Chemical structure of L-glutamine
name=(2S)-2-amino-4-carbamoyl-butanoic acid
PubChem = 738
CAS = 56-85-9
ChemSpiderID = 718
SMILES = N [C@@H] (CCC(N)=O)C(O)=O
C=5 | H=10 | N=2 | O=3
mass=146.15 g/mol

Glutamine (abbreviated as Gln or Q; the abbreviation Glx or Z represents either glutamate or glutamic acid) is one of the 20 amino acids encoded by the standard genetic code. Its side chain is an amide formed by replacing the side-chain hydroxyl of glutamic acid with an amine functional group. It can therefore be considered the amide of the acidic amino acid glutamic acid. Its codons are CAA and CAG.


Occurrences in nature

Glutamine is the most abundant naturally occurring, non-essential amino acid in the human body and one of the only amino acids which directly crosses the blood-brain barrier. [ [] ] In the body it is found circulating in the blood as well as stored in the skeletal muscles. It becomes conditionally essential (requiring intake from food or supplements) in states of illness or injury.

Dietary sources

Dietary sources of L-glutamine include beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, cabbage, beets, beans, spinach, and parsley. Small amounts of free L-glutamine are also found in vegetable juices and fermented foods, such as miso. [cite web |title=Glutamine |work=Vitamins & health supplements |url=|accessmonthday=November 1|accessyear=2007 ]


Glutamine has a variety of biochemical functions including:
# A substrate for DNA synthesis
# Major role in protein synthesis
# Primary source of fuel for enterocytes (cells lining the inside of the small intestine).
# Precursor for rapidly dividing immune cells, thus aiding in immune function
# Regulation of acid-base balance in the kidney by producing ammonium ["Textbook of Medical Physiology" Guyton & Hall (11th edition), p. 393]
# Alternative source of fuel for the brain and helps to block cortisol-induced protein catabolism
# As a form of fixed nitogen by heterocysts, exchanged for photosynthate from undifferentiated cyanobacterial cells


In catabolic states of injury and illness, GLN becomes conditionally-essential (requiring intake from food or supplements). Glutamine has been studied extensively over the past 10-15 years and has been shown to be useful in treatment of serious illnesses, injury, trauma, burns, cancer and its treatment related side-effects as well as in wound healing for postoperative patients. [ [] ] Verify credibility|date=August 2008 That is why it is now also classified as a nutraceutical. Glutamine is also marketed as a supplement used for muscle growth in weightlifting, bodybuilding, endurance and other sports. [John Ivy and Portman, Robert, "Nutrient Timing",(Laguna Beach: Basic Health Publications, 2004), page 57]

Glutamine has also been taken to enhance brain function as it fuels two of the brain's most important neurotransmitters: glutamic acid and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It also assists in nitrogen transportation and reduces toxic build up of ammonia in the brain (though is contra-indicated for those with Reye's Syndrome). Hence, it has been used to aid memory, increase IQ in those with mental retardation, used to support those with schizophrenia and senility. [ [] ]

It has also been used in the treatment of ADHD, anxiety. [ [] ] Verify credibility|date=August 2008 and depression [ [] ] [ [] ]

It has also been used in recovery programs to break sugar craving cycles in alcoholics (although is contra-indicated for those with cirrhosis of the liver or kidney disease)and assist people in the management of sugar craving in diabetes. [ [] ] [ [] ]

It is also used as an anti-inflammatory in the treatment of autoimmune diseases and preserves Glutathione (important for detoxification and immune support) levels in the liver. [ [] ]

Glutamine is contraindicated for those with Reye's Disease, cirrhosis of the liverand kidney disease. [ [] ] Verify credibility|date=August 2008

Aiding gastrointestinal function

In recent studies, glutamine-enriched diets have been linked with intestinal effects including maintenance of gut barrier function, [ [] ] Verify credibility|date=August 2008 intestinal cell proliferation, and differentiation. [ [] ] It may be used in recovery after gut surgery or in the treatment of gut damage [ [] ] , the treatment of sepsis, [ [] ] and irritable bowel syndrome. [ [] ] Verify credibility|date=August 2008 This may relate to the fact that the intestinal extraction rate of glutamine is higherthan that for other amino acids, and is therefore thought to be the most viable option when attempting to alleviate conditions relating to the gastrointestinal tract. cite journal
author = Boza, J.J.
coauthors = Dangin, M.; Moennoz, D.; Montigon, F.; Vuichoud, J.; Jarret, A.; Pouteau, E.; Gremaud, G.; Oguey-araymon, S.; Courtois, D.; Others,
year = 2001
title = Free and protein-bound glutamine have identical splanchnic extraction in healthy human volunteers
journal = American Journal of Physiology- Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
volume = 281
issue = 1
pages = 267–274
url =
accessdate = 2007-11-01
pmid = 11408280
doi = 10.1097/00000658-199802000-00022

These conditions were discovered after comparing plasma concentration within the gut between glutamine-enriched and non glutamine-enriched diets. However, even though glutamine is thought to have "cleansing" properties and effects, it is unknown to what extent glutamine has clinical benefits, due to the varied concentrations of glutamine in varieties of food.

Aiding recovery after surgery

It is also known that glutamine has various effects in reducing healing time after operations. Hospital-stay times after abdominal surgery can be reduced by providing parenteral nutrition regimes containing high amounts of glutamine to patients. Clinical trials have revealed that patients on supplementation regimes containing glutamine have improved nitrogen balances, generation of cysteinyl-leukotrienes from polymorphonuclear neutrophil granulocytes and improved lymphocyte recovery and intestinal permeability (in postoperative patients) - in comparison to those who had no glutamine within their dietary regime; all without any side-effects.cite journal
author = Morlion, B.J.
coauthors = Stehle, P.; Wachtler, P.; Siedhoff, H.P.; Koller, M.; Konig, W.; Furst, P.; Puchstein, C.
year = 1998
title = Total parenteral nutrition with glutamine dipeptide after major abdominal surgery: a randomized, double-blind, controlled study
journal = Ann Surg
volume = 227
issue = 2
pages = 302–8
url =
accessdate = 2007-11-01
doi = 10.1097/00000658-199802000-00022


cite journal
author = Jian, Z.M.
coauthors = Cao, J.D.; Zhu, X.G.; Zhao, W.X.; Yu, J.C.; Ma, E.L.; Wang, X.R.; Zhu, M.W.; Shu, H.; Liu, Y.W.
year = 1999
title = The impact of alanyl-glutamine on clinical safety, nitrogen balance, intestinal permeability, and clinical outcome in postoperative patients: a randomized, double-blind, controlled study of 120 patients.
journal = JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr
volume = 23
issue = 5 Suppl
pages = S62–6
url =
accessdate = 2007-11-01

External links

* [ Nutrients and HIV: Part Three]
* [ Supplemental uses]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Glutamine — L ou S(+) glutamine (énantiomère biologique) D ou R …   Wikipédia en Français

  • glutamine — [ glytamin ] n. f. • 1884; de glutamique ♦ Biochim. Un des vingt acides aminés constituant les protéines, amide de l acide glutamique. ● glutamine nom féminin Acide aminé permettant à l organisme de neutraliser l action toxique de l ammoniaque en …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • glutamine — glutamine. См. глутамин. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • glutamine — [glo͞ot′ə mēn΄, glo͞ot′əmin] n. [ GLUT(EN) + AMINE] a nonessential amino acid, H2NC(O)(CH2) 2CH(NH2)COOH: see AMINO ACID …   English World dictionary

  • glutamine — (= Gln; Q; 146 D) One of the 20 amino acids commonly found (and directly coded for) in proteins. It is the amide at the g carboxyl of the amino acid glutamate. Glutamine can participate in covalent cross linking reactions between proteins, by… …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • glutamine — /glooh teuh meen , min/, n. Biochem. a crystalline amino acid, HOOCCH(NH2)CH2CH2CONH2, related to glutamic acid. Abbr.: Gln; Symbol: Q [1880 85; GLUT(EN) + AMINE] * * * One of the nonessential amino acids, closely related to glutamic acid. It is… …   Universalium

  • glutamine — glutaminas statusas T sritis chemija formulė H₂NCOCH₂CH₂CH(NH₂)COOH santrumpa( os) Gln, Q, Glu NH₂ atitikmenys: angl. glutamine rus. глутамин ryšiai: sinonimas – 2 amino 4 karbamoilbutano rūgštis …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • glutamine — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary gluten + amine Date: circa 1885 a crystalline amino acid C5H10N2O3 that is found both free and in proteins in plants and animals and that yields glutamic acid and ammonia on hydrolysis …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • glutamine — noun A nonessential amino acid CHNO found in most animal and plant proteins. Syn: Gln …   Wiktionary

  • glutamine — The δ amide of glutamic acid, derived by oxidation from proline in the liver or by the combination of glutamic acid with ammonia; the l isomer is present in proteins and in blood and other tissues, and is an important source of urinary ammonia,… …   Medical dictionary

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