Glutamine : Separate The Best From The Rest

Why Glutamine?

So you've come to the conclusion that you spend far too long trying to get your socks on in the morning, and that view from the top of your stairs might just as well be the decent from Mount Everest! And well, as for the number of toilet pans you’ve managed to demolish through succumbing to your aching quads in the morning…I think L-Glutamine is a supplement you should definitely consider using (if you’re not already)!

Now I’m not one to pass blame, but the aches and pains you experience after a good bout of exercise is almost always DOMS's fault! DOMs or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is the bane of many athletes, bodybuilders and/or fitness enthusiasts training life, in fact it is so uncomfortable that it can actually put people off performing heavy compound moves such as deadlifts, clean and jerks and squats! If there is a lack of the amino acid Glutamine either because of excessive exercise, inadequate rest and poor nutrition then you are exposing yourself to overreaching and overtraining syndrome (click the links for our overtraining articles). Glutamine is very important to our muscles with over 90% of the body’s Glutamine being stored within skeletal muscle. According to Llewellyn, (2009) the body’s Glutamine stores deplete after a heavy training session, meaning the replenishment of the Glutamine pools are important to minimising catabolism (muscle breakdown) and supporting recovery.

History of Glutamine : Origins

The industrial production of Glutamine owes its existence to Dr Kikunae Ikeda who in 1908 discovered monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is commonly found in fast food and processed snacks as a taste enhancer. As a result of this discovery, small scale production of amino acids came about via a method known as extraction. In the 50’s a process known as fermentation meant amino acids could be manufactured at a faster and more efficient rate, and ten years on in 1960 L-Glutamine was readily produced for mass consumption.

Manufacturing Processes

Amino acids are manufactured via extraction from animal or plant protein, chemical synthesis, fermentation and/or enzymic techniques. Most amino acids are now made through chemical synthesis and enzymic processes whilst the branched chain amino acid L-Leucine and other amino acids such as hydroxyl L-proline, L-tyrosine and L-cystine are all manufactured via fermentation and chemical synthesis. L-Glutamine is manufactured via fermentation so that it can enter our protein shakes, Glutamine powders and be used in hospitals as a protector against infection and malnutrition, and of course to aid recovery!

Production of quality Glutamine

The fermentation process is stage one in the production of top quality Glutamine, following on from this the amino acids will undergo crude isolation and then thorough purification processes. During fermentation the scientists can program a microorganism to specifically produce L-Glutamine, from here the fermentation broth containing the L-Glutamine is processed via crude isolation which then undergoes further processing to leave the familiar fine crystalline powder that we all recognise as…L-Glutamine!

Quality assurance

The final Glutamine product is only released once it has undergone quality tests ensuring it meets legal requirements and each manufacturing step has been verified. The overall quality of an L-Glutamine product is dependent on all manufacturing steps being followed and batch tests meeting consumer standards set by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA, 2013).


Kusumoto, I, (2001). Industrial Production of L-Glutamine. The American Society for Nutritional Sciences. The Journal Of Nutrition. 131 (9) : 25525-25555.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, (2013). Retrieved 28th Feb, 2013, from

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!


  • February 28, 2013 Dominic Caspar

    This is the most positive article about L-Glutamine I've seen in few months. Would you recommend it to as a standalone supplement? Many people question the sense of buying it, especially if you already use supplementation such as whey.

    Thanks Tom for an interesting article.

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