What is L-glutamine?

L-glutamine is an amino acid. There are 20 amino acids found in the body of which l-glutamine is the most abundant.

L-glutamine is classed as a nonessential amino acid. Nonessential means that it is synthesized (produced) in the body. It is therefore not essential that l-glutamine is taken from external sources (e.g. from the diet).

However, under certain conditions, such as stress, illness or injury, l-glutamine levels can become very low.

Under these circumstances, l-glutamine can become a conditionally essential amino acid in which low levels of l-glutamine require boosting from external sources; e.g. through diet (see also benefits of l-glutamine ).

L-glutamine: Other Names

L-glutamine is often referred to as 'glutamine'. Abbreviations for l-glutamine are Q and Gln.

Structural Formula Of L-glutamine

The structural formula of l-glutamine is: C5 H10 N2 03

Where is L-glutamine produced?

Within the body, glutamine is predominantly synthesized in the muscles. Around 90% of the body's glutamine is made in the muscles and over 60% of glutamine in the body is found in the skeletal muscles.

Organs, including the brain and lung, can synthesize glutamine but in fewer amounts [1]. The liver can also synthesize glutamine. The liver helps regulate existing levels of glutamine within the body. The liver takes a larger role regulating large quantities of glutamine from the gut [2].

Sources Of L-glutamine

Within the body, higher concentrations of l-glutamine are found in the:

  • skeletal muscles (approximately 90% of all glutamine)
  • blood
  • lungs
  • liver
  • brain
  • gut lining
  • kidneys

Dietary / food sources of l-glutamine

L-glutamine is found in many foods. These include:

  • beans
  • herbs - e.g. parsley
  • dairy products – e.g. yogurt, cheese
  • eggs
  • fish
  • grains
  • meats – e.g. beef, pork & poultry such as chicken
  • pulses
  • vegetables – beet, cabbage, spinach
  • nuts