L-glutamine is a non-essential amino acid, which means it can be made in the body. It is found widely dispersed in body proteins and enzymes. L-glutamine can be converted into L-glutamic acid and vice versa.
L-glutamine is unusual in being able to cross easily from the general circulation into the brain. Once there, it is changed into L-glutamic acid, which is an important energy source.
The formation of L-glutamine is brought about by the addition of ammonia to L-glutamic acid. L-glutamine is therefore useful in ammonia detoxification.
There has been much interest as to whether supplements of L-glutamine or its derivatives can improve or modify brain function (1). There are some reports of L-glutamine helping in Depression, and others of L-glutamic acid and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) being used to improve brain function (1).
Carbohydrate Craving and Alcoholism:
L-glutamine reputedly breaks the vicious circle of carbohydrate craving by suppression of brain messages that cause the craving (1).
L-glutamine supplementation has been found to control alcohol craving and may also protect the cells from the deleterious effects of alcohol (1).
There is some clinical evidence that shows L-glutamine to be effective in the treatment of peptic Ulcers. It appears to aid the healing process of the gastrointestinal tract (2) by a method as yet unknown.
Glutamine may be of benefit to those who exercise frequently as Stress resulting from physical activity decreases glutamine concentrations (3).
6-12g daily of L-glutamine has been used without toxicity. However, no more than 2-3g daily should be self-administered.
INTERACTIONS AND CONTRA-INDICATIONS
There are no known drug interactions or other contra-indications for L-glutamine.
1. "The Healing Nutrients Within", E R Braverman & C C Pfeiffer, Keats, 1987.
2. Elia M, Lunn PG. The use of glutamine in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders in man. Nutrition, 13;7-8:743-747 1997.
3. Keast D, et al. depression of plasma glutamine concentration after exercise stress and its possible influence on the immune system. Med J Aust, 162;1:15-18 1995.