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Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in the body. It's made in the muscles and transferred by the blood into different organ systems.

Glutamine is a building block for making proteins in the body. It's also needed to make other amino acids and glucose. Glutamine supplements might help gut function, immune function, and other processes, especially in times of stress when the body uses more glutamine.

People take glutamine for sickle cell disease, burns, to improve recovery after surgery, for injuries, and for complications of HIV/AIDS. It is also used for diarrhea, cystic fibrosis, obesity, lung cancer, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these other uses.

Glutamine (Endari) is approved by the US FDA as a prescription drug for sickle cell disease.

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
  • Sickle cell disease.  A specific oral glutamine powder (Endari, Emmaus Medical, Inc) is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce acute complications of sickle cell disease.
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No data available.
  • Burns.  Oral glutamine seems to improve healing in patients with severe burns and may also reduce the risk for burn wound infections; however, it is unclear if glutamine improves hospitalization length or mortality.
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  • Critical illness (trauma).  Oral and intravenous glutamine seem to reduce infectious complications in critically ill adults. However, glutamine does not seem to reduce mortality in this population.
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  • HIV/AIDS-related wasting.  Oral glutamine seems to attenuate weight loss related to HIV/AIDS.
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  • Postoperative recovery.  Oral or intravenous glutamine seems to reduce the duration of hospitalization and improve postoperative nutritional status in adults. However, it does not seem to reduce postoperative mortality.
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No data available.
No data available.
No data available.

When taken by mouth: Glutamine is likely safe when used in doses up to 40 grams daily. Side effects are generally mild and might include bloating, nausea, dizziness, heartburn, and stomach pain.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Glutamine is consumed as part of the diet. There isn't enough reliable information to know if glutamine is safe to use in larger amounts as a medicine when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Glutamine is likely safe when taken by mouth in doses up to 0.7 grams/kg body weight daily. There isn't enough reliable information to know if higher doses of glutamine are safe.

Liver disease: Glutamine can increase the risk for brain function issues in people with advanced liver disease. Do not use it if you have liver disease.

Bipolar disorder: Glutamine might increase the risk for mania or hypomania in people with this condition.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) sensitivity: If you are sensitive to MSG, you might also be sensitive to glutamine. The body converts glutamine to glutamate.

Seizures: There is some concern that glutamine might increase the likelihood of seizures in some people. Avoid use.

Medications used to prevent seizures (Anticonvulsants)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Glutamine may increase the risk of seizures in some people. Therefore, taking glutamine may decrease the effects of medications used to prevent seizures.

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Glutamine has most often been used by adults in doses of 15-30 grams by mouth daily for up to 12 months. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

For information on using prescription glutamine, a product called Endari, speak with a healthcare provider.

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