Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle, blood, and the body’s free-amino-acid pool. It is made in the body primarily from the BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids). A standard adult consumes about 3–6 g/day in protein-containing foods. Glutamine is a key molecule in metabolism and energy production, and it contributes nitrogen for many critical biochemical reactions. It is an essential amino acid for critically ill patients when the body’s need for glutamine exceeds its capacity to produce sufficient amounts.


Many studies have been done to evaluate the efficacy of glutamine but few studies have examined the effect of glutamine supplementation alone. One studies concluded that supplementation with glutamine reduced the magnitude of strength loss, accelerated strength recovery, and diminished muscle soreness more quickly than placebo; these effects were more pronounced in the men. Some athletes use glutamine supplements in the hope that they will attenuate exercise-induced immune impairment and reduce their risk of developing upper respiratory tract infections. However, more research needs to be done to support for this theory.


In many studies, glutamine had no reported side effects. Many patients with serious catabolic illnesses, such as infections, intestinal diseases, and burns, take glutamine safely as part of their medical care. Daily oral doses ranging from 0.21 to 0.42 g/kg body weight glutamine (equivalent to 15–30 g/day in a person weighing 154 pounds) have provided no biochemical or clinical evidence of toxicity.

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