2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Glutamine

What Is It?

Glutamine is a nonessential amino acid. “Nonessential” means that the body can create its own supply if the diet is lacking in glutamine-rich sources, such as poultry, fish, and legumes. Few people who are basically healthy and follow a balanced diet are deficient in this amino acid, one of the most abundant in the bloodstream. But there are some important exceptions.

Glutamine is primarily produced in the muscles and appears to play an important part in keeping them functioning normally. It’s also used by white blood cells and contributes to normal immune-system function. Individuals with muscle-wasting and immune-system related illnesses (such as cancer or AIDS) who may be incapable of manufacturing their own supply of glutamine, may benefit from glutamine supplementats taken along with other amino acids.

Several studies have shown that glutamine, when used as an oral rinse, can help to reduce cancer chemotherapy-induced mouth sores. Whether glutamine taken orally can aid in preventing other complications of cancer treatment, including stomach irritation, is still being examined. In fact, some research indicates it may stimulate the growth of certain tumors.

One of glutamine’s most important tasks in the body is to nourish cells that line the intestine and stomach. Preliminary studies have shown that supplements of glutamine may protect against aspirin-induced gastric lesions and enhance healing of painful peptic ulcers. It has also been examined for preventing stress ulcers in individuals treated for severe burns. Those with stomach problems associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis may theoretically benefit from glutamine too.

Glutamine passes freely across the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain, it’s converted to glutamic acid and increases the concentration of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Both glutamic acid and GABA are essential for proper mental function. Because of its action in the brain, glutamine supplements have been recommended for preventing the deleterious effects of alcohol on the brain and for reducing alcohol cravings—a finding that has support in clinical trials. Some sources describe glutamine as a “brain fuel” capable of stimulaing mental alertness and clear thinking. This use is still unproven.

Glutamine has also been tried, with mixed results, for treating weight loss, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

Look for glutamine supplements prefaced by the letter L. This form resembles the glutamine in the body more than supplements prefaced by the letter D.

General Interaction

• Methotrexate, a drug used to treat certain kinds of cancer, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis, may interefere with glutamine’s effectiveness in treating mouth ulcers resulting from cancer chemotherapy.

• There are no other known drug or nutrient interactions associated with glutamine.

Cautions

• Some people may experience headaches and other side effects with glutamine, but much remains to be learned about the potential adverse reactions associated with this supplement. In clinical trials, no toxic reactions were recorded at relatively high doses of 4 to 21 g a day.

• If you have any serious illness or are pregnant or breast-feeding, only take an amino acid such as glutamine after consulting your doctor.

• To be safe, never take glutamine–or any single amino acid for that matter–for longer than three months unless you are under the direction fo a doctor familiar with its use.

• Take care not to confuse glutamine with substances that have similar-sounding names, such as glutathione, glutamic acid, gluten, and monosodium glutamate.

Ailments-Dosage

Alcoholism 500-1,000 mg L-glutamine twice a day between meals
Cancer 1 scoopful (3-4 gm.) mixed with water 3-4 times a day; swish in mouth and swallow. Alternately, 1,500-2,000 mg in pills, 4 times a day. All doses taken between meals.
Crohn’s Disease 1,000 mg L-glutamine twice a day
Ulcers 500 mg L-glutamine 3 times a day for one month
Weight Loss 1 tsp. (4 grams) L-glutamine powder mixed in water twice a day


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Telemedicine – Now Available at WholeHealth Chicago

In order to maintain your continuity of care, WholeHealth Chicago now offers telemedicine appointments with most of our practitioners. During a telemedicine visit, you and your healthcare provider can review medical history, discuss symptoms, arrange for prescriptions, and more. When necessary, labs and diagnostic imaging can be ordered from a facility near your home, and our Natural Apothecary can ship supplements quickly to your door.

Please contact Patient Services for details and scheduling a telemedicine appointment, or to change a regular appointment to telemedicine by calling 773-296-6700.

We’re looking forward to meeting with you in our virtual consultation room soon.

DIAGNOSE-IT-YOURSELF: COVID-19

Far and away, the commonest phone call/e mail I receive asks about COVID-19 diagnosis.
Just print this out, tape it on your refrigerator door, and stay calm.

ALLERGIES

• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Red, swollen eyes
• Itchy eyes and nose
• Tickly throat
• No fever

COLD
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Sore throat
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild dry cough
• Rarely a low fever

STREP THROAT
• Painful sore throat
• Hurts to swallow
• Swollen glands in neck
• Fever

FLU (Standard seasonal flu)
• Fever
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Sudden onset over few hours
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Fatigue, sometimes quite severe
• Muscle aches, sometimes quite severe
• Rarely, diarrhea

CORONAVIRUS-COVID 19
• Shortness of breath
• Fever (usually above 100 degrees)
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Slow onset (2-14 days)
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild fatigue
• Mild sneezing

Recent Health Tips

  • Functional Medicine 101 + Introducing Dr. Parisa Samsami

    Functional Medicine (FM) is without a doubt the fastest growing medical specialty of the 21st century. Public interest and broad public acceptance of it continue to please me. Every day I hear the sentence, “I made this appointment because I wanted a functional approach.” When I ask patients how they learned about it, the answer is a variation on Dr. Google. Here at WholeHealth Chicago we’ve Read More

  • The Flu Shot: Now More Important Than Ever

    When it comes to the flu shot, I take a far more conventional approach than many WholeHealth Chicago patients expect of a doctor who considers himself alternative/integrative. It’s also worth noting that after reviewing some of the online advice warning people away from the flu shot, it’s my sense that this is frequently followed by “…and this is my product you can buy instead.” So Read More

  • Lyme Disease In Your Nervous System: Three Cases

    “Why am I limiting this to only three cases?” I wondered. Physicians who treat Lyme, like our group at WholeHealth Chicago where we see a lot of Lyme disease patients, would tell you there are so many manifestations of Lyme when it invades the nervous system that I really should list as many as possible. But to keep this Health Tip manageable, we’ll keep it Read More

Join our Discount Program

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!