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Glutamine for Weight Loss

Glutamine is considered the most abundant amino acid in our body and has been a popular ingredient to supplement with for many years. While it’s popularity has decreased in recent years, newer research being conducted may just result in a resurgence in its sales. Glutamine is most commonly used in clinical settings to speed up recovery thanks to its abilities to combat stress induced protein breakdown. It can also help to support more balanced glucose and insulin levels and has even been shown to prevent obesity in animal models. This latter effect in slowing down and even reversing the progression to obesity is the basis for one of a recent Italian study.

The study in question collected 6 overweight and obese females who completed a cross over study in which they supplemented with glutamine for 4 weeks, took 2 weeks off and then 4 weeks on an isonitrogenous protein supplement. What the study found was that it was only whilst on glutamine supplementation that significant amounts of weight were lost at roughly 3kgs compared to 1kg and that glutamine supplementation resulted in a reduced appetite and reduced food intake. In addition, 4 weeks of glutamine supplementation was safe and well tolerated with no serious or long term side effects experienced. The sample size was rather small, but the cross over study design would have strengthened the results.

Practical Applications

With levels of obesity skyrocketing in the past decade, there needs to be a multi pronged approach when it comes to trying to reduce its prevalence. For the majority of people, exercise and diet changes will help bring the biggest results, but those changes can be quite taxing in terms of effort. Supplementing with glutamine may be an easier way to help speed up initial weight loss and help nudge you along the way to making bigger changes. Aim to have a daily dose of glutamine at 0.5g/kg bodyweight divided into 4 servings per day for about 4 weeks.

Laviano A, Molfino A, Lacaria MT, Canelli A, De Leo S, Preziosa I, Rossi Fanelli F. ‘Glutamine supplementation favors weight loss in nondieting obese female patients. A pilot study.’ Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Sep 17

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