loving your gut

Should you take L-Glutamine if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance?

L-Glutamine can sometimes be helpful for people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance. But sometimes it can make people worse.

It really did for me. When I was seeking answers, numerous people had me try L-glutamine for leaky gut.

But it always made me really anxious. And have even worse insomnia.

I just felt horrible on it. And some of my practitioners didn’t believe me – they thought I was making this up. They thought – how could a common amino acid make someone worse?

But I wasn’t making it up.

And I’ve seen a number of other people struggle with it.

Why is this?

If you are someone who has struggled with L-glutamine, I want to dive into this

But first, let’s look more at the roles of L-glutamine.

Roles of L-glutamine to know about for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

L-glutamine is one of the most common amino acids in the body.

It has many roles in the body:

  • as a neurotransmitter
  • in neuroplasticity
  • supporting immunity
  • gut lining repair
  • other tissue repair
  • in the production of glutathione

L-glutamine is very abundant in the brain. It causes neurons to fire. And higher levels of it make people intelligent.

L-glutamine may even help reduce mast cell inflammatory cytokines, according to research. Wow!!

So, this all sounds pretty good – right?

Except some people with Mast Cell Activation have excess glutamate.

And this can sometimes mean L-glutamine as a supplement can cause problems.

Let’s look at this next.

Problems causing Excess Glutamate for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

There are many things that can lead to high glutamate, such as genetic variants that can contribute to high glutamate levels.

Also, when people have had brain injuries, it is common to have high glutamate levels.

This is what happened for me. I was kicked in the head by a horse when I was 9 years old.

I developed anxiety and sleep issues then. Of course, I didn’t know anything about glutamate at that time.

These problems continued well into my adult years. I had brain inflammation. And a leaky blood brain barrier.

On top of that, I had leaky gut. And a number of genetic variants associated with high glutamate. This actually led to a perfect storm for high glutamate. And L-glutamine sensitivity.

Have you had any of these challenges with your health?

Let’s look at more of the symptoms associated with high glutamate next.

Symptoms of high glutamate to know for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

High glutamate levels have been associated with:

  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • depression
  • impulsiveness
  • insomnia
  • too much adrenal activity
  • seizures
  • learning disorders
  • ADD
  • Neurological problems
  • Many other symptoms

Do you have any of these?

Too little glutamate means the neurons in the brain don’t fire fast enough. But too much glutamate means those neurons fire too fast.

And they can start to burn out. Like a lightbulb burning out.

L-glutamine doesn’t cause problems for everyone. But for many with Mast Cell Activation, at least, it may cause issues.

There is no One Size Fits All in Supplements for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

This is why it’s so important to pay attention to your body when you take supplements.

There is no One Size Fits All approach that works for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.

This is because there are so many different possible root causes. And so many different types of genetic variants.

Between all the people with Mast Cell Activation I’ve worked with and talked with… I’ve seen that no 2 people with this are alike.

This is why it’s so important to work with a practitioner who really gets this. Or learn as much as you can about how supplements work.

This way you can know more about whether something will work for you or not.

It literally took me decades to figure all this out. And I’m on a mission to help others learn this.

Not everyone can get an appointment with me. And there are too few practitioners right now that really understand how to work with Mast Cell Activation.

This is why I designed this course that I’m very excited about. It’s called the “Top 8 Mast Cell Supporting Supplements Masterclass.”

If you are struggling with how to know which supplements are right for you, you’ll want to check it out.


Chodobski A, Zink BJ, Szmydynger-Chodobska J. Blood-brain barrier pathophysiology in traumatic brain injury. Transl Stroke Res. 2011;2(4):492-516. doi:10.1007/s12975-011-0125-x

Douglas G Burrin, Barbara Stoll, Metabolic fate and function of dietary glutamate in the gut, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 90, Issue 3, September 2009, Pages 850S–856S, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.27462Y

Lechowski S, Feilhauer K, Staib L, Coëffier M, Bischoff SC, Lorentz A. Combined arginine and glutamine decrease release of de novo synthesized leukotrienes and expression of proinflammatory cytokines in activated human intestinal mast cells. Eur J Nutr. 2013;52(2):505-512. doi:10.1007/s00394-012-0353-1

Meldrum BS. Glutamate as a neurotransmitter in the brain: review of physiology and pathology. J Nutr. 2000;130(4S Suppl):1007S-15S. doi:10.1093/jn/130.4.1007S

Rutten EP, Engelen MP, Wouters EF, Schols AM, Deutz NE. Metabolic effects of glutamine and glutamate ingestion in healthy subjects and in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(1):115-123. doi:10.1093/ajcn/83.1.115

Tapiero, H., et al. “II. Glutamine and glutamate.” Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy 56.9 (2002): 446-457

Tohid H. Anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase antibody positive neurological syndromes. Neurosciences (Riyadh). 2016;21(3):215-222. doi:10.17712/nsj.2016.3.20150596


  1. Ana

    Thank you for shedding light on this subject. L-glutamine is an excitatory molecule and for me it is a huge no no. I immediately get high anxiety and even panic attacks. The problem is that it is in so many of the gut healing supplements! Thank you!!

  2. Tina (Christine) Bensley


    I had severe wip lash when I was 19 and a severe concussion which put me in a coma for 4 days. That was back in the 60’s. Nothing was done about either in those days. I only recently discovered that head trama causes or worsens a lot of scary conditions.

    Even in all these talks they have all over the place every day, no one ever says anything about head trauma or cancer causing other problems. I also had a ton of female problems which again in those days were ignored. I didn’t sign up for all the later in life scary stuff that I’ve been blinded sided with. It seems to never end. Evey day a new mountain to climb. Thank goodness there are good people trying to help.

    1. Beth O'Hara

      Hi Tina,
      I’m so sorry to hear you went through these things. I wish you all the best and hope that as new information becomes available, it will help you.

    2. June

      Hi Tina, I’m on the same boat. Had a brain injury and experiencing all types of female problems. I know it may be embarrassing to share what those problems are for you on this public board, but I hope it resolves. Mine is also somehow related to my gut as I discovered but unsure whether glutamine will cause more cognitive symptoms for me.

  3. Venus

    Thank you for your information and your vast free website! I’m on SSDI and tried l-glutamine, I’ve cut back & it’s now helping. I appreciate your free advice & hope to one day take a seminar to learn more

  4. Mick


    I some L-glutamine I was using before (>1 year). I don’t think I got any negative reactions.

    But last week I tried 5g early in the morning and the next day I was feeling kind of forgetful about things I was doing “..what was I doing..why was I doing it…”

    So I tried 10g a few days later and felt even more forgetful and a bit unmotivated. The following day, I felt so much better waking up and during the day – not forgetful and motivate.

    I will try one more time a week later to see the impact – L-Glutamine may not be for me at this stage. I have IGG responses to Gluten containing grains this might be a clue to why not to have it.


    1. Suz, Mast Cell 360 Team

      Hi Annette,
      I’m so glad to hear this!

  5. Mimi S

    I have had a similar experience. What do you suggest instead of L-Glutamine to heal/seal the gut? I react to collagen and gelatine. I also cannot tolerate slippery elm, aloe, marshmallow root & DGL, NAG, quercetin. I am trying to find a way of calming the lining inflammation but everything causes a reaction (I have gastritis). The inflammation of my gut lining causes a lot of brain fog. When I used marshmallow root the brain fog subsided which proved the connection, but then I began to suffer very bad stomach aches (perhaps due to SIBO). Any help / suggestions would be appreciated!

    1. Mimi s

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate your reply! I was also told ketotifen may be useful too. I was tested for mould through OATS test and all came back normal. I’m also looking into glutamate antibodies and further SNPs.
      Thank you for making all this info available. I have spent so much money on experts and so much relies on us knowing our own bodies.

  6. Madeleine

    This is so helpful! I tried L-glutamine for one week and was having TERRIBLE joint pain and throbbing, however it helped my detox side effects. I stopped and within a day the pain subsided. A friend directed me to this link when I was chatting with her about it. I have a mess of gut issues and increased histamine intolerance because of it.

  7. Mohammadrezamaghsoudi

    Hello, I hope you are doing very well, I consumed glutamine for two years, and I have worse insomnia, my ige level is 1600, what should I do to back normal life?

    1. Suz, Mast Cell 360 Team

      This is a complicated question which we can’t really answer without knowing your full case history. As a general starting point, you might want to look into the Master Class: Nervous System Reboot which you can find here:
      This kind of work can help with a lot of different things. You can read more about that in the class description.

      Wishing you all the best — Suz

      1. Mohammadrezamaghsoudi

        Thank you very much for your reply, I have consumed ketotifen and now I’m feeling better , from your point of view how long I will consume it?

  8. Mohammadrezamaghsoudi

    Hello again . All of things happen because of information in our blood. It takes at least 5 months to remove from our body, if we have good diet and maybe aspirin and ketotifen for short time help us

  9. Brittany

    What is the best alternative to L-Glutamine to heal and seal a leaky gut in a sensitive person?

  10. Eflodur

    I have heard somebody saying that his insomnia got better by cutting out l glutamin of his food as much as possible. For example instead of potatoes eating sweet potatoes.
    Have you experiences with such diets and methods?

  11. Angela

    Oh my, this is fascinating information! I especially was interested in the connection to head injuries, of which I had two as a young adult from two car accidents After the second one, I developed difficulty concentrating and problems “feeling awake”- not sleepy but not alert and had a significant and almost a 40 year problem with severe insomnia. I had a predisposition to it even as a young child. The severe insomnia didn’t begin immediately after my accidents, but it’s very possible that other factors like my diet and stress, etc triggered more severe problems as time progressed. The part that has always make me upset is that all my doctors thought I was mentally ill and I do have a history of depression and anxiety but the insomnia was intractable and almost destroyed my life. Now that I’m older I don’t have the same problems but I try to avoid high histamine foods in the afternoon and evening to avoid being awake too much during the nigh. Thanks for this article because it explains A LOT!

    1. Jamie, Mast Cell 360

      Hi Angela! Thank you for sharing some of your story with us. We are always grateful to hear that our resources are helpful. Have a beautiful day. – Jamie

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