How to Use L-Glutamine for Alcohol Cravings

In this article, I will discuss how to use l-glutamine for alcohol cravings, which is an amino acid supplement that you can get inexpensively.

alcohol cravings

Here’s a quick preview of what you’ll learn about:

  • Alcohol cravings
  • How to stop alcohol cravings naturally
  • L-glutamine and other supplements for alcohol cravings
  • And much more!

When I quit drinking, I experienced cravings that lasted for many months. They were often so bad that I’d get up in the middle of the night and eat whatever I could find in my kitchen – potato chips, pints of ice cream, even spoonfuls of jelly – to keep myself from thinking about drinking.

Knowing what I now know about the power of L-glutamine to stop cravings, it’s frustrating for me to think about how easy it might have been for me to solve this problem! Ultimately, I did discover L-glutamine during post-acute withdrawal – but much later than I should have.

After reading this article, you’ll know how stop to cravings and start the process of body repair much quicker than I did.


Before we discuss how to stop cravings with L-glutamine, we will review the various functions of this amino acid and its many benefits for people in recovery.

L-glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that your body can produce it on its own, but because such large amounts are required during times of stress and disease, supplementation is often recommended to avoid deficiency.

Chronic drinking severely depletes levels of this amino acid through several different mechanisms:

  • Derive more calories from alcohol instead of foods rich in L-glutamine
  • Inhibits L-glutamine synthesis at the cellular level
  • Flushes out nutrients because it is a diuretic
  • Damages the gut, preventing proper absorption

The primary reason that this amino acid can be used to stop cravings is that it can be converted into glucose for the brain without raising insulin levels.

The problem with relying on sugar to quench cravings is that sugar prompts the release of insulin, which robs the bloodstream of sugar and leads to escalating sugar and/or cravings.

This vicious cycle can lead to relapse along with diseases like diabetes and cancer.

It’s important to understand that this substance is a highly refined sugar. The addicted brain craves it because it “knows” three things very well:

  • It is absorbed through the stomach lining much faster than other calories
  • It provides energy for the brain despite its toxic effects
  • It keeps the brain’s calming chemicals in check and prevents hyper-excitability

The addicted brain therefore prefers alcohol to other forms of calories. In the absence of it, however, the brain will settle for the temporary satisfaction of a sugar high.

It’s not a coincidence that people who stop drinking tend to consume large amounts of soda, candy, or other sweets in a subconscious attempt to keep their cravings at bay.

By consuming this amino acid, many people can eliminate cravings while avoiding the roller coaster of hypoglycemia that so many addicts succumb to.

Moreover, supplementing offers a host of other benefits for people in recovery:

  • Improves brain function
  • Reduces depression, anxiety, and insomnia
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Repairs cells in the gut
  • Repairs skeletal muscles
  • Aids in fat loss
  • Aid in liver detoxification


alcohol cravings

As we already discussed, L-glutamine can be converted into glucose without causing a spike in insulin levels. It can therefore be used to fuel brain cells and reduce cravings.

Technically, this is first converted in the kidneys into glutamic acid, which is then converted into glucose in the brain.

Glutamic acid performs two other functions that can enhance detox:

  • Glutamic acid neutralizes ammonia, a toxic byproduct formed when alcohol damages cells and breaks down their proteins – thereby protecting brain function and memory.
  • Glutamic acid is a building block of glutathione, which is the liver’s most potent detoxification compound (it is produced in phase two liver detoxification)

alcohol cravings

Note: More of this does NOT necessarily equal higher levels of glutamate, which is a neurotransmitter suppressed by alcohol and which rebounds to dangerous levels during alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

I will try my best here to shed some light on the intricate relationship between L-glutamine, glutamic acid, and the excitatory neurotransmitter known as glutamate:

  • Glutamic acid is a building block of both GABA and glutamate – respectively, the brain’s primary calming chemical and a stress chemical that is also required in balanced levels.
  • Glutamic acid converts first into glutamate and then into GABA, given adequate levels of vitamin B6 and magnesium.
  • L-glutamine will be used to restore GABA levels in the case of cravings, as it will be used to manufacture whichever neurotransmitter is too low.
alcohol cravings

While the above is a bit complex, the key points about this amino acid are:

  • It satisfies the brain’s need for glucose, stopping cravings
  • It helps to facilitate detoxification via its effects on ammonia and glutathione
  • It helps to create a feeling of calm by increasing GABA activity

This does not mean that this is enough by itself to combat serious withdrawal symptoms. In order to prevent seizures in severe alcoholics, medications like Ativan must be used.

People with mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms that go beyond cravings can benefit from learning about kratom, phenibut, or .

The bottom line is that many people who have quit drinking and are experiencing post-acute withdrawal symptoms will be able to reduce cravings right away by taking this amino acid!


Because of biochemical individuality, it’s important to determine your level of tolerance for L-glutamine before you take large doses of this amino acid.

People who use it to stop cravings often begin with 1,000 mg and take up to 2,000 mg or more per day until the cravings stop.

Some people have even used up to 5,000 mg per day, but care should be taken to avoid side effects.

While very safe, side effects from consuming too much of this amino acid can include headaches, nausea, and sweating. These side effects can be mitigated by beginning with a low dose and working your way up to an effective dose.

While I haven’t had cravings in years, I still take supplements during periods of hard training to help my body repair from workouts.

alcohol cravings

I’ve experienced great results, including mood improvements when I take NOW L-Glutamine.

It’s pretty amazing that you can put an end to your sudden cravings with a supplement that’s so cheap!

You can also up your intake by eating foods like meat, beans, cabbage, and leafy green vegetables like parsley and spinach. However, these sources will not give you enough to stop cravings that come on suddenly.

A we will discuss, however, learning how to stop cravings naturally is just the first step toward repairing your brain-body system and transcending addiction forever.

Scientific Research

alcohol cravings

Much of what we know about the relationship between L-glutamine and cravings is based on anecdotal evidence from people who have used it themselves to eliminate cravings.

However, several scientific studies support the use of glutamine to stop cravings as well as sugar cravings:

  • In a 1957 study published in the Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, those receiving at least 5,000 milligrams of L-glutamine stopped having cravings while those who received a placebo continued to suffer from cravings (source)
  • In a study of alcoholics, L-glutamine along with two other amino acids (D-phenylalanine and 5-HTP) alleviated withdrawal symptoms including cravings (source)
  • In a 1955 study of alcoholic rats, supplementation reduced consumption by 35% (source)
  • In a 1998 study of alcoholic rats, L-glutamine injections reduced consumption significantly (source)
  • In a study of mice with hypoglycemia, L-glutamine proved superior to glucose for eliminating sugar cravings (source)
  • This amino acid suppresses pro-inflammatory signaling pathways in the gut, which may help to account for its efficacy in treating leaky gut (source)

The following passage was written by Joan Matthews Larson, who operates a clinic in Minnesota that has successfully treated thousands of alcoholics with nutritional repair:

I have noticed that HRC clients complain of a return of cravings within forty-eight hours when they neglect to refill their glutamine supplies. You can quench a sudden desire for alcohol by opening a 500-milligram glutamine capsule and letting it dissolve in your mouth. (Substances placed under the tongue are absorbed directly into the bloodstream immediately.) Glutamine is one of our clients’ favorite nutrients. (source)

Chris Scott’s Tip

In addition to taking this amino acid, you can reduce your cravings and begin to repair your body by taking an ingenious supplement called Calm Support.

how to stop alcohol cravings

Calm Support contains high quality nutrients and herbs that are very effective for cravings.

These ingredients cost a lot of money when purchased separately, and I discuss many of them in my article on the best supplements for alcohol detox and recovery:

  • B-Vitamins – Highly depleted by alcoholism and necessary for energy and cognition
  • Vitamin C – Restores cellular health damaged by alcohol consumption
  • Magnesium – Supports relaxation, sleep, and nervous system functioning
  • Zinc – Restores the immune system and hormonal balance after alcoholism
  • L-Tryptophan – Amino acid that helps with relaxation and sleep
  • NAC – Amino acid that detoxifies the liver and the lungs
  • Valerian Root – Herb that reduces insomnia
  • Phyllanthus – Herb that detoxifies the liver
  • Mucuna Pruriens – Herb that restores dopamine in the brain
  • L-Theanine – Amino acid that improves anxiety

A number of my coaching clients have been able to quit drinking with the help of this amino acid and the ingredients in Calm Support!

You are what you consume, and it’s very important to have your nutritional bases covered so that your other strategies for recovery can be given a chance to work.

Further Considerations

Chronic drinking damages the lining of the stomach and intestines, leading to problems absorbing nutrients. It can take weeks or months for an alcoholic to restore gut health, even with a proper diet and nutritional supplementation.

While it can help to repair the gut lining for alcoholics, I highly recommend taking probiotics (“good bacteria” that dwell in your gut) and digestive enzymes. These will help to restore balance to your gut and increase the absorption of everything you consume.

You can find digestive enzymes and probiotic supplements on Amazon or in your local grocery store. You can also help to repair your digestive system by consuming the following foods:

  • Fresh Papaya – contains enzymes that help you digest
  • Aloe Vera – contains compounds that protect the gut lining
  • Ginger – contains anti-inflammatory compounds and eases digestion
  • Kombucha or Kimchi – great source of probiotics
  • Greek Yogurt or Kefir – great source of probiotics

how to stop alcohol cravings
My gut detox meal of papaya, fresh aloe vera, ginger, and kombucha.

If you take this along with Calm Support and integrate some of the above recommendations to repair your gut health, then you’ll be well on your way to enabling your brain-body system to enjoy life without drinking!

The following resources can also help you a TON on your mission of self-discovery:


I hope this article has provided you with useful information!

If you have any questions, please post them in the comment box below.

Hierarchy of Alcohol Recovery


Does alcohol deplete L glutamine?

It is often said that alcohol “dampens” L-Glutamine. In fact, it leads to a deficiency in important compounds that this amino acid helps to produce. It is required to produce both GABA and glutamate, brain chemicals required to maintain a balance between feeling calm and energized. Heavy drinking causes an imbalance in these brain chemicals as well as a deficiency in blood levels.

How do you take L glutamine for cravings?

It can be taken in dosages of 500 mg up to 5 grams at a time for cravings. For the fastest relief, buy a powder version or break open a capsule and let the powder dissolve under your tongue. If you’re in early recovery from quitting drinking, be sure to check out other supplements for natural alcohol detox.

Is glutamine bad for your liver?

It is widely used and generally safe in dosages of up to 30 grams per day. While it has been shown to be helpful for liver function, people with liver or kidney conditions should talk to their doctors before using this amino acid. Supplements like milk thistle can also be used to help to support liver health.


  • Chris Scott

    Chris Scott founded Fit Recovery in 2014 to help people from around the world dominate alcohol dependence and rebuild their lives from scratch. A former investment banker, he recovered from alcohol dependence using cutting-edge methods that integrate nutrition, physiology, and behavioral change. Today, Chris is an Alcohol Recovery Coach and the creator of an online course called Total Alcohol Recovery 2.0.

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  • Dr. Rebeca Eriksen

    Dr. Rebeca Eriksen is the Nutritional Consultant for Fit Recovery. She has a PhD in Nutritional Genetics from Imperial College London, and over ten years of clinical experience designing custom nutritional repair regimens for patients recovering from alcohol addiction. In addition to her work at the exclusive Executive Health clinic in Marbella, Spain, she helps to keep Fit Recovery up to date with emerging research.

    View all posts
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The information we provide while responding to comments is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. The responses to comments on are designed to support, not replace, medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition.

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1 year ago

The kombucha recommendation should come with an asterisk, at the very least. A lot of kombucha contains alcohol even before it’s shipped. Far more concerning: Because the fermentation process is still in action when you buy kombucha, even “nonalcoholic” versions can become alcoholic if they’re inadequately refrigerated at any point from factory to home, or if they’re stored for too long before being ingested. (This includes the GT Kombucha pictured.)
Also, kombucha labeled “nonalcoholic” can still legally contain small amounts of alcohol. I’ve witnessed dozens of innocent relapses because of kombucha.

1 year ago

500mg of 5htp?

Tana Peaco
1 year ago
Reply to  Carmelo

Hello, suggested dose of 5-htp is 50-100 mg.

1 year ago
Reply to  Tana Peaco

Yeah but the supplement says it contains 500 mg per scoop

3 years ago

Hello, I stumbled upon l glutamine by chance watching a video of a guest speaker of Ty Bollinger’s (The Truth about Cancer). The speaker mentioned she gave her alcoholic patients l glutamine for craving’s by opening a capsule and putting it under their tongue. I just purchased l glutamine in caplets and powder form but was told by the health store that the caplets should be taken with water and digested through the stomach and that placing it under the tongue would not work, are they wrong? Also can the powder form be taken under the tongue as well? What… Read more »

Wayne Semerad
Wayne Semerad
3 years ago

I started taking L-glutamine about 2 weeks ago to try to repair Leaky gut. I’m also a celiac. I also stopped drinking at the same time because of the intestinal damage it was causing. After about a week I was surprised to notice I did not have the usual cravings for a drink and come to find out it was because of L-glutamine. It really does work and now I believe I have a chance to finally really heal my badly damaged insides. I’ve been supplementing with about 5 grams/day, plus probiotics, Collagen peptides, Zinc, Magnesium, & digestive enzymes.

Sarah Chase
3 years ago

I bought l glutamine, DLPA, and MgCitrate because I found your videos so helpful (6 days sober Yikes)… I don’t know how to take them. Like can I take them at the same time or stagger intake