Glutamine for Ulcers: The Benefits of Glutamine, and How to Use it as an Alternative Therapy

Recent research shows that L-glutamine or glutamine supplements have a supportive role in the healing of digestive ulcers.

Stomach ulcers

Stomach ulcers are often an unpleasant experience. They can sometimes be mistaken for another illness presenting similar symptoms, such as indigestion or heartburn.

About glutamine

L-Glutamine is a popular supplement to take for many health reasons and it's also produce naturally in the body. One of its biggest benefits is linked to helping with intestinal and gastric health complaints, especially ulcers.1

So what exactly is glutamine? Glutamine is an amino acid found in the body. Even though it is plentiful, sometimes the body still requires a little bit of extra help. Especially when struggling with low immunity or another health complaint.1 

Adding glutamine to your diet can be achieved either by adding extra glutamine-rich foods to your diet or by taking a glutamine supplement (e.g. D-Glutamine).2, 3

Foods high in L-glutamine are naturally high in protein and help to produce amino acids in the body.

High glutamine foods include:

  • Cabbage
  • Animal proteins
  • Fish/seafood
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dairy products
  • Soya
  • Protein drinks

Glutamine plays several important roles including helping the healing of ulcers by:

  • Helping to prevent bacteria from spreading
  • Preventing and healing inflammation
  • Fueling the cells with enough energy to function
  • Maintaining the body's nitrogen levels in times of stress
  • Improving tissue viability

It is very important to try to prevent stomach ulcers because, the more infections you suffer from, the higher the possibility of long-term gastric damage. Increasing your glutamine intake is one of the ways to help avoid infections. 3, 4

Symptoms of ulcers

The most common symptoms of stomach ulcers are:5,6

  • Bloating
  • Feeling uncomfortable after meals
  • Loss of appetite
  • Back pain
  • Belching/acid reflux
  • Blood in stools
  • Dull/gnawing pain around the stomach 
  • Bloating around the face or other parts of the body
  • Fatigue
  • Mind fog
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting blood (in this case see a doctor immediately)

Causes of ulcers

In the past, having ulcers was identified as experiencing an extreme amount of stress or eating certain foods (that result in excess production of stomach acid).5 However, there is not sufficient evidence to prove this. New research shows that a bacterial infection is a major culprit in the cause of ulcers.5

Helicobacter infection

The bacteria that causes ulcers, Helicobacter pylori, is thought to have developed in two-thirds of the world’s population, but most never experience any symptoms. 

However, if the symptoms of ulcer from H. pylori do develop, the infection often manifests as a peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcers often respond well to a course of antibiotics but taking glutamine is recommended as alternative health therapy or as an added precaution.5


Another main cause of ulcers is the overuse of medication. Regularly taking high doses of aspirin, antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs can lead to the development of ulcers.5

Research has shown that older people, more commonly people age 60 or over, are more likely to develop ulcers than young people. Stomach ulcers are also common in people who take a large number of medications on a long-term basis.

Alcohol and smoking

Even though the use of alcohol is not a direct cause of ulcers, excessive alcohol consumption has been proven to further damage the stomach lining.6 If you already have an ulcer, drinking alcohol and smoking slow down the healing process.

Immune disorders or bowel disorders

Conditions, such as short bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative or Crohn's disease, can also be the cause of gastric ulcers and inflammation inside your colon and intestinal area.

Ulcers can usually be treated with the appropriate medication.5 Although on rare occasions, surgery may be required to remove the ulcer.

How can glutamine help with stomach ulcers?

L-Glutamine can protect your stomach from helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for causing stomach ulcers.5, 6 Taking extra glutamine helps to reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system's response to the infection. Glutamine supplements can be taken alongside antibiotics or as an alternative therapy. 

Taking glutamine supplement

Glutamine supplements can be taken orally in the form of tablets or powder.1 It is advised that you begin with the lowest dose, to check for any possible side effects. Please see your local health care provider before considering taking a glutamine supplement.

Side-effects of glutamine:

The common side-effects of glutamine intake you may experience are:1,5

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Cold/flu-like symptoms
  • Swollen hands and/or feet
  • Skin rashes

Some of the rare side-effects of glutamine intake are:1

  • Behavioural problems
  • Blood in urine
  • Unusual weakness in part of the body

Seeking medical advice

Although you should always consult your doctor before taking any supplements, it is more important to seek medical advice if you suffer from any of the conditions below:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Reyes syndrome
  • If you are pregnant or a lactating mother


Stomach ulcers can be an unpleasant experience and can be a result of many factors. If you have a stomach ulcer, your GP will likely provide you with antibiotics for treatment. In some cases, they may recommend you increase your glutamine intake through your diet or supplementation, as glutamine can boost your immune system and reduce inflammation as well as prevent infection. As with all things, there may be side effects of glutamine supplementation so it is advised to consult your GP before increasing your glutamine intake.


  1. GI Society. What is Glutamine?;2022.[Cited 2022, March 4].
  2. Wong, A. The use of a specialised amino acid mixture for pressure ulcers: a placebo-controlled trial; 2014. [ Cited 2022, March 4].
  3. Cruzat, V, Rogero, M, Newsholme P. Glutamine: Metabolism and Immune Function, Supplementation and Clinical Translation; 2018. [Cited 2022 March 9].
  4. Min-Hyun, K, Hyeyoung,K. The Roles of Glutamine in the Intestine and its implication in Intestinal Diseases;2017. [2022 March 10].
  5. Pathak, N. Understanding Ulcers; 2021. [Cited 2022, March 9].
  6. THE RECOVERY VILLAGE. Does Alcohol Cause Ulcers?; 2021. [Cited 2022, March 10].
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.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Ellen Theobald

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818