How to Beat Sugar Cravings with Glutamine

how to beat your sugar cravings with glutamine

If you’ve been wondering how to beat sugar cravings without relying on will power alone, I am about to make your day. Maybe your week! Or your month! Heck, why not call a spade a spade and say I’ll make your whole year?

At this year’s Wise Traditions conference, I was privileged to sit in on a series of mind-blowing lectures by Dr. Julia Ross. In the course of those lectures, she casually let slip the most stunningly useful bit of information I’d ever heard — how to conquer sugar cravings with a simple, affordable amino acid supplement.

First, I have to say this. In real life, Dr. Julia Ross is one of the most stunning, radiant people I have ever met! I’ve seen dozens of pictures of her, and every single one fails to capture just how vibrant and glowing she is. When I saw her, my first thought was, “WOW. Just WOW. I want what she’s having!” I was sitting many rows back in rather large audience hall, and even from that far away her smile was completely breathtaking.

You guys, whatever she does, it works!

We’re all a little deficient.

So, here’s the deal. According to Dr. Ross, we’re all likely deficient in some neurotransmitter or another. Any number of things can set off a deficiency in us.

Maybe you eat a nutrient-poor diet without enough protein to supply the right balance of amino acids to make adequate amounts of certain neurotransmitters.

Maybe you had a loved one die, and the stress has eaten away at you.

Maybe you lost a job, or have experienced some other huge financial stress.

Perhaps you got pregnant or gave birth. Both are extremely hard on your body.

Maybe you had a period of too little sleep, or an overly critical boss, or experienced some other emotional wound.

Whatever the reason, you over-stressed and exhausted yourself to the point where your body is now severely deficient in one or more neurotransmitters.

According to Dr. Ross, that deficiency is so deep that simply eating a diet of whole, traditionally-prepared foods will not be enough to correct the deficiency in two-thirds of us!

Instead, for those two-thirds of us, we need a little extra help.

We can supplement with the amino acid precursors our bodies need to make the neurotransmitters we’re deficient in and give ourselves a boost!

Supplementation is only temporary!

If you’re eating a fabulously nutrient-rich diet, that extra supplementation will only have to last for a month or two — just long enough to resolve the deficiency.

Once the deficiency is resolved, your diet can supply all you need until you once again fall prey to the life stressors that cause these deficiencies in the first place.

What does this have to do with sugar?

According to Dr. Ross, sugar addiction is one of our worst enemies. Because of it, we eat a diet rich in the refined carbohydrates of industrialization, displacing the nutrient-rich foods that can actually supply us with enough dietary amino acids we need to stave off neurotransmitter deficiencies.

But overcoming that addiction is next to impossible with willpower alone.

That’s because, according to her findings, sugar is 4 times as addictive as cocaine!

Thus, every fibre of our being will be screaming for sugar — even if it’s displacing the very foods we need to eat more of in order to start feeling better.

Some people have strong wills, and they can just plow through their sugar addiction even while their body is suffering intense withdrawal. Eventually (in about a week or so), the cravings become more managable. After a month of avoiding refined sugar, the cravings disappear to almost nothing.

If you’re one of those will power driven people, congratulations! I envy you.

For the rest of us, we need a little help.

So, how do you stop the sugar cravings?

Buy L-Glutamine to Beat Sugar CravingsAccording to Dr. Ross, the amino acid L-glutamine will stop those sugar cravings in their tracks.

She recommends supplementing with 500mg 3-4 times per day — usually during the times when you’ve got the lowest blood sugar.

You guys! L-glutamine is so cheap. I bought 120 500mg capsules of NOW Foods L-Glutamine for just $8.99!

That’s an entire month’s supply — possibly as much as I’ll ever need.

(where to buy L-glutamine)

But does it really work?

YES. Within ten minutes of a dose of L-Glutamine, my sugar cravings disappear. If they don’t, I just take another dose.

It’s that simple, and it works every time!

According to Dr. Ross, my body will have been weaned off sugar within a month, and I won’t need to supplement with L-Glutamine any more.

That’s because it really does only take about that long to beat a sugar addiction to the point that you no longer have cravings. And, if I undergo a particularly stressful time of my life, I can now reach for the L-Glutamine instead of the sugar to help me cope.

Or if I do what many addicts do and completely fall off the wagon, that’s okay. I now know how to beat my sugar cravings back again.

And now you do, too!

But wait! I thought processed free glutamic acids were bad for you.

Yes, processed free glutamic acids like those found in MSG are bad for you. But L-glutamine is not MSG. It is one of the body’s most prevalent amino acids.

Yes, they share a similar name. But don’t let that fool you. One is natural to our bodies, and the other is unnatural. One is L-glutamine, the other free form glutamate ions (at least, that’s what MSG dissolves into once it comes in contact with our saliva).

According to Dr. Ross, even her extremely MSG-sensitive patients have been able to take L-glutamine and not suffer any of their typical MSG-induced side effects.

Psst. How do I found out what neurotransmitters I’m deficient in?

The Diet CureI’m planning on writing more about this in the future, but it may be a few months before I get around to it.

Do you want to know what the most common neurotransmitter deficiencies are?

Do you want to know if you have one or all of them?

Do you want to know how to treat them?

If yes, I highly recommend you go snag a copy of Dr. Julia Ross’s book The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Gain, and Mood Swings–Naturally.

She goes into a lot more depth than I’m planning to in my upcoming posts, and she even offers the surveys and diagnostic tools you’ll need to know which amino acid supplements you need to take (and in which quantities) to correct your deficiencies.

(photo by dongkwan)


    • KristenM says

      No, it won’t raise your blood sugar levels. It’s actually a highly recommended supplement for diabetics because it keeps blood sugar levels from dipping too low.

      And, yes, it’s totally safe to take while pregnant.

    • marie says


      This glutamine supplement really worked for me!

      I also found something that worked even better, I do not think of chocolate or sugar anymore and it only took 3 days — Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate and the Ancient Minerals Magnesium Flakes ($11). Take the Pure orally in divided doses and take the 1.65 bag of magnesium chloride flakes and put it into 64oz of distilled water – and voila, you own a potent magnesium oil. Slather on 1-2 tablespoons transdermally every day (every other day or 1oz foot soak)

      I forgot about sugar after 3 days. Makes eating a lot easier. Now I am craving real salt and iodine :)

      • Fatima says

        Could you please be more specific as to how to take the magnesium and how to use the flakes? Thanks so much!

    • amcken3 says

      Unless you make it yourself hemp milk probably has that HIGHLY inflammatory red seaweed (carrageenan) in it. It has been linked to colon cancer in several studies.

  1. Kathleen says

    I love Julia Ross. I have her book “The Mood Cure”. It has facinating information on neurotransmitters. I can’t wait to read this new book.
    Thank you for your information. I really look forward to more on this topic.

    I too was surprised to find out about most of the neurotransmitters and how inexpensive they are. I have rewired my brain and feel so great now.

    Thanks for your great information! Kathleen

    • KristenM says

      The Diet Cure has a lot of overlap with The Mood Cure, but the emphasis is on your food cravings and how to fix yourself so you’re no longer CRAVING anything.

  2. Charlotte says

    Thank you for this timely post! I’ve been eating very little sugar (and always less refined) for 3 years now, but still crave it so badly all the time. I keep waiting for the whole “cravings go away” bit to kick in! I usually have good willpower around holidays, but this Christmas I really gave in a LOT. Maybe because I’m 5 months pregnant my willpower was lower. I’m going to the co-op tomorrow for some of this!

  3. says

    This is so timely for me. I rarely eat sugar, but pre-Christmas saw my stress levels go through the roof – I was driving around a lot visiting in the heat(I’m in Oz)not drinking enough water, and then staying up late finishing last minute gifts, so not enough sleep, and gave into the temptation to snack on all the sweets cake and chocolates around. My mood rapidly spiralled downward, I was wanting to sleep all day and had no energy for anything. I realised what I’d done to my poor body and have taken steps to remedy this, but even when I’ve not long eaten a good meal, I have the most awful craving and am hungry, so hungry….I’m sure now it’s a sugar craving. I haven’t given in to it, but I’m going to get some L-Glutamine when I go shopping to help me along. Thanks and to Julia Ross as well.

  4. Devona says

    I thought that glutamine is an excitotoxin and detrimental to healing leaky gut? I also believe I read that the best form to get it (and even cheaper) is from whey. Do you know if these two points are accurate?
    Many thanks!

    • KristenM says

      @Devona — I addressed the first point under the heading “But wait! I thought processed free glutamic acids were bad for you.”

      You’re confusing glutamine with glutamate.

      As for where to get glutamine in your diet, you can find it in just about any animal food. It’s in muscle meats, bone broth, dairy, and (yes) whey. It’s also really rich in fermented foods, which is one of the reasons they’re so good at reducing sugar cravings.

      However, according to Dr. Ross, for two-thirds of us these dietary sources are not enough alone to correct a GABA deficiency in us since we can’t eat enough of them in large enough quantities to resolve the deficiency. If you’re one of the 2/3, then that means you would benefit from supplementing with L-Glutamine.

      • Tara says

        L-Glutamine is helping HEAL my leaky gut. I take Glutagenics brand powdered L-glutamine which also has DGL and aloe in it and that is the key thing that is helping me heal from SIBO and leaky gut.

    • Beth says

      I was prescribed glutamine powder (as well as slippery elm) by my naturopath to help heal tissue damage in my esophagus because of dysphagia (trouble swallowing food and it getting stuck in my esophagus).

      From what I understand, l-glutamine helps to repair tissue. Weight lifters use it also as a supplement to help speed their recovery between workouts (I think).

  5. Sarah W says

    Oh this is timely info. I am a brand new type 1 diabetic. While I don’t crave much sugar or carbs there are days when it is bad. Just knowing there is a diabetic friendly source to elevate these craving is just beyond words wonderful. Thanks so much for the links to the supplement and book. Looking toward a really great year as a diabetic. Happy New Year from another renegade.

  6. Amy says

    When I ordered some online recently I got a state of California warning that it contains chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects and reproductive harm. I couldn’t figure out why at the time but now I am actually pregnant. What would that chemical be that they’re referring to? Also, to echo the first questioner–is it safe to take during pregnancy? Thanks!

    • KristenM says

      I have NO IDEA what it was referring to, but it certainly wasn’t the L-Glutamine! Many doctors put cancer patients on L-Glutamine during chemotherapy because it helps the body cope with the added stress.

      And yes, it is perfectly safe to take during pregnancy. This is a regular amino acid you’d get in just about any animal food or fermented food. Taking it in the quantities recommended for a month or two to help you with your sugar cravings will cause zero harm.

        • Kim says

          Could it have something to do with the packaging? I bought a craft tool with a rubbery handle once which had that warning about pregnancy and California. I think California has a law about labeling when certain substances are used. Maybe it has something to do with the plastic bottle and not the pills themselves?

    • Bacchal says

      Regarding cancer, Nora Gedgaudas says in Primal Body, Primal Mind not to supplement with glutamine if one knowingly has cancer because it can feed certain types of tumor growth.

      • KristenM says

        Hm… How interesting! So the reason she says to NOT use it is the same reasons others say TO use it! Namely, L-Glutamine promotes cell growth and tissue repair.

      • amcken3 says

        Bacchal, which type of tumors does she claim l-glutamine enourages growth in? Just cancer or other types of tumors?
        Please reply.

  7. warbaby says

    Being a diabetic I will look into this. I have also found a nice hot cup of peppermint tea and a few drops of liquid stevia does this also. Great place to hang out. Thank You for your hard work.

  8. Melissa says

    Awesome!! I just placed my order. Although we eat well, I also experience intense sugar cravings at times. Question….would this be ok for young children? I imagine, if its ok during pregnancy, then kids can take it but just wanted to get your input first. My 7 year old has a lot of sugar cravings (despite the way we matter-of-factly eat, he’s decided to become very picky & is constantly asking for treats) and I’d love to try to help him get beyond them. Thanks!!

    • KristenM says

      Yes, Melissa, Dr. Ross has given this and other amino acid supplements to kids quite a bit in her medical practice. She’s even mentioned using L-Tryptophan to help calm fussy babies. I’m pretty sure that if there were any medical danger, she wouldn’t do it or recommend it. You know she’d have been sued by now for malpractice if there were even the slightest hint that it weren’t safe or had adverse effects.

      She just recommends that you cut the starting dosage in proportion to their weight, then work up to find the right dose (much the same way that you would for yourself).

      Hope this helps!

  9. says

    Awesome, and timely post! Just wondering, since we’re all into getting our nutrients through whole foods here (you wouldn’t send me to the store to get boxed gelatin when I can eat homemade bone broth instead), whether l-glutamine is an exception because of such widespread deficiency? Is there a specific brand that comes from clean/ethically produced sources that I should look for, or is it all about the same?
    Thanks for this fantastic information, by the way!

    • KristenM says

      The way I understand modern deficiencies, even for those of us eating traditional foods, is this:

      When you look at pre-Industrial diets, they eat a strikingly large amount of calories — anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 per day. Because of our comparatively sedentary lives, most of us can’t eat that many calories.

      That 4K-5K difference in calories also translated into a radical increase in the amounts of nutrients they ate. I’m sure you’ve seen the stats from Dr. Price’s research, indicating that pre-Industrial, successful diets all included AT LEAST 10 times as many fat soluble vitamins as our modern diets.

      That’s partly caused by the vitamin levels of our foods dropping as we’ve abandoned traditional pasture-based animal husbandry and organic growing practices, and it’s also partly caused by nutrient-rich food being displaced by the nutrient-poor refined foods of industrialization.

      But another large part of it is ALSO caused by the fact that we just eat less.

      Well, this doesn’t just affect vitamin levels, it even affects other nutrient levels too, like protein. Fewer proteins in our diet means fewer amino acids since they are the building blocks of protein.

      The simple truth is, they just ATE MORE. And while we may need proportionately fewer calories because of our more sedentary lives, we may not actually need proportionately fewer amino acids, or fewer vitamins to maintain optimal health.

      What I’m getting at is this: In order to get ideal levels of all the amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fats, etc. that we need to be optimally healthy, we’d have to eat A LOT OF FOOD — more than most of us are willing to eat.

      This is why we’re so quick to fall into deficiencies under stress, and why temporarily supplementing can help quickly correct those deficiencies. When it boils down to it, we just don’t have the excess nutrients in our diet to make up for the stresses we encounter.

      In an ideal world, we’d be eating the 4K calorie per day diet of ultra-nutrient-dense food AND leading non-sedentary lives full of lots of repetitive movements and the occasional burst of intense activity. But since many of us can’t strike that balance, we need help.

      As for your other questions, they’re quite good! I haven’t done any research comparing different sources of L-Glutamine. Dr. Ross didn’t give any caveats about buying it, aside from saying that we should stick to reputable, well-known brands.

      • says

        Thanks so much for your in-depth response! I never considered the much larger calorie consumption of traditional people compared to modern times. Makes sense!

    • KristenM says

      Hi Jessica,

      I recommend checking out Dr. Ross’s book,The Diet Cure. She covers quite a lot of the science behind how/why it works in there.

      I’m not prepared to do a search right now for you when I’m confident that she’s done it all before and would be a much better resource than me! Sorry. :(

  10. says

    A little bite of meat or spoonful of yogurt gets rid of mine, although I don’t have them much. I look forward to checking out her book to learn more! I will say however I try to stay away from isolated compounds because they are really drugs. I’d be curious at the ultimate reason why we can’t get what we seem to need naturally. Also spirulina and chlorella, in small amounts, perhaps mixed into almond butter with coconut, will balance blood sugar for many. I wonder too if the supplement can be a short term balancer leading to overall natural balancing through dietary changes .

  11. Amanda says

    And is it safe while nursing? Products typically say check with health care provider, and until I find a new provider my current doctor doesn’t share his opinion on anything other than standard meds :(

  12. says

    So, aside from taking the L-Glutamine, you wait 10 minutes. If that doesn’t work, you wait an additional 10 minutes.

    How do we know that it’s not the waiting that allows the craving to pass and the L-Glutamine is merely getting the credit when occupying yourself for 10-20 minutes is the true hero?

    • KristenM says

      The reason I don’t believe that is because Dr. Ross has spent her entire medical career — decades — working in addiction recovery.

      According to her research, sugar causes a biological addiction response in the body that is four times stronger than cocaine’s. That means that will power alone, or just waiting it out, is not enough for most of us to stop eating sugar.

      My own experience bears this out. My sugar cravings don’t just “go away” if I wait them out. It’s not like a small hunger that just passes because your blood sugar levels temporarily dropped before your body righted itself. Nope, they’re full-fledged and stay unsatisfied for days.

      To top all that off, she has amassed a lot of research on amino acid therapy, and shares quite a bit of it in her book. It all makes perfect sense, particularly because these amino acids are the precursors to the neurotransmitters our brain and gut use to signal all sorts of happy functions in our body.

      Rather than trying to do what SSRI drugs or other mood-altering drugs do to try and “trick” your body into thinking it has more neurotransmitters, she actually suggests feeding your body traditional, nutrient-rich foods so that it can get the amino acids it needs to build the neurotransmitters it lacks. And, if you have a severe deficiency in any particular neurotransmitter, she recommends supplementing with the amino acid temporarily until you’ve resolved the deficiency.

      She has seen this work instantly in thousands of patients — literally. She has watched people who are severely depressed, unsmiling, unable to joke take a small dose of tryptophan and suddenly be able to smile at a joke the practitioner made while waiting with the patient for less than ten minutes.

      So, it makes sense, and I believe her.

      • Michael C says

        I can confirm this from my own experiments. About 8 years ago, during a time when I was going through a stressful career change, I bought a bottle of L-tryptophan in order to try and get my serotonin levels up (L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid precursor to serotonin). Within 30-40 minutes after taking even 50 mg., I always noticed a significant mood change.

        Another story: About 1-2 years ago, I was staying at a friend’s house for a few weeks. I noticed that she was having bouts of irritability. On a few occasions during my stay, I secretly added about 250 mg. of the L-tryptophan powder into her coffee. The result? No more irritability for the rest of the day. In fact, her mood lightened so much that she became giddy and childlike. (I know it was wrong to do that without her knowledge. No lectures, please.)

        I also once read an article written by a psychiatrist who attacked the use of SSRIs while promoting the use of amino acid supplements. He gave the following analogy: Why would you add gasoline treatment additive to your gas tank when your gas tank is empty to begin with? In other words, if your body is low in serotonin, taking an SSRI isn’t going to work nearly as well as simply adding more serotonin. The only reason why you never hear such simple advice given by professionals and researchers is because the big pharmaceutical companies have been using every trick in the book to prevent such common-sense remedies from being used. Why? So that their profits don’t suffer.

      • Ez says

        Thank you, Kristin, for stating it so clearly! here and in your earlier post on eating enormous amounts to get what we need.
        I am currently exploring the advise of Dr. Ross as I read through her Mood Cure and am excited to finally have found a way TO CORRECT the emotional malaise I’ve suffered these past 7 years.

        I can also attest to cravings that last for DAYS. Craving Jack in the Box tacos every drive home during the week until I finally got a chance to down like 10 on the weekend or late at night. Lo and behold – JitB tacos have wheat flour and sugar in their “meat” filing!

  13. Karl says

    I never knew that it stopped sugar cravings. I wonder if it will work for junk food cravings, like salty snacks. That is a problem I have at night.

    I’ve actually been using L-Glutamine for several years for a different purpose. After a long day surfing, I would get really sore stiff muscles, especially in the neck area, leading to headaches. If I take L-Glutamine right after surfing, no more soreness. For those of you who have muscle soreness after strenuous activity, you might give it a try.

    • KristenM says

      Yes, L-Glutamine is excellent for rebuilding tissue.

      If you want to find out more about precisely what’s causing your cravings, I highly recommend reading her book The Diet Cure. In it, she addresses all kinds of food cravings and what they mean!

  14. says

    That’s amazing! In her book, does she talk about cravings that women get around the time of their menstrual cycle? I’d be really interested to read the science behind those!!

    • KristenM says

      I don’t remember, but I *do* remember that she mentioned a few things about this in her lectures. So, there’s probably something about it in the books that I just glazed over since I wasn’t reading for that.

    • says

      I ordered the book after reading this post and “hormone help” is one of the main issues she addresses in the book. I’m currently taking the supplements she suggested for this issue and it was amazing to have no PMS/food cravings the week before my period. Absolutely amazing. I’m continuing on the supplements for another two months and then hope to transition off of them, per the book’s suggestions. If my success continues and can be sustained, this will be revolutionary to my life long struggle with sugar cravings. I am very excited and hopeful.

  15. Rebecca says

    Is this supplement okay for those who are sensitive to gluten? It sounds like it is, but I just wanted to make sure with the name! Thanks for all of the info you bring us, Kristen!

    • KristenM says

      Yes, it is safe for those sensitive to gluten. It is nothing at all like gluten. It’s an amino acid that you’ll find in animal foods, particularly muscle meat, bone broths, and fermented foods.

  16. BunnyGal says

    You mentioned that if your sugar cravings dont go away with a dose you simply “take another”. How much is too much?

    If 2 doesn’t do it, can I take 3, 4, etc until my cravings are gone?

    Is there a toxic level of this and if so, what are the symptoms associated with it.

    • KristenM says

      3-4 still won’t hurt you.

      I don’t recall ever thinking about toxic levels because I never needed more than a couple of pills a couple times a day.

      I suggest you read Dr. Ross’s book The Diet Cure to find the answers you’re looking for!

      • BunnyGal says

        I originally asked:
        “You mentioned that if your sugar cravings dont go away with a dose you simply “take another”. How much is too much?
        If 2 doesn’t do it, can I take 3, 4, etc until my cravings are gone?
        Is there a toxic level of this and if so, what are the symptoms associated with it.
        Kristen’s reply was:
        3-4 still won’t hurt you.
        I don’t recall ever thinking about toxic levels because I never needed more than a couple of pills a couple times a day.
        I suggest you read Dr. Ross’s book The Diet Cure to find the answers you’re looking for!

        My follow up: Well, I’ve worked my way up to 7 pills and it hasn’t even put a dent in my cravings. I’ve read the book and all it did was to explain in a more detailed way what I already knew, but I didn’t find any solution that I haven’t already tried.

        I’m guessing that if 7 hasn’t gone it, 8 or 9 wont either – meaning – I don’t think this is going to be the solution for my sugar cravings which are all day, every day, non-stop. I’m at my wits end and really need to find something to help. Willpower alone is not nearly enough to battle the intense non-stop cravings I get.

        • Sandy says

          That’s because it doesn’t work with some people. It’s great that many here have had success with l-glutamine in getting rid of their sugar cravings, but it doesn’t work for everyone. People draw on their experiences so if it worked for them they believe it will work for everyone. It’s just not true. I had been taking l-glutamine for months and I never noticed it did anything for my sugar cravings. It took pure willpower for me to stay away from sugar.

          • Lisa says


            THANK YOU! I knew I wasn’t alone! I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong or why I was ‘different’. I felt like a total failure after this supplement that helped “everyone” with cravings, didn’t do a thing for me. When I asked, the answer was ‘increase the dose until it works’ – heck, I worked my way up to over 20 pills a day without results and i was getting nauseaus from that many. Not to mention that if it took that amount to control my cravings, there’s no way I could have afforded to buy enough to do the trick.

            Like you said – because it worked for ‘some’, it’s promoted to work for all and for certain that’s not true.

            For those that may be reading this info for the first time – this does NOT work for everyone and the suggestion of ‘increase your dose until it works’ is BAD advice. It is not a benign product; at high levels there can be consequences. In my opinion, the advice of take as much as you need until it works is careless and potentially harmful information. A/K/A – practicing medicine without a license.

            If this product works for you with a REASONABLE amount, that’s awesome, but if not, then move on to another option. Taking more is NOT the answer and taking more can lead to problems.

            • Layla says

              I have read time and time again it is impossible to “overdose” or have any detrimental effects from l-glutamine. For goodness sakes, you can over dose on water and die if you drink enough. Everything in moderation, peeps!

  17. Patty says

    I have been using L-Glutamine for over a couple of months after reading the book Spent, and yes it takes my sugar cravings away and also somewhat diminishes my appetite which is very appealing to me. Great information as I am of many that want to kick this horrible habit of sugar!!
    Happy New Year everyone

    • KristenM says

      Naturally-fermented vegetables. It’s technically still animal life, but in this case it’s just beneficial, probiotic bacteria!

      • says

        Bacteria aren’t animals — they belong to a whole different kingdom. Vegans will eat bacteria (and if they tried to avoid all bacteria, they’d probably starve to death).

  18. Lel says

    Wow! This might sound a little off the wall and too good to be true and I can hardly believe it myself but I noticed something right away yesterday after taking the L-Glutamine.

    I have a pretty healthy diet and try to do all the right things to keep my body healthy – especially concentrating in the gut health area.

    This might be coincidental but I went and purchased L-Glutamine from Douglas Lab yesterday after I read your article and starting taking the capsules right after lunch. Only after 2 capsules yesterday, I felt my entire cravings (not only sugar) but for food really diminish. Normally, after dinner, I usually want something a little sweet but last night, I was not hungry at all and passed up my delicious cheesecake I made for New Years.

    This morning after eating breakfast and taking a capsule, I was not hungry at my usual lunch time. This seems a little strange to me. I don’t really need to lose any weight and don’t necessarily want to curve my appetite but if it curves my sweet tooth, I’m happy with it.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    • KristenM says

      It can cub appetite as well since it helps regulate your blood sugar levels.

      If you don’t like that, you can always try decreasing your dosage. Dr. Ross says some people (a really small percentage) are SO responsive to amino acid therapy that they just need a pinky-licks worth of the stuff to see a result. There’s nothing wrong with taking half a capsule, or buying capsules that have a smaller dosage.

      • lisa says

        Could it possibly make ANY sense at all that since I started taking L-Glutamine, my sugar cravings have increased?? I can’t contribute it to anything else that I can think of being that this is the only thing that’s different.

  19. says

    hi kristen,
    thank you so much for taking the time to a) share this info with us and b) really participate in a dialogue with everyone who is asking questions. you’re going above and beyond what i’ve seen most bloggers do when it comes to posting and follow-up.

    have you read any gary taubes? i’d be interested to hear your thoughts on his work. specifically because you mention the difference in our caloric intake from times past to now. my understanding based on taubes’ extensive research survey, is that calories/sedentary lives are not behind what our current problems are with sugar cravings and addiction. i will read dr. ross’s book for sure. i’m curious to see her research.

    i’d love to hear from you about this!

    i’m a huge fan and fellow renegade.

    ~ariyele ressler

    • KristenM says

      @Ariyele — Well, I love conversation! That’s almost the whole point of blogging to me. My ONLY pet peeve is that all the BEST conversations happen on Facebook and there is no consistently good way to merge the two here. :)

      And yes, I’ve read Taubes. I agree with his premise that it’s not as simple as “calories in = calories out.”

      But my point above wasn’t trying to talk about sugar addiction, but trying to describe WHY those of us who eat whole, traditional foods can still have nutrient deficiencies.

      Many of us in the real/traditional food community are anti-supplements, instead believing that all our nutritional needs can be had in our diet. While that’s *mostly* true, there are exceptions.

      My hope was to explain why those exceptions are there — mostly just that even if we eat the most nutrient-dense foods possible, we still don’t eat ENOUGH to prevent deficiencies from forming when we’re under stress.

      (Some of us may, but most of us don’t. I mean, how many people do you know who eat a 4K-6K calorie per day diet of entirely real food?)

  20. Sayre franke says

    I am overjoyed to read this! I have been committed to real foods mentally for several years, and have been weak in my willpower and self control to practice what I preach. I would love love love to stop eating so many baked goods and sweets. Off to earth fare tomorrow!

    And I also think it is fantastic you are patiently replying to all the questions :) not everyone does that. It is appreciated!

  21. says

    It’s also very helpful for gut healing.

    Another beneficial use of L-glutamine is for dogs with joint and neurological problems. It’s made a noticeable improvement in mobility for my geriatric dog who’s dealing with both issues.

    • Lel says

      Do you think it would work and safe for cats? I have a 19 year old Siamese who has bad arthritis and I’ve been giving him a capsule of Glucosamine every day with his food.

      How big is your dog and how much do you give him?

      • says

        Hi Lel, from what I’ve read it’s perfectly safe for cats, dogs, and humans. Re: the glucosamine – you might want to consider pharmaceutical grade glucosamine and chondroitin. Our holistic vet recommended it because it’s better absorbed. I get it in powder form from and mix it in our dog’s food.

        It’s been several years since I’ve had cats, but if I had an arthritic cat I’d definitely try it. Our dog is big – 80 lbs., and has been taking 500 mg. a day (powder) but as soon as I get my new order of it I’m going to up the dose to 500 mg. 2x a day to see if that will help his neuro. problems even more. I would recommend either consulting with a holistic vet on dosage for your kitty, or do some research with reliable online sources. If you have a holistic vet near you, consider consulting with one. They have more options you can consider to help your kitty. We drive an hour each way to ours and it’s worth it.

        It’s possible even a conventional vet would know about the benefits of L-glutamine, but don’t discount it in case your vet doesn’t.

    • Krisha says

      I’m so glad you mentioned dogs! I was reading all the comments and couldn’t help but wonder if it would help my little schnauzer with terrible lower back and leg issues. She takes a bunch of glucosamine and condrointen. Can she just swallow a portion of a pill? Does it need to be “special” for dogs? Thanks so much!

    • KristenM says

      Because that won’t work for most people. According to Dr. Ross, 70% of us can’t heal the neurotransmitter deficiency with just real food alone.

      Please see my above comments for more on this!

  22. Liz says

    “She recommends supplementing with 500mg 3-4 times per day — usually during the times when you’ve got the lowest blood sugar.”

    Should this be taken on an empty stomach? Or at certain times of the day?

    • KristenM says

      YES! Amino acids are absorbed better on empty stomachs since they don’t have to compete with your food.

      Time of day depends entirely on your symptoms and when your typical low blood sugar crash and cravings hit.

  23. Stacey says

    Very interesting! Doesn’t coconut sugar have L-glutamine in it? Is that all the more reason to use it as a healthy sugar substitute?

  24. Ally says

    Thank you! I think you literally saved my life posting this. Thursday, after I read this, I found her books. I have celiac and a degenerative arthritis that’s made my life a living hell. I’ve been trying to lose 10 pounds or so, hoping that would help my SI joints, but I know I have issues with sugar and need help getting off it, so I was thrilled to read your article. According to her questionnaire, I had the symptoms of serotonin deficiency. I’ve tried so many things and am currently on a TNF injection, so I figured I had nothing to lose buying a supplement. This morning I woke up pain free. Pain Free! I have not had a day without miserable pain in nearly five years. Thank you so much.

    • KristenM says

      You’re welcome!

      I really feel like her book should have the word “MIRACLE” in the title, but I also understand that from a marketing perspective it’s a bit cheesy!

  25. Dawn says

    I love the site and frequent it. This is a useful post as I suffer from sugar cravings often. Sometimes I succumb and then have a painful few hours afterwards. Anyway, I wanted to point out that Julia Ross is not actually a medical doctor (MD, DO), nor does she have a PhD. Those are the only instances where the title Dr. is appropriate to use.

    Thanks for the important information!

      • Heidi says

        I don’t want to seem like I am nitpicking, but it’s actually not accurate to call her a doctor.

        Her bio on the website for The Recovery Systems Clinic lists her as: “JULIA ROSS, M.A., M.F.T.”
        —“M.A.” indicates her educational credentials, (that she has Master of Arts degree; not a doctoral level degree).
        —“M.F.T.” stands for Marriage and Family Therapist, which is a license issued by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. MFT’s are often referred to as being either Therapists or Psychotherapists.

        In contrast, “Psychologist” is the term that indicates a doctoral level of education (either a Ph.D. or Psy.D.) and licensure in psychology .

        (I recently earned my M.A., and I am currently working toward my M.F.T. license, so I’m certainly of the opinion that one need NOT be a doctor in order to be a knowledgeable and competent mental health professional… Just trying to promote accuracy and understanding in regard to the complicated world of titles and abbreviations related to mental health professions).

        • Christine says


          May I ask where you are getting your information from regarding the title of psychologist being reserved for health professionals that have a doctoral degree only. In my experience working with many health professionals, the distinction is that psychologists merely concerns the field of study and that the professional dies not have an medical degree in that area.

          Psycologists that have doctoral degrees simply add the title of doctor to their title. Even within the education system, school psychologists often have master’s degrees. The ‘psychologist’ designation is still used at the master’s level.

          Usually in the yellow page directory, psychtherapists and psychologist are listed together, but only by looking at each professional’s credentials (the alphabet by their name) can you tell I’d s/he is a Dr. or not.

          Not meaning to be nick-picky, but as my sister just graduated with her madter’s in psychology & being a speech language pathologist who has worked with numerous psychologists & psychiatrists, I like to be sure that people have accurate information so they can be informed healthcare participants. I would not like to see people expecting doctoral level expertise for every psychologist – they also may not be charged doctoral prices.

          Every level of provider fills some healthcare needs. Not everyone needs that doctoral level if expertise.

          I just wanted to clear up the information regarded about the ‘psychologist’ title at least, as it is in the United States.

      • Guest says

        No, that is flat out wrong. My mom has been a psychotherapist for 35 years, but because she does not have a doctorate, just a master’s, she is not called “doctor.” She refers to her clients as “clients”, not patients.

        The commenter above is correct. Only MDs and PhDs can be correctly called “Dr.”

  26. says

    after getting a green light from my acupuncturist on this one, i’ve been using them and WOW, i really notice a difference. he actually said that even though i was interested in them for the sugar craving curbage, he thought they’d be great for me to help with some of the digestive stuff i’ve had going on (in spite of a healthy, traditional foods diet). sharing this is HUGE. thank you!

  27. Shannon says

    Just to let you know, I ‘ve been on l-glutamine for a week and have lost 5 lbs!!! I feel so great!!! I have PCOS, and this has really helped with my sugar cravings at night. I’ve never lost this much weight in a MONTH, let alone a week. I’m a believer!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for telling us about this!

      • Christine says

        Geraldine, if you hadn’t looked it up, just for the sake of anyone else that may come across this post and comments PCOS is poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. There are a number if features, like insulin resistance, excessive hair growth, infertility, abnormal menstral cycles and dark patches in the inner thighs are some of the features. Some see it as a pre- diabetic condition. Oh, and yes, vaginal ultrasounds show little tiny cysts inside the ovaries.

        I have both poly-cystic ovarian syndrome and type 2 diabetes. I’m hoping that l-gultamine will help squash my sugar cravings. I have too much stress in every area of my life, I’m sure I need the book and many of my neurotransmitter systems need support.

        I hope that helps, at least someone.

  28. says

    Not sure if this was already asked or not, but I’ve got a BIG sweet tooth, but I’m also a nursing mother. Should L glutamine be avoided by breastfeeding mothers? Thanks!

  29. Ramy says

    Her books are wonderful. Very easy to read and down to earth. I love her approach to “how long do I need to use these supplements?” To paraphrase, she says take them until you realize you have forgotten to take them and can no longer tell the difference. So, once you no longer feel the benefits (or don’t miss the effects when you forget to take them) you no longer need them. How much more down to earth can it get? Then you just need to maintain healthy eating habits to keep your neurotransmitter levels normal.
    And, she has the supplements available for sale on her website, but she tells you where to find them for yourself, she is not pushing “her” brand.
    The Mood Cure focuses on depression and how to determine which supplements will help with different types of depression. I’ve used her books for both depression and blood sugar regulation. There is a great deal of over-lap, which makes lots of sense.

  30. Joy says

    Thank you. I bought this book and have just read through it. I am very interested in your reaction to this book, as some things are bothering me. Perhaps you can shed more light on this in your blog as your cover the points in her book.
    1. She recommends a LOT of supplements – like 5-6 times a day. Seems a bit unnatural to me.
    2. She recommended Bragg’s Amino Acids so I bought some. Imagine my shock when I got it home and saw that it is a soy product! Yet she tells us to avoid soy.
    3. She says nothing about fermented foods. I make and regularly use raw dairy kefir, kombucha, and fermented vegetables. Surely that should have a big place in our diets.
    4. She uses canned foods – even recommending a can of tuna when traveling. Yet, elsewhere she talks about tuna being a fish more prone to mercury. And eating out of a can????

    I am still torn on whether to start the supplements she recommends – I have no special problems, and hate the thought of taking pills all day. Most supplements are synthetic — ???

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. It was your blog that started me on real foods – starting with Nourishing Traditions. I am now using my pressure cooker again, thanks to you. It is good food!

  31. Ozlem says

    I found your article when I was googling about sugar cravings. Great info. Thank you so much. I have a question about taking l-glutamine. my cravings hit me around 3:30-4pm. However, Julia Ross recommends 3-4 times 500mg a day. How will I space 4 500mg doses when cravings hit only in the afternoon? The number is given as the max number of times the supplement can be taken if first dose does not work or should I space the doses adn take them even though I do not feel any craving at the moment?

    Thank you.

  32. says

    Thanks so much for posting this! I just ordered Dr. Ross’ book from the library. I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth, but this past year has been especially bad – lots of physical and emotional upheaval in my life – and I find myself gorging on sweets (downing four cookies instead of just one, for example) and then feeling sick and gross afterward. I don’t keep these things in the house, but if someone brings treats into work, for example, I can’t help myself. I’m definitely going to try this and see if I can’t help myself get back on track!

  33. Lisa says

    I just read The Diet Cure and am so excited! I struggle with sugar and alcohol cravings (I need to have one or the other after dinner or else!) and this gives me hope. I’m wondering if you think it’s safe for an 8 year old to take l-glutamine? Dr. Ross mentions lowering the doses for children but doesn’t give specifics. My 8 year old craves sugar all the time (I have 2 other kids and they don’t crave it the way he does) and I’m hoping it might help.

  34. Chantel says

    I’m going to buy this and see if it works for me, I have zero willpower when it comes to sugar cravings, thanks for the info.

  35. says

    I was watching a juice guy talk about this and in that I research and found this article…. what I noticed is that for years I will have sugar bursts…then I feed for a month and done… but this year I had gotten emotional and I thought well I am 38 and my older sister went coo coo at this age so I must be there too then one morning I woke up with this dreaded sadness that I was clueless as to why … I grabbed a a hershey kiss and just like that the sadness went away… now I can’t get that sugar craving away….Bought this supplement yesterday and have had no cravings… glad to know that in a month this could be answer… because I just never thought how much sugar can be for me..aye.. thank you for this article…

  36. Zosia says

    What if it’s not SUGAR you are addicted to, but the sweet taste? (I only use stevia…no other sweetener)

    I’m obsessed.

  37. says

    Thanks for this great info Kristen! I’m going to share on FB with my readers.

    I’m trying to do more and more for gut healing and a friend recommended L-Glutamine the other day, so I’m glad you had an article that explains more about it.

    The comments were helpful, too. I noticed someone asked about Bragg’s Aminos and I’ve had the same question for years. I avoid soy and I never considered using Braggs until more recently everyone seems to be saying it’s okay. I now have a bottle in the fridge, but I’ve only used it twice as I’m still not convinced it’s healthy. Do you have any info in this regard?

  38. Ann says

    Just an FYI, Julia Ross is not a “Dr.” of anything. According to her website, she has a Master’s degree in psychology.

  39. Elaine says

    It has been mentioned a couple of times about the dosage of glutamine for kids and no specific dosages have come back. Can you please give a precise dosage for kids 2 to 9 & 10 to 15. I have grandkids within theze ages and they have real bad sugar cravings. Please help!!!!.

  40. Vacash says

    One of the most interesting books I have ever read. The author is very intelligent and the material is researched and proven. It helped me and my family with a lot of difficulties. I don’t regret spending that money. Thank’s

  41. Grace Martin via Facebook says

    raisins. lots and lots of raisins. took me about 2 weeks. then i didn’t even want the raisins anymore, but couldn’t have done it without them.

  42. Christine says

    Thank you so much for this article. The second book in my personal research & self help library is called the “Secrets of Serotonin,” so looking into treating deficits in neurotransmitters is a well traveled, holistic road for. Thanks for getting me back on the straight & narrow.

  43. Guest says

    I was a personal client of Julia Ross at her Marin, CA office for several months, for panic attack & anxiety treatment. She also wrote “The Mood Cure.” She prescribed another amino acid for that called L-Tryptophan, which really does stop panic attacks in their tracks, even severe ones. So for that I’m forever grateful to her. The rest of my experiences w/her practice were mixed – especially her staff nutritionist.

    I will try L-Glutamine for my current massive sugar cravings, since my diet has gotten way off track. Thanks!

    FYI, calling her “Dr. Ross” is an error, she’s not a doctor. She has an Master of Arts.

  44. Joe says

    Why are you referring to Ms. Ross as a doctor? That’s very misleading. I looked her up – she only has a MA in Clinical Psychology. No degree or advanced degree in nutrition whatsoever, no doctorate either.

  45. says

    I take glutamine whenever I start a diet or detox or whenever cutting sugar. Like you say in the article: it is only temporary. I usually take it for about a month along with a diet rich in protein, fat and veggies. Kills the sugar addiction in a matter of weeks. Really effective but won’t work if your diet is poor.

    Great article

  46. Donna says

    Alex, what do you mean it won’t work “if your diet is poor”? What person with a massive sugar addiction has a “good” diet?
    I really need some help with my sugar cravings and want to try L-Glutamine. But what do you mean by “poor diet”?

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