(2):326-37. (2009).

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By trusting the recommendations of our certified experts in coaching, nutrition, dietology, and sports training programming, as well as scientific consultants, and physiotherapists, we provide you with thorough, well-considered, and scientifically proven content. All the information given in the articles concerning workout programming, separate exercises, and athletic performance, in general, is based on verified data. We ensure that you can rely on our professionals’ pieces of advice and recommendations that can be treated as personalized ones which will benefit you and fully meet your needs.

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David Sasha Schulz avatar

Author: David Sasha Schulz
Doctor of Chiropractic, BSc Human Biology, CSCS

Chiropractor – 4 years
Strength coach (CSCS) – 10 years

Sasha is a Chiropractor and Kinesiologist practicing in Kelowna, BC, Canada. He has been practicing Chiropractic since 2019, integrating manual therapy, strength training and programming principles, and nutritional strategies to get his patients optimal results. He currently scratches the competitive itch in fitness, and the occasional endurance race, and plays golf and snowboards for fun. He has an interest in all strength and fitness-related sports.

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