Glutamine delivers nitrogen and carbon to cells and organs via the bloodstream. Glutamine is also necessary to produce glucose and several other amino acids.
Generally, glutamine supplementation is unnecessary since the body usually produces sufficient amounts. Additionally, many common foods contain glutamine. These include meat, milk products, spinach, parsley, and cabbage.
Although glutamine occurs naturally, commercially sold glutamine is usually created through a bacterial fermentation process.
Glutamine positively affects digestive system health. This occurs because digestive cells prefer it above glucose as an energy source. In this way, glutamine benefits most digestive system components. These parts include the esophagus, intestine, stomach, or colon.
People with HIV sometimes take glutamine to prevent weight loss. In this case, glutamine likely improves nutritional absorption.
Glutamine is strongly linked to reducing the side effects of many major medical treatments. Following surgery, burns, or other physical stresses, glutamine stores decrease because of increased cortisol levels. Either oral or tube-fed glutamine restores natural glutamine levels and reduces the infection occurrence.
People undergoing chemotherapy treatments often use glutamine to overcome the following effects:
- Mouth inflammation
- Nerve pain
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
As an amino acid, glutamine participates in protein synthesis. However, current research shows limited effectiveness for increasing muscle and improving athletic performance.
Scientific evidence suggests endurance-training athletes have reduced glutamine levels. Supplemental glutamine reduces their chances of infection after endurance events.
Oral glutamine is proven to increase growth hormone levels. Growth hormone is often considered an important factor in building muscle.
A unique study linked glutamine to improved athletic performance. Men who ran for two hours produced significantly less ammonia after taking glutamine.
Usually glutamine causes no serious side effects. Glutamine’s safety occurs because it is already abundant in the body and common food sources.
Scientists are still investigating theories that glutamine induces tumor growth. Similarly, glutamine likely decreases the absorption of chemotherapy medications. Consequently, people with cancer should not use glutamine without consulting their physician.
Because of potential adverse reactions, people with the following conditions should not take glutamine:
For adults, the highest recommended daily dose of glutamine is 14 grams. Because the body produces glutamine on its own, typically doses between 500 and 1500 mg are sufficient for most people. However, it may require as many as 5 grams to create noticeable benefits.
In patients hoping to reduce weight loss due to HIV, 40 grams of glutamine per day is a common dosage.