Glutamine for Sugar Cravings

Have you ever experienced an insatiable sugar craving that you simply can not satisfy  no matter how hard you try? Then you may benefit from glutamine, a protein-based supplement that can help with the sugar cravings. Even though medical experts recommend that you first try to add more protein into your diet, the glutamine supplement is still a positive option if you feel your body needs a little extra help.

Causes of Sugar Cravings

There are many reasons for sugar cravings. Knowing what is causing it can help to combat it. Sometimes, it is as simple as being dehydrated, but there may be more complex reasons, such as a hormone imbalance. Imbalances can often trigger sugar cravings. Hormones, such as leptin, ghrelin and the stress hormone cortisol. PMS (premenstrual symptoms), is one such example of a drop in hormone levels linked to sugar cravings. Other factors include:

  • Stress: lack of sleep and stress is a major factor leading to a feeling of  need for more sugar.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Deficiencies such as low calcium, vitamin B or E, or low zinc levels.
  • Weak gut microbiome: This is a chronic disease where your gut’s immunity is weakened. 
  • Dehydration: Dehydration can falsely make you think that you are hungry.
  • Eating too many carbohydrates: Starch-filled foods, such as white pasta, white bread, and soft drinks can increase sugar cravings.
  • Protein deficiency: Protein-based foods assist with sugar cravings because it reduces the amount of sugar absorbed from the body. Eating enough protein will help your body to stop craving sugary treats and carbohydrates.
  • Indigestion and acid reflux: You can experience sugar cravings when you have indigestion or acid reflux. The gut can mistake the discomfort in your stomach for hunger. Also, you may unknowingly have the urge to eat comfort food to push the trapped food temporarily further down the stomach.
  • Antibiotics: The overuse of antibiotics can lead to sugar cravings because it kills the good bacteria as well as the bad. This leads to being prone to yeast infections, meaning your body becomes addicted to sugary foods. The more yeast the body has, the more sugar it needs.
  • Age factors: Research shows that by the age of 70, you are more likely to develop a sweet tooth. This is the time when the taste buds often become impaired. Other chronic health conditions on top of this, such as dementia or other nutritional deficiencies, is likely to amount to even more intense sugar cravings.
  • Low blood sugar: You are more likely to experience sugar cravings if your blood sugar levels drop lower than they should. Patients with diabetes are more prone to this, as well as people who have not eaten enough during the day or engaged in an extreme amount of exercise. Being proactive and eating regular meals and healthy snacks can help prevent this.
  • Inflammation of the stomach: An unhealthy gut encourages sugar cravings because of bad bacteria, which can result in an unhealthy cycle.
  • Leaky gut syndrome: This is a digestive issue linked to bacteria passing into the intestine area. It is classed as a relatively new condition that a lot of health care professionals still do not fully understand. 

What is glutamine?

Glutamine is the most plentiful of all the o-amino acids that are naturally available in our bodies. It is produced within the muscles, then is sent into the bloodstream to assist in building essential proteins, helping our body to function properly. Even though we naturally produce a lot of glutamine, the body sometimes still needs a bit of extra help to keep things running smoothly.

Types of glutamine

There are 2 types of glutamine: L-glutamine that is naturally found in high protein foods, and D-glutamine, which can be bought as a supplement from health stores or online. Some examples of foods that are high in glutamine are chicken, spinach, cabbage, and dairy products. Glutamine is a useful supplement to take if you are deficient in vital nutrients, or as a way to deal with intense sugar cravings. Feeling the need for sugar is usually your body's way of telling you that your body is deficient in some nutrients or vitamins.


Studies have shown that glutamine has some health benefits for people diagnosed with diabetes. People with diabetes have a naturally lower level of glutamine supplied in their bloodstream and a glutamine supplement can temporarily assist with this. Glutamine can also help to regulate blood sugar levels. 

Data has also shown that glutamine can improve insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes and lower blood pressure too. However, it has been proven that glutamine can raise blood sugar levels too. Overall, there still needs to be more research on the relationship between glutamine and diabetes, although the research completed so far has suggested that glutamine supplements can be beneficial for those with diabetes. 

Gut health

Glutamine has been proven to reduce sugar cravings. Gut health is linked to the endocrine system, which is associated with hormones. The endocrine system is the largest and most complex part of our internal body, and sometimes it can benefit from extra support from a glutamine supplement.

L-glutamine is beneficial for individuals that are overweight or obese, as it helps to reduce sugar cravings, and It also reduces firmicutes. Firmicutes are a type of bacteria that are attracted to sugar. So when you have a high concentration of this bacteria, you crave even more sugar to ensure the bacteria’s survival. 

Nutritional deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies can leave the body unable to regulate blood sugar and cause cravings. If these deficiencies are caused by gut problems, then glutamine can help curb this. Immunity disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and sickle cell disease are known to deplete the body of nutrients.

Here is a list of vitamins and minerals that, if the body is depleted from, could lead to sugar cravings:

  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E: Some people with digestive issues and immunity disorders lack vitamin E, which absorbs the fat our body needs. Some foods high in vitamin E are eggs, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
  • Zinc
  • Iron 
  • Chromium
  • calcium 

Exercise and glutamine

L-Glutamine is a highly popular supplement for fitness performance and building muscle. Sportspeople regularly use glutamine to fuel their energy levels. It is used by athletes because glutamine helps to repair and dehydrate muscles quickly after regular intensive training. It also helps to reduce post-workout muscle pain. It is sometimes the case that L- glutamine levels can decrease when you are exercising extensively,

Taking glutamine can help to support the immune system and with feelings of fatigue. This is helpful for athletes who train regularly, as their bodies often do not always get sufficient time to replenish themselves.

If your goal is to lose weight, ghrelin secretion levels help to decrease appetite. It can also speed up metabolism and reduce sugar cravings. Finally, glutamine helps build muscles, which can help to burn extra calories too.

Glutamine doses and side effects

Glutamine tablets are best taken on an empty stomach. Powdered glutamine is often mixed in with drinks or into foods, such as porridge, smoothies, and yoghurts.

Always read the instructions before starting so you know the exact dosage to take. It is recommended that you start with a lower dose, just to check if glutamine-D gives you any side effects. If you have a liver or kidney disease, please consult your health care provider before taking glutamine. It is recommended that pregnant or lactating women only take glutamine if the health benefits override the negatives.

Other drugs, such as over the counter medication, herbs, or vitamins may interfere with glutamine. Make sure you seek advice from your healthcare provider before trying them.

Common side effects of oral or powdered glutamine:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dry mouth
  • Swollen hands and/or feet
  • Feeling sweaty
  • Rashes
  • Muscle/joint pain
  • Confusion
  • Cough
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue

Rare side effects

  • Chest pain
  • Loss of hearing
  • Weakness in parts of the body
  • Mood disorders/behavioural problems


Glutamine is a useful supplement to take on a short term basis if your goal is to reduce sugar cravings. There is still much research needed on glutamine and its effects on sugar cravings, however.


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  2. Daley, D, M. Glutamine and Your Blood Sugar [cited 2022 Feb 23]. Available at:
  3. Eat This, Not That. Does Glutamine Actually Help Crush Your Sugar Cravings?;2020 [cited 2022 Feb 28]. Available at
  4. Torres, L. Does oral glutamine improve insulin sensitivity in adolescents with type 1 diabetes?;2017.[cited 2022 Feb 23]. Available at:
  5. WebMD. Glutamine - Uses, Side effects and more; 2022, [cited 2022, Feb 25]. Available at:           
  6. NUTRA. L - glutamine may alter gut microbiota to resemble changes seen in weight loss programs;2016. [cited 2022 Feb 25]. Available at:
  7. Prolab Nutrition. The #1Way Glutamine Benefits Bodybuilding For Best Results;2021.[cited 2022 Feb 25]. Available at:        
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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Ellen Theobald

Bachelor of Arts - BA, Professional and Creative Writing, St Benedicts Derby
Ellen is an experienced Medical Writer.

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