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What is L-glutamine and what is it used for?

L-glutamine is one of the non-essential amino acids, which meansthat our body naturally produces it, but it can also be found in foods,particularly those that are rich in proteins. It plays a very important part inbuilding proteins and other amino acids, but it is also important for differenttypes of cells in the body, since it works as their fuel. Ever since its numerous benefits and importancefor the health of a human body have been proven, this amino acid has beenavailable in the form of a dietary supplement as well. Besides variousnutrition disorders in which L-glutamine is helpful, it is used in thetreatment of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, sickle cell anemia, depression,anxiety and insomnia. It is also known to speed up the healing of wounds, ithelps in the recovery after the surgery, while people who have HIV or AIDS maygain weight easier if they use L-glutamine and they can decrease the risk of occurrenceof chemotherapy side effects such as diarrhea or mouth sores.

Side effects of L-glutamine

There is probably no supplement without at least some sideeffects, no matter how natural it might be. The same goes for L-glutamine,although the fact is that very few side effects of it have been reported. None ofthese reported side effects is too serious or significant, and this is one moreadvantage of this amino acid. In extremely rare cases, people who used this supplementhad problems with increased level of liver enzymes and a few cases of peoplewho suffered from bipolar disorder experienced mania. That is all. However, dueto these side effects, it is not recommended that people with kidney problems, livercirrhosis and Reye’s syndrome take L-glutamine. People who are undergoingchemotherapy or those who use lactulose or seizure medications should consulttheir doctors first. Pregnant and lactating women should not use it either,even though there were no proofs of its harmful effects in such cases. As forchildren, they might be a bit more sensitive to supplements than the adults,which is why it is necessary to consult a doctor before deciding whether or notit should be given to them.

There have been some studies because of some theoreticalside effects that this amino acid might cause, particularly in cases of peoplewith tumors, but the results did not prove that L-glutamine caused increasedgrowth of the tumor cells, which was the initial concern until then.

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