Glutamine

What other names is Glutamine known by?

Acide Glutamique, Acide Glutamique HCl, Acide L-(+)-2-Aminoglutaramique, Acide L-Glutamique, Acide L-Glutamique HCl, Alanyl-L-Glutamine Dipeptide, Éthyle Ester de Glutamine, Éthyle Ester de Glutamine HCl, GLN, Glutamate, Glutamic Acid, Glutamic Acid HCl, Glutamina, Glutaminate, Glutamine Ethyl Ester, Glutamine Ethyl Ester HCl, Glutamine Methyl Ester, Glutamine Peptides, Levoglutamide, Levoglutamine, L-(+)-2-Aminoglutaramic Acid, L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine, L-Glutamic Acid, L-Glutamic Acid HCl, L-Glutamic Acid Hydrochloride, L-Glutamic Acid 5-Amide, L-Glutamine, N-Acetyl-L-Glutamine, Peptides de Glutamine, Q, (S)-2,5-Diamino-5-oxopentanoic Acid.

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins), found naturally in the body.

Glutamine is used to counter some of the side effects of medical treatments. For example, it is used for side effects of cancer chemotherapy including diarrhea, pain and swelling inside the mouth (mucositis), nerve pain (neuropathy), and muscle and joint pains caused by the cancer drug Taxol. Glutamine is also used to protect the immune system and digestive system in people undergoing radiochemotherapy for cancer of the esophagus. Additionally, glutamine is used for improving recovery after bone marrow transplant or bowel surgery, increasing well-being in people who have suffered traumatic injuries, and preventing infections in critically ill people.

Some people use glutamine for digestive system conditions such as stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. It is also used for depression, moodiness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and enhancing exercise performance.

People who have HIV (AIDS) sometimes use glutamine to prevent weight loss (HIV wasting).

Glutamine is also used for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a urinary condition called cystinuria, sickle cell anemia, and for alcohol withdrawal support.

Glutamine powder can be ordered through most wholesale drug suppliers. Glutamine for commercial use is made by a fermentation process using bacteria that produce glutamine.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Burns. Administering glutamine through a feeding tube or intravenously (by IV) seems to reduce infections, shorten hospital stays, and improve wound healing in people with burns.
  • Critical illness (trauma). There is some evidence that glutamine keeps bacteria from moving out of the intestine and infecting other parts of the body after major injuries. However, not all evidence is consistent. It is not clear if glutamine reduces the risk of death in critically ill people. Some studies suggest that it might reduce the risk of death, while others do not.
  • Treating weight loss and intestinal problems in people with HIV/AIDs disease. Taking glutamine by mouth seems to help HIV/AIDS patients absorb food better and gain weight. Doses of 40 grams per day seem to produce the best effect.
  • Soreness and swelling inside the mouth, caused by chemotherapy treatments. Some evidence suggests that glutamine reduces soreness and swelling inside the mouth caused by chemotherapy. However, glutamine does not seem to have this effect for all chemotherapy patients. It is not clear which patients are likely to benefit. Some researchers suspect that chemotherapy patients who do not have enough glutamine to start with are most likely to be helped.
  • Surgery. Giving glutamine intravenously (by IV) along with intravenous nutrition seems to improve immune function and reduce complications related to infections after major surgery. Also, giving glutamine intravenously (by IV) along with intravenous nutrition after a bone marrow transplant seems to reduce the risk of infection and improve recovery compared to intravenous nutrition alone. However, not all people who undergo major surgery or who receive bone marrow transplants seem to benefit from glutamine.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Athletic performance. Taking glutamine by mouth does not seem to improve athletic performance.
  • Crohn's disease. Taking glutamine by mouth does not seem to improve symptoms of Crohn's disease.
  • Inherited disease that causes stones in the kidneys or bladder (Cystinuria). Taking glutamine by mouth does not seem to improve an inherited condition that causes stones to form in the kidneys or bladder.
  • Muscular dystrophy. Research shows that taking glutamine by mouth does not improve muscle strength in children with muscular dystrophy.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Diarrhea caused by drugs used to treat HIV. Early research shows that taking glutamine by mouth reduces the severity of diarrhea in people with HIV who are taking the drug nelfinavir.
  • Diarrhea caused by chemotherapy treatments. There is some evidence that glutamine might help to prevent diarrhea after chemotherapy, but not all research findings agree.
  • Reducing damage to the immune system during cancer treatment. There is some evidence that glutamine reduces damage to the immune system caused by chemotherapy. However, not all research findings agree.
  • Diarrhea. There are inconsistent findings about the effects of glutamine when used to treat diarrhea in children and infants. One early study suggests that taking glutamine by mouth reduces the duration of diarrhea in children. However, taking glutamine by mouth along with conventional rehydration solutions does not appear to have an advantage over rehydration solutions alone.
  • Low birth weight. There are inconsistent findings about the effects of glutamine in infants with low to very low birth weight. Some research suggests that using glutamine in feeding tubes decreases infections in some low birth weight infants. However, most research suggests that it does not benefit low birth weight infants.
  • Muscle and joint pains caused by the drug paclitaxel (Taxol, used to treat cancer). There is some evidence that glutamine might help to reduce muscle and joint pains caused by paclitaxel.
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). An early study shows that giving glutamine intravenously (by IV) along with intravenous nutrition improves immune function but does not reduce the risk for complications or the amount of time spent in the hospital in people with pancreatitis.
  • Nutrition problems after major gut surgery (short bowel syndrome). Researchers have studied whether glutamine combined with growth hormone is effective in treating short bowel syndrome. This combination seems to help some patients become less dependent on tube feeding. However, glutamine alone does not seem to be effective.
  • Depression.
  • Moodiness.
  • Irritability.
  • Anxiety.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Insomnia.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Ulcerative colitis.
  • Sickle cell anemia.
  • Treating alcoholism.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate glutamine for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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