Dr. Kumar Pati, USA


L-Glutamine is an amino acid found in proteins of all life forms.  It is classified as a semi-essential or conditionally essential amino acid.  Recently, L-Glutamine has come to be regarded as one of the most important amino acids when the body is subject to metabolic stresses including situations such as trauma, cancer, sepsis and burns.


L-Glutamine is predominately synthesized and stored in skeletal muscle.  The amino acid L-Glutamate is metabolized to L-Glutamine in a reaction catalyzed by the enzyme glutamine synthase.  Several types of immune cells rely on glutamine for energy.  Our immune system would be impaired in the absence of this amino acid.  It plays a major role in protein synthesis thus important for muscle development and repair.  Additionally, glutamine is involved in the removal of ammonia and aids in digestion.  Lastly, it has been used as an alternative source of energy to the brain, particularly in cognitively stressful times.


Some workout training methods involve shocking our metabolic system to lose weight and build muscle.  This type of training will deplete the body’s glutamine levels.  It is especially true with bodybuilders and marathon runners who push to the extremes.  In these situations, it is important to supplement with glutamine to maintain proper immune functions and allow our muscles to heal and grow.


It is interesting to note that glutamine has been found to help with the healing of stomach ulcers and prevent inflammation of the stomach for those extensively using non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen.  Research has found that supplementation with glutamine suppresses the appetite in animals.  Large scale studies are currently being conducted on humans to determine the effects of glutamine against treating obesity.


The typical dietary intake of L-glutamine is 5 to10 gramsdaily.  It can be found in animal and plant proteins, while small amounts of free L-glutamine exist in vegetable juices and fermented foods, such as miso and yogurt.  The highest sources of L-glutamine include beef, fish, chicken, eggs, milk, dairy products and beans.  L-glutamine is available as capsules, tablets and powder form.  It is also available in medical foods for oral and enteral nutrition, and also available in a dipeptide form for parenteral nutrition use.  Typical doses for patients diagnosed with cancer and AIDS,, suffering trauma, burns, infections and other stress-related conditions ranges from 4 to21 gramsper day.  Administration of L-glutamine under those conditions should be supervised under medical care.


Generally 500 to 1500 mg is considered very safe and insignificant side effects will be exhibited.  However, the most common being upset stomach which as been experienced by some.  Higher doses are not recommended.  Consultation with a physician must be considered when supplementing L-glutamine concurrent with medication.




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