What Is Glutamic Acid & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Glutamic acid (src)

Glutamic acid is a common neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.

Glutamic acid is a non-essential amino acid.

Non-essential means that can be made by humans in the body when needed.

Industrial synthesis of glutamic acid is produced on the largest scale of any amino acid.

Glutamic acid is often used as a food additive and flavor enhancer in the form of its sodium salt, known as monosodium glutamate, MSG.

Table of Contents

Glutamic Acid Transforms Into Glutamate

Glutamic acid is a non-essential amino acid that plays a central role in metabolism.

Our body synthesizes it in the body into glutamic acid that transforms into glutamate. (source )

Glutamate is very important in cellular metabolism.

Dietary proteins are broken down by digestion into amino acids, which become metabolic fuel for important roles in the body. (source )

Glutamate has flavor-promoting properties that have evolved into a specific taste receptor, leading to the definition of “umami” as our fifth basic taste. (source )

Glutamic acid is an intermediate for other acids

Glutamic acid is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of proline, hydroxyproline, aspartic acid, and glutamine.

Uses Of Glutamic Acid

Glutamic acid is widely used in foods and in the pharmaceutical industries.

For example, it is the main component of the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG).

It is used as an excipient in drug formulations, for example, to improve the taste of drugs.

It is an important component of many animal feeds.

Glutamic Acid Is Industrially Synthesized

Glutamic acid is the most industrially synthesized of all amino acids.

Glutamic acid is usually produced by fermentation processes using microorganisms which are capable of producing it.

These microorganisms can be bacteria, yeast or fungi.

In some cases, glutamic acid can be produced by plants.

Foods You Can Find Glutamic Acid In

You find Glutamic Acid mostly in legume, nut and seed, dairy and egg, american indian and alaska native food products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top-ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Glutamic acid, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top-ranked list of foods that contain Glutamic Acid.

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

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Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.