Glutamine Supplementation

Glutamine Supplementation: It may benefit patients with  Critical Illness


What is glutamine?

Glutamine is an amino acid which is naturally found in the body. It is the most abundant amino acid found in the body, which renders it all the more important. Besides occurring naturally, this amino acid is even found in many food products.

This amino acid affects the growth and acts as a building block for the proteins in the body. In fact, it acts as a fuel for immune cells of the body and keeps the nitrogen level in check.

Though glutamine occurs naturally in the body, in extreme cases of stress, inflammation, and injury the demand of this amino acid increases manifold and it becomes necessary to supplement them from dietary products.

What are the benefits of glutamine supplementation?

Glutamine supplementation is recommended for the following reasons:

  • One of the most important functions performed by glutamine is that it helps to heal leaky gut in individuals.
  • The anti-catabolism property of this amino acid plays a significant role in the breakdown of
  • The presence of glutamine in the body is directly related to preventing the muscles from being eaten up in the body.
  • Glutamine acts as a fuel for the immune system of the body. It provides the much-needed impetus to the system.
  • The amino acid is particularly beneficial for the bodybuilders as it possesses certain characteristic properties different from all other amino acids i.e., muscle metabolism and cellular support.
  • Glutamine performs some crucial intestinal functions which help in combating various diseases.
  • Patients of AIDS, cancer, etc. lose the capacity to manufacture their own supply of glutamine, so in that case, glutamine supplementation is very essential.
  •  Consumption of glutamine is associated with reducing anxiety in human beings. Dietitians think it can help people with depression and anxiety.
  • Glutamine is known for improving the gastrointestinal health of individuals.
  • The hypoglycemic properties of glutamine help in curbing sugar or alcohol cravings in a human being.
  • The supplementation of glutamine in the body after medical treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. help the body to fight against the adverse effects of such treatments.
  • Glutamine is known to possess healing properties and reduce complication in patients especially suffering from critical illness.
  • Glutamine supplementation adds to better athletic performance in individuals by enhancing high-intensity exercise performance.
  • In some cases, its consumption has been linked to reducing body fat in overweight
  • Glutamine supplementation reduces inflammation in the body which in aggravated form might result in several diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel disease, etc.
  • The amino acid performs another major task of regulating the kidney’s acid-base balance in the body.
  • Glutamine supplementation in the body adds to the increased elevation of glutathione production in the body which is the master antioxidant in the body.

What is the connection between glutamine supplementation and critical illness?

During critical illness, the consumption of glutamine in the body increases. This increased demand can be attributed to the excessive release of glutamine from the muscle stores to provide fuel to the cells in the body as well as to maintain the acid-base balance in the kidneys. Besides this, the normal functions performed by glutamine also calls for the increased supply of glutamine supplementation in the body.  This phase renders glutamine the tag of essential amino acid. Since the production of this amino acid is considerably reduced and the demand increased, this calls for glutamine supplementation in the body. This can be done through various dietary sources which will be discussed in detail later on.

What are the various food sources of glutamine?

These are some of the various sources of glutamine which will help in a healthy life pattern of an individual.

  • Barley
  • Cabbage
  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Soy
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Tofu

What are the precautions to be taken?

Since glutamine is naturally present in the human body, so it is inevitably harmless. In fact, the supplementation of glutamine in the body does not bring with it any attached risk but when the question is raised regarding its supplementation on a daily basis or sustained use, it calls for an answer.

To be more specific, the short term supplementation is as harmless as anything but the long term supplementation brings with it the attached risk. These risks are being examined by scientists all over the world but certain prominent side effects include nausea, vomiting, stomachache, muscle or joint pain, chest pain, headache, dizziness, mild rash, itching, hearing problems, dry mouth, increased sweating, etc. Before any specific finding comes in this regard, it is better to seek the advice of a doctor when supplementing it on a daily basis.

The biological structure of every individual is different, so the demand is also likely to be different and there can be no fixed criteria in this regard. So, it is always advisable to consult a doctor.


Thus, Glutamine is an amino acid that affects the processes of growth and function of the body. It is a medical food product that is used to supplement dietary sources. This medicine is used to treat a glutamine deficiency or a loss of glutamine caused by injury or illness.

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