What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is an amino acid naturally found in the body and is one of 3 main ingredients in Glutathione (GSH) tripeptide molecule. Its purpose is to fight the side effects of many medical treatments. Cancer, for example, is a disease with many complications especially when the patient undergoes chemotherapy. Such complications may be diarrhea, swelling of the mouth, as well as many pains in the different muscles and joints of the body. It is used to counter these complications and minimize, if not prevent them altogether. The same amino acid is also used to protect the immune and digestive systems of patients who undergo radiochemotherapy. Such treatment is performed on people with certain cancers such as cancer of the esophagus. Also, the same amino acid is also used in improving the healing process of patients who underwent bowel surgery and bone marrow transplant, as well as increase recovery of people who had traumatic injuries, and help critically ill people avoid further infections.

Among the body’s amino acids, glutamine is the most abundant. This amino acid is produced in the muscles and distributed to the organs that need it, through the blood. It is also necessary to fuel the different cells of the body, and is needed to create other amino acids in the body as well as sugar. Glutamine has possible effects in treating problems in the intestines of HIV patients. By taking it orally, it helps patients absorb the nutrients of the food better and therefore let them gain weight. The best effects are said to have been produced by taking 40 grams each day. However, although it is effective to treat certain intestinal disorders of HIV patients, the amino acid may not be as effective if the intestinal problem is due to Crohn’s disease. There is also no evidence that show that this amino acid can improve the performance of people doing exercise, as well as rehydrate infants with cases of diarrhea.

Is Glutamine Safe?

Glutamine is safe for most adults and children as long as adults don’t take more than 40 grams a day, and children between the ages 3 and 18 don’t exceed .65 grams per kilogram of their weight each day. Although there are not much known effects for higher doses, it is highly recommended not to risk it. Pregnant and lactating women are advised not to take supplements with it to avoid possible side effects even if there is no evidence of it as of today. People with very serious liver disease cases should also avoid taking supplements with it as it may make their condition worse. And since the body changes this amino acid into glutamate, people sensitive or allergic to MSG (monosodium glutamate) might also have the same allergy to this.