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L-Glutamine is an α-amino acid that is found naturally in the body and is used in the biosynthesis of proteins.

Some facts about L-Glutamine:


  • L-Glutamine is available either as capsules or in packets in the form of powder.
  • Glutamine can be taken orally to improve nutrition and help people recover from surgery, injuries, burns, bone marrow transplant, for sickle cell disease, complications of HIV/AIDS, radiation, and cancer chemotherapy, and for many other uses.
  • Glutamine can also be given intravenously for improving recovery after surgery and other conditions.
  • Glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid in human blood.
  • Protein-rich foods such as beef, chicken, fish, dairy products, eggs, and vegetables like beans, beets, cabbage, spinach, carrots, parsley, vegetable juices are the dietary sources of glutamine.
  • Wheat, papaya, Brussels sprouts, celery, kale and fermented foods like miso also contain glutamine.
  • Human body can usually synthesize sufficient amounts of Glutamine when obtained from the diet. However, the body's demand for glutamine increases in some cases.
  • Mutants of Brevibacterium flavum, which gives ca. 40 g/L in 2 days using glucose as a carbon source is used to industrially produce Glutamine.
  • The enzyme glutamine synthetase from glutamate and ammonia help synthesize Glutamine.
  • Muscle mass is the most relevant glutamine producing tissue that accounts for about 90 percent of all glutamine synthesized.
  • The lungs and brain also release some amount of glutamine.
  • The role of liver in glutamine metabolism is more regulatory than producing, as the liver takes up large amounts of glutamine derived from the gut. It is also capable of relevant glutamine synthesis.
  • The cells of intestines, activated immune cells and many cancer cells are the most eager consumers of glutamine. It is used by the kidney cells for the acid-base balance.
  • Glutamine is required to make amino acids and glucose in human body.
  • Gut function, the immune system, and other essential processes in the body can be improved by glutamine, especially in times of stress.
  • Nitrogen is necessary to repair the wounds and keep the vital organs functioning after surgery or traumatic injury which mostly comes from glutamine.

Uses of L-Glutamine:


  • Glutamine can be obtained through catabolism of proteins in foods consumed by human.
  • It is a nonessential amino acid in the human body which becomes conditionally essential in conditions where tissue is being built or repaired, like growth of babies, or healing from wounds or severe illness
  • Muscle wasting can occur if the body uses more glutamine than the muscles can make. This can occur in people with chronic disease like HIV/AIDS which can be overcome by taking glutamine supplements.
  • Chemotherapy related damage can be prevented by maintaining the life of the affected tissues with glutamine treatment for reduced level of glutamine in the body because of chemotherapy.
  • Glutamine is an FDA-approved prescription drug for treating sickle cell disease. It can be taken twice daily orally to reduces sudden complications of sickle cell disease.
  • Glutamine can be administered through a feeding tube to reduce the risk of developing severe infections and might reduce the chance of death in people with severe burns.
  • It can be given intravenously to decrease the risk of some infections in people with severe burns. However, it will not decrease the risk of death.
  • Glutamine can help prevent bacteria from moving out of the intestine and infecting other parts of the body after major injuries in critical illness. The risk of hospital acquired infections in people who are critically ill can also be reduced by the use of Glutamine, It works better when given intravenously rather than by a feeding tube.
  • Glutamine can help absorb food better and gain weight in HIV/AIDS patients when taken orally. Glutamine doses of 40 grams per day can be given for best result.
  • Glutamine can be given intravenously along with intravenous nutrition to help recovery after surgery. The number of days spent in the hospital after surgery, especially major abdominal surgery can be reduced.
  • The symptoms of Crohn disease which is a type of inflammatory bowel disease can be improved by taking glutamine by mouth.
  • Glutamine may be helpful in preventing  diarrhea after chemotherapy.
  • Damage to the immune system caused by chemotherapy can be reduced by Glutamine.
  • The risk of infection can be reduced and recovery can be improved after stem cell transplants by giving glutamine by IV along with intravenous nutrition. However, the survival and time spent at the hospital can not be improved.
  • Symptoms of IBS including stomach pain and the number of bowel movements per day can be reduced.
  • Taking glutamine for 2 to 4 weeks might help reduce waist size in people who are overweight or obese.
  • Taking glutamine orally can help reduce soreness and swelling inside the mouth caused by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
  • The symptoms of pancreatitis can be improved by giving glutamine, either orally or intravenously.
  • The severity of skin damage can be reduced taking glutamine starting one week before and continuing one week after radiation for breast cancer.

Side Effects and Precautions of L-Glutamine:

  • Glutamine is safe for most adults when taken by mouth in doses up to 40 grams daily with mild side effects that may include bloating, nausea, dizziness, heartburn, and stomach pain.
  • Glutamine is safe for most adults when given by IV in doses up to 600 mg/kg of body weight daily.
  • Avoid using Glutamine in Pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • People with advanced liver disease or hepatic encephalopathy are not advisable to take glutamine as it can increase the risk for reduced brain function.
  • The risk for mania or hypomania in people with Bipolar disorder can also increse with the intake of glutamine.
  • You will be sensitive to glutamine if you are sensitive to Monosodium glutamate (MSG) as the body converts glutamine to glutamate.
  • Avoid using Glutamine if you have Seizures.

Interactions of L-Glutamine:


  • Taking glutamine along with lactulose might decrease the effectiveness of lactulose as Lactulose helps decrease ammonia in the body and Glutamine is changed into ammonia in the body.
  • The effectiveness of some medications for cancer can be decreased by glutamine.
  • The effectiveness of medications used to prevent seizures can be decresed by glutamine as both are used to affect chemicals in the brain.

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