Glutamine Post Workout Recovery

Glutamine Post Workout Recovery

Glutamine is an amino acid needed for a healthy gut. While it is an abundant nutrient, the body burns through it quickly in times of stress. As a result, adequate levels cannot be maintained and a glutamine deficiency may result. Exercise can also diminish glutamine levels resulting in fatigue and soreness. This supplement has become popular for its potential performance benefits. This article examines if using glutamine post workout can improve exercise.

What is Glutamine? 

Though not part of the 9 essential amino acids, glutamine is an important nutrient that plays a large role in the body [R]. 

How Does Glutamine Work?

Ninety-eight percent of glutamine is found in muscle cells. It is responsible for protein synthesis, growth, and repair of these cells [R]. This amino acid becomes conditionally essential when the body is unable to produce enough for its needs This often happens in those with a critical illness or injury [R].  

If the body’s glutamine needs are greater than what is being produced, a supplement may help [R]. Low levels of glutamine can also result from intense exercise training [R].  

Benefits of Glutamine Post Workout Recovery

Some health benefits of glutamine include improved gut health and immune system function. [R].

While glutamine has no ability to improve performance, build muscle or affect body composition [R, R], it has been shown to help workout recovery [R].

Heavy training and endurance exercise strain muscles depleting them of glutamine [R]. This can result in muscle soreness, discomfort, and poor performance.

Those given a combination supplement containing alanine and glutamine had less fatigue and damage from resistance training. This was indicated by lower markers of lactate dehydrogenase and creatine kinase [R]. 

Glutamine also reduced soreness and improved strength recovery in recreationally active men better than a placebo when taken right after a muscle-damaging exercise for 4 days [R].

Glutamine improved muscle soreness in 48 hours following eccentric exercises in both men and women. Men experienced a faster recovery of peak torque and better force recovery than women in this study [R]. 

It is important to note that this supplement may be better suited for trained athletes. Range of motion, soreness, and nerve activity showed no changes in novice exercisers after taking glutamine for 4 weeks. [R]. 

Foods High in Glutamine

Consuming glutamine rich foods is a great way to naturally increase levels. It is found in protein foods like chicken, fish, tofu, lentils, beans, and dairy. Vegetables like cabbage, spinach, beets, and peas are also high in glutamine.

Dosing Recommendations

The form of these supplements includes both pills or glutamine powder. Typical doses are about 5 grams per day [R]. Sticking to doses under 14 grams have been advised to protect against any potential health risks [R]. 

There are no specific recommendations for when to take glutamine as a recovery method. It is best to follow the dosage instructions on the label. 

Glutamine Side Effects and Contraindications

Glutamine supplementation at doses above 40 grams may be harmful. There are also side effects that can occur at lower doses. These include dizziness, heartburn, and stomach pain. Some have also experienced an allergic reaction to taking glutamine [R]. 

Those with kidney disease, liver issues, certain cancers, and women pregnant and breastfeeding should avoid glutamine. should also avoid using glutamine [R]. 

Glutamine interacts with lactulose and anticonvulsants [R]. If you have medical conditions or are on any medications it is best to speak with your healthcare provider before starting this supplement.

Final Thought On Glutamine Post Workout Recovery

Glutamine is a nonessential amino acid that may become essential to those under stress or illness. Strenuous exercise can also deplete the body of glutamine. If the body cannot keep up with the rate of depletion a glutamine deficiency may develop. Glutamine is important for immune and gut health so getting enough of this nutrient is helpful. Diet is the first place to start but if you are running low a supplement may help to improve post-workout recovery. Be sure to start with a low dose and see how it affects you.


  1. Watford, Malcolm. 2015. “Glutamine and Glutamate: Nonessential or Essential Amino Acids?” Animal Nutrition (Zhongguo Xu Mu Shou Yi Xue Hui) 1 (3): 119–22.
  2. “Amino Acids: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” n.d. 
  3. Lacey, J. M., and D. W. Wilmore. 1990. “Is Glutamine a Conditionally Essential Amino Acid?” Nutrition Reviews 48 (8): 297–309.
  4. Walsh, N. P., A. K. Blannin, P. J. Robson, and M. Gleeson. 1998. “Glutamine, Exercise and Immune Function. Links and Possible Mechanisms.” Sports Medicine 26 (3): 177–91.
  5. Antonio, Jose, Michael S. Sanders, Douglas Kalman, Derek Woodgate, and Chris Street. 2002. “The Effects of High-Dose Glutamine Ingestion on Weightlifting Performance.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research / National Strength & Conditioning Association 16 (1): 157–60.
  6. Candow, D. G., P. D. Chilibeck, D. G. Burke, K. S. Davison, and T. Smith-Palmer. 2001. “Effect of Glutamine Supplementation Combined with Resistance Training in Young Adults.” European Journal of Applied Physiology 86 (2): 142–49.
  7. Chassaing, Benoit, Manish Kumar, Mark T. Baker, Vishal Singh, and Matam Vijay-Kumar. 2014. “Mammalian Gut Immunity.” Biomedical Journal 37 (5): 246–58.
  8. Demling, Robert H. 2009. “Nutrition, Anabolism, and the Wound Healing Process: An Overview.” Eplasty 9 (February): e9.
  9. Coqueiro, Audrey Yule, Raquel Raizel, Andrea Bonvini, Marcelo Macedo Rogero, and Julio Tirapegui. 2019. “Effects of Glutamine and Alanine Supplementation on Muscle Fatigue Parameters of Rats Submitted to Resistance Training.” Nutrition 65 (September): 131–37.
  10. Street, Brian, Christopher Byrne, and Roger Eston. 2011. “Glutamine Supplementation in Recovery From Eccentric Exercise Attenuates Strength Loss and Muscle Soreness.” Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness 9 (2): 116–22.
  11. Legault, Zachary, Nicholas Bagnall, and Derek S. Kimmerly. 2015. “The Influence of Oral L-Glutamine Supplementation on Muscle Strength Recovery and Soreness Following Unilateral Knee Extension Eccentric Exercise.” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 25 (5): 417–26.
  12. Rahmani Nia, Farhad, Esmail Farzaneh, Arsalan Damirchi, and Ali Shamsi Majlan. 2013. “Effect of L-Glutamine Supplementation on Electromyographic Activity of the Quadriceps Muscle Injured by Eccentric Exercise.” Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences 16 (6): 808–12. 
  13. Frank, Kurtis, Kamal Patel, Gregory Lopez, and Bill Willis. 2019. “Glutamine Research Analysis,” October.
  14. Shao, Andrew, and John N. Hathcock. 2008. “Risk Assessment for the Amino Acids Taurine, L-Glutamine and L-Arginine.” Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology: RTP 50 (3): 376–99.