What Is Glutamine & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Glutamine (src)

Glutamine is non-essential and conditionally essential amino acid in humans.

It means that the body can usually synthesize sufficient amounts of it.

But in some cases of stress, the body's demand for glutamine increases, and then glutamine must be obtained from the diet.

Glutamine release in our body is mainly controlled by key metabolic organs, such as the gut, liver, and skeletal muscles.

Glutamine, Abundant And Versatile

Glutamine is one of the most abundant and versatile amino acids in the body. (source )

Glutamine serves as a building block in the biosynthesis of most proteins. (source )

Glutamine is essential for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and a variety of proteins, and is also a major component of the high energy phosphate pool.

Glutamine is the major source of nitrogen for protein synthesis, and is therefore important for brain growth, maintenance, and repair.

You can find some benefits of glutamine in Glutamine: 2 Research-Backed Benefits

Glutamine In Foods

Glutamine can be found in many types of food.

For example, glutamine can be found in foods such as meats, vegetables, and dairy products.

Glutamine Can Become Essential

Even though glutamine is classified as nonessential, there are circumstances where glutamine can become essential. It is during catabolic/hypercatabolic situations for metabolic function. (source )

Hypercatabolism means an excessive metabolic breakdown of complex substances, like protein, within the body. (source )

This condition can occur, for example, in muscle loss and impaired cellular energy in chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus or chronic heart failure (CHF). (source )

During catabolic/hypercatabolic circumstances, the demand for glutamine increases dramatically. It may lead to glutamine deprivation and severe impairment of immune function. (source )

Glutamine As Supplement

Because glutamine is a non-essential amino acid, its use as a nutritional supplement has been generally avoided.

But supplementation with glutamine has been used for nutritional support for people in need of rehydration, and as a source of nitrogen for wound healing.

Glutamine can also be used as a dietary supplement to support the function of the immune system and to help the body combat and recover from disease and illness.

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.