What is L-Glutamine? Glutamine is an amino acid that affects the processes and growth and function of the cells in the stomach and intestines. It sounds like a pretty important amino acid for the body. L-Glutamine is the medical food supplement to supplement natural glutamine deficiencies that may occur in the body. Or the loss of glutamine could be through an injury or due to an illness. Glutamine has other uses that were not listed on the website. It also is used in conjunction with human growth hormone to treat short bowel syndrome. If you think you need to use L-Glutamine tell your healthcare provider about any liver or kidney diseases. It isn’t known whether it will harm a baby or not so if you are pregnant consult the doctor before you use L-glutamine. Another factor to consider is if you are breastfeeding it is not known whether it will pass through the breast to the newborn baby feeding or not. Just in case contact your doctor if you are breastfeeding before using L-Glutamine.
- nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, gas;
- swelling in your hands or feet;
- muscle or joint pain, back pain;
- headache, dizziness, tired feeling;
- mild skin rash or itching; or
- dry mouth, runny nose, increased sweating.
These are the common side effects associated with L-Glutamine but if you experience chest pains, loss of hearing, or signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, mouth sores, unusual weakness then contact your doctor as soon as you can.
Gastrointestinal Side Effects
There maybe side effects that are unavoidable when taking L-Glutamine that should pass as the body adjusts to the the amino acid. Gastrointestinal side effects that are associated with consuming glutamine supplements are nausea, vomiting,(this could be a sign of something more serious) abdominal pain, flatulence, constipation, dry mouth and hemorrhoids. Additionally, taking glutamine may aggravate existing gastrointestinal conditions including including gastric ulcers, Crohn’s disease and gastrointestinal fistula, a condition that allows stomach contents to leak out. These are potentially harmful side effects. If any of these latter side effects occur contact your doctor.
Cardiovascular and Musculoskeletal
You should be careful if you have a heart condition when taking glutamine in fact you should contact your doctor so make sure it is safe to take if you have a heart condition. Some users of L-Glutamine have complained of cardiovascular side effects such as chest pain and vascular problems. You really want to take these cardiovascular side effects seriously if left untreated they could be fatal. If these heart problems already exist taking glutamine may accentuate the conditions. In the same vein if you have musculoskeletal issues such as joint pain, back pain, and muscle pain will be worse if you have fibromyalgia. Taking glutamine will only aggravate these conditions as well.
Other Side Effects
Some other side effects of glutamine may include edema which is when the body retains too much water. If you are at risk of developing edema because of a health condition; talk to your doctor before taking glutamine.
On the flip side glutamine can cause excessive thirst and dehydration in some people. Other side effects are dizziness, headache, depression, increased sweating, skin rash, sweating, and breast pain. The breast pain needs to be especially paid attention to because it may be breast cancer. If you experience any of these side effects after taking glutamine stop taking it and consult your doctor.
A brain neurosurgeon, Dr. Russell Blaylock, who is board certified says that supplemental glutamine can be potentially hazardous to the brain. Glutamine is converted into an excitotoxin called glutamate in the neurons. A major source of glutamate is from glutamine in the brain. Normally when the brain is through using glutamate which it uses in chemical communication between brain cells at the synapse. The glutamate is then carried to surrounding glial cells and then it is changed into glutamine by the enzyme synthease glutamine. There is is stored. Then the glutamine is transported to the neuron where it is converted to glutamate by the enzyme glutaminase. It can be a potential excitotoxin it is potential because if it is outside the brain cell it is harmless.
This is a major glutamate within the brain and excitotoxins are normally amino acids like glutamate and aspartate. These special amino acids cause brain cells to become very excited. They will become so excited they will die quickly this resulting in brain damage. Excitotoxins can also cause loss of brain synapses and connecting fibers. Two recent studies showed that the amount of glutamine in the brain could predict brain damage seen both in pediatric brain injuries and brain damage secondary to seizures. It seems these statements are saying that glutamine will cause brain damage if the levels in the brain are excessive.
Another study found that glutamine added to the diet of animals who were exposed to another powerful excitotoxin quinolinic acid increased the brain damage significantly. So, the bottom line is glutamine can cause brain damage.
Glutamine can cause Liver Toxicity
People with liver toxicity usually accumulate ammonia in their blood and brain. Until recently it was thought that ammonia caused liver disease-associated brain injury that glutamine was protective. New studies show that it is the glutamine that is causing the brain damage. It is speculated that increasing glutamine in the diet will increased this brain damage.
Glutamine makes Free Radicals Free
Glutamine accumulation has been found in Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and high levels of glutamine have been associated with a severe prognosis of Lou Gehrrig’s disease. It has also been shown that high levels of glutamine in the brain increase the levels of free radicals in the brain. They impair the ability of brain mitochondria to produce energy. If the brain produces low energy, excitotoxins, such as glutamate, become even more toxic. Glutamine toxicity under these conditions is because it is converted to the excitotoxin–glutamate.
What About Multiple Sclerosis
It has been suggested in studies that people with multiple sclerosis have increased levels of of the enzyme glutaminase (the enzyme that converts glutamine into glutamate) in areas of nerve fiber damage. If high levels of glutamine in the diet would increase glutamate levels near these injured areas magnifying the damage. It has been said that excitotoxicity (glutamine-based) plays a major role in multiple sclerosis by destroying the cells (oligodendrocytes) that produce myelin.
Glutamine and Pregnant Women
It is feared that glutamine may pass through the placenta to the developing baby. It may acumulate in the baby’s blood in high levels. Glutamate plays a major part in the baby’s brain development. It is a great concern that excessive glutamate may severly impair the development of the baby’s brain which could lead to mental reatardation.
Benefits of Glutamine
L-Glutamine is said to improve gastrointestinal health because it is a vital nutrient for the intetsines to repair and rebuild. It is said to act as a natural band-aid for leaky gut and stomach ulcers. In other words it keeps the stomach contents from leaking out. On the flip side it is said to help brain functions by improving memory, concentration, and focus because it is a an essential neurotransmitter.
It helps bowel function by improving IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and diarrhea by balancing mucus production. This results in haealthy bowel movements. It is said to improve muscle growth and decreases muscle wasting. It will improve athletic performance and it helps recovery from endurance exercise. It will help cellular detoxification and the metabolism. It helps to curb cravings for alcohol and sugar which can lead to weight loss. It is supposed to help fight cancer It will also help control diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels in check. These benefits were supported by individual studies. Glutamine also is used to protect and strengthen the immune system and the digestive tract. Immune function is maintained at a healthy level by plasma glutamine being available in ample amounts in the immune sustem. It may be particularly beneficial for patients undergoing HIV and chemotherapy treatments due to the weakening of the immune system from these therapies.
Foods Containing Glutamine
Meat and Poultry
Beans and Legumes
Beets, Spinach, and Parsley
These are the top ten foods that contain glutamine. Let’s explore recipes that contain glutamine that can be aded to your daily diet regime.
Recipes Using Foods Containing Glutamine
- 4 (4 ounce) fillets catfish
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Preheat broiler to 500 degrees. Coat a broiling pan with nonstick cooking spray. Brush both sides of fillets with lemon juice, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place fillets flat side up on prepared pan.
- In a small bowl, mix Parmesan cheese, butter, and mayonnaise.
- Broil fish about 4 inches from heat for 6 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and turn fillets over. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over each fillet. Top with tomato slices. Broil an additional 4 to 6 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Grilled Fish Steaks
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 2 (6 ounce) fillets halibut
- In a stainless steel or glass bowl, combine garlic, olive oil, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and parsley.
- Place the halibut filets in a shallow glass dish or a resealable plastic bag, and pour the marinade over the fish. Cover or seal and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning occasionally.
- Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from the heat.
- The nutrition data for this recipe includes information for the full amount of the marinade ingredients. Depending on marinating time, ingredients, cooking method, etc., the actual amount of the marinade consumed will vary.
- Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound salmon
- In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
- Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.
Marinated Grilled Shrimp
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
- In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, and red wine vinegar. Season with basil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add shrimp to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
- Preheat grill for medium heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade.
- Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp on preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.
Shrimp Scampi Bake Recipe
- 1 cup butter 2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 2 pounds medium raw shrimp, shelled, deveined, with tails attached
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley. When the butter melts completely, remove from heat.
- Arrange shrimp in a shallow baking dish. Pour the butter mixture over the shrimp.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and opaque.
Chicken Liver Fried “Rice”
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil (divided)
- 1 large carrot (peeled and diced)
- 1 bunch scallions (sliced thinly, both white parts and greens)
- 1/2 lb. chicken livers (cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
- 1/2 large head cauliflower (cut into florets & pulsed in the food processor until it reaches rice consistency)
- sea salt, to taste
- This recipe is essentially a stir fry, so the steps move quickly. It’s best if you prepare all of your ingredients in advance and put them in small bowls, ready to toss into the pan. (Look at the ingredient list, and peel, slice, dice and pulse as needed.)
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat.
- Add the diced carrot and sauté 3 minutes.
- Add the white slices of scallion (saving the green slices for later). Sauté another 3 minutes.
- Add the livers and cook 2 minutes per side.
- Add the other tablespoon of coconut oil, as well as the coconut aminos, and toss until everything is coated evenly.
- Add the cauliflower rice and the scallion greens. Toss to blend. Cook 2 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the rice, cook 2 minutes more.
- Season generously with salt.
This recipe lends itself well to adaptation. If you don’t have any scallions, use onions, leeks, garlic or ginger instead. Do you have another favorite vegetable besides carrots you’d like to add? Go for it; just make sure it’s diced small. Do you have an herb garden? Then feel free to add fresh herbs at the end.
Chicken Liver with Raw Garlic and Thyme
- 1 pound chicken liver, sliced thinly
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- sea salt to taste
- fresh thyme for garnish
- Prepare the livers by washing and drying them thoroughly. You want them to be as dry as possible before cooking them to make sure they get nice and crispy.
- When you are ready, heat a skillet on medium-high and dry-fry the livers for 3-4 minutes before flipping. Cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side, until no longer pink inside.
- Remove from the pan and coat with olive oil, raw garlic, sea salt and thyme.
Sautéed Chicken Livers with Riced Cauliflower, Collards and Herbs
- 3 tbsp solid fat (I use lard), divided
- 1 medium leek, thinly sliced
- 1 lb chicken livers, cleaned, dried and cut into 1½-inch pieces
- 1 large bunch collard greens, finely shredded
- 2½ cups (1/2 head) cauliflower, coarsely riced*
- 1 loosely packed cup mint leaves, chopped
- 1 loosely packed cup basil leaves, chopped
- 1 loosely packed cup Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 loosely packed cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- ½ tsp sea salt, or to taste
- Heat 1 tbsp of fat in a large skillet, add the leek and sauté on low heat until softened and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat up to medium, add the chicken livers, putting some space between them so they don’t steam, and cook for 3 minutes, turning midway.
- Spoon in the remaining lard and the collards, allowing them to wilt slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet and mix well to incorporate. Cook until the cauli is al dente (still a bit of a bite), about 3 minutes.
- Next, turn off the heat, add the herbs and salt to taste.
- Mix again and serve.
We have incorporated some recipes with foods that contain glutamine in them. We centered on the side effects and benefits of glutamine and it seems like the side effects outweigh the benefits of glutamine. While there are some positive benefits to L-Glutamine there are some very serious side effects related to it as well.