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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Amino Acids

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  • Glutamic Acid Description
  • Glutamic Acid Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Glutamic Acid Dosage Information
  • Glutamic Acid Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Glutamic Acid Supplement Products



    Glutamic Acid is a non-essential amino acid and is synthesized from a number of amino acids including Ornithine and Arginine. The carboxylate anions and salts of Glutamic Acid are known as glutamates. In neuroscience, glutamate is an important neurotransmitter that plays a role in in long-term potentiation and important for learning and memory. Glutamic Acid is an amino acid used by the body to build proteins. It increases the firing of neurons in the central nervous system, and is converted into either Glutamine or GABA. The brain can use Glutamic Acidas fuel, and it is important in the metabolism of sugars and fats. Glutamic Acid is found in high-protein foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

    Glutamic Acid is an excitatory neurotransmitter that increases the firing of neurons in the central nervous system. It is a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal cord and is the precursor of GABA (Gamma-Aminobuytric Acid).

    This amino acid is important in the metabolism of sugars and fats, and aids in the transportation of Potassium across the blood-brain barrier. Although it does not pass the blood-brain barrier as readily as Glutamine does, it is found at high levels in the blood and may infiltrate the brain in small amounts. The brain can use Glutamic Acidas fuel. Glutamic Acid can detoxify ammonia by picking up nitrogen atoms, in the process creating another amino acid, Glutamic Acid into Glutamine is the only means by which ammonia in the brain can be detoxified.

    Glutamic Acid helps to correct personality disorders and is useful in treating childhood behavioral disorders. It is used in the treatment of neurological conditions, epilepsy, mental retardation, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease, and hypoglycemic coma, a complication of insulin treatment for diabetes. It helps speed the healing of ulcers, gives a "lift" from fatigue, and helps control alcoholism, schizophrenia, and the craving for sugar. It is considered a remedy for hypoglycemic coma (a complication of insulin treatment for diabetes), personality disorders and is useful for treating childhood behavioral disorders.

    The fluid produced by the prostate gland also contains amounts of Glutamic Acid, and may play a role in the normal function of the prostate. Glutamic Acid helps in the prevention and reduces the risk of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

    microscopic glutamic acid


    Glutamic Acid is biosynthesized from a number of amino acids including Ornithine and Arginine. When aminated, Glutamic Acid forms the important amino acid Glutamine. Because it has a carboxylic acid moiety on the side chain, Glutamic Acid is one of only two amino acids (the other being Aspartic Acid) that has a net negative charge at physiological pH. This negative charge makes Glutamic Acid a very polar molecule and it is usually found on the outside of proteins and enzymes where it is free to interact with the aqueous intracellular surroundings. On a molar basis, Glutamic Acid is incorporated into proteins at a rate of 6.2 percent compared to the other amino acids.


    Glutamic Acid may play a role in the normal function of the prostate because large amounts of this amino acid is found in the fluid produced by the prostate gland. Glutamic acid can also protect the heart muscle which is particularly helpful for those with heart disease. Taking a Glutamic Acid supplement is effective in correcting personality disorders and childhood behavioral disorders. It is also used in treating epilepsy, mental retardation, muscular dystrophy, ulcers, and hypoglycemic coma.

  • Heart Disorders. Glutamic Acid may have protective effects on the heart muscle in people with heart disease. Intravenous injections of Glutamic Acid (as monosodium glutamate) have been shown to increase exercise tolerance and heart function in people with stable angina pectoris.

  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. The fluid produced by the prostate gland contains significant amounts of Glutamic Acid, and this amino acid may play a role in normal function of the prostate. In one study, symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) were improved in a group of 45 men taking 780 mg of Glutamic Acid per day for two weeks and then 390 mg for the next two and a half months in combination with equal amounts of the amino acids, Alanine and Glycine, an effect also reported by other researchers.



    Glutamic Acid, being a constituent of protein, is present in every food that contains protein, but it can only be tasted when it is present in an unbound form. Significant amounts of free Glutamic Acid are present in a wide variety of foods, including cheese and soy sauce, and is responsible for umami, one of the five basic tastes of the human sense of taste. Glutamic Acid is often used as a food additive and flavor enhancer in the form of its salt, known as monosodium glutamate (MSG).

    Excellent sources of Glutamic Acid include all meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products, and kombu. Some protein-rich plant foods also serve as sources. Thirty to thirty-five percent of the protein in wheat is Glutamic Acid. Ninety-five percent of the dietary glutamate is metabolized by intestinal cells in a first pass.


    None known, but deficiencies of GABA can result in excess activity of certain regions of the brain and seizures or behavioral hyperactivity. Dietary Glutamic Acid does not have a significant effect on GABA in the nervous system. Most food sources of protein supply Glutamic Acid, so only a person deficient in protein would become deficient in Glutamic Acid.


    Healthy people do not need to take Glutamic Acid as a supplement. For those who do need to use this amino acid, appropriate amounts should be determined with the consultation of a health care provider. Amino acid supplements prefaced by the letter L, such as L-glutamic acid, are more similar to the amino acids in the body than those that start with the letter D, with the exception of DL-Phenylalanine, which treats chronic pain.

    Adults may ingest 20 to 35 mg per day of this amino acid without any apparent ill effects. In general, Glutamine has been used therapeutically rather than glutamate in the management of certain types of problems such as alcoholism, liver problems, and certain biochemical problems.

  • Glutamic Acid Supplement Products
  • Amino Acid Complex Supplement Products
  • Amino Acids & BCAA Complex Supplement Information & Products


    Those who are allergic to MSG should avoid taking Glutamic Acid. If you have a neurological disease, consult your health care provider before taking Glutamic Acid supplements. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease is not known.

    Supplementation with purified Glutamic Acid on an empty stomach of 3 grams (3000 mg) or more has resulted in intestinal disturbances.

    Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), the form of Glutamic Acid that is used as a flavor enhancer, has been reported in anecdotal studies to have a number of different adverse effects (including headache, fatigue, and depression). However, controlled trials have failed to confirm that MSG causes these side effects, and the safety of this compound remains controversial. MSG can produce a condition called "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" which is associated with muscle cramping, abdominal spasms, and gastric distress. Generally, Caucasians are more susceptible to this condition in that they are unable to convert glutamate to glutamine as efficiently as Orientals. Higher levels of Vitamin B-6 intake have been found useful for preventing "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" due to enhanced conversion of glutamate to glutamine in those who are susceptible to this problem.


    High dosages of Glutamic Acid may include symptoms such as headaches and neurological problems. Although no major side effects are reported on supplementation of this nutrient and has generally been considered free of side effects for the vast majority of people who take it. People with kidney or liver disease should not consume high intakes of amino acids without first consulting their healthcare provider.


    Glutamic Acid is generally free of side effects for the vast majority of people who take it; however, people with kidney or liver disease should not consume high intakes of amino acids without consulting a health care professional. Because over stimulation of glutamate receptors is thought to be a possible cause of certain neurological diseases (e.g., amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [Lou Gehrig's disease] and epilepsy), people with a neurological disease should consult of a health care provider before supplementing with glutamate. At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with Glutamic Acid.


  • Glutamic Acid Supplement Products

  • Amino Acid Complex Supplement Products


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  • Nutrition Basics: Glutamic Acid Supplement Information



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