What are the Different Glutamine Side Effects?

Synthia L. Rose

Adverse glutamine side effects can include nausea, spiked blood sugar, and possibly increased cancer tumor size. There are positive glutamine side effects, however. These include the ability to carve more defined muscles and an increase in the body’s power to produce of human growth hormone (HGH).

Nausea is one possible side effect glutamine.
Nausea is one possible side effect glutamine.

Glutamine, also known as L-glutamine, is a natural chemical found in all humans. The body secretes this amino acid as a fuel for muscles. Muscles have more power and grow larger when supplied with nitrogen through glutamine. Stress and strenuous exercise, however, can deplete natural glutamine reserves. When this happens, many turn to glutamine supplementation because the body can take up to seven days to replenish its own glutamine stores.

Glutamine can help preserve and strengthen lean muscle mass.
Glutamine can help preserve and strengthen lean muscle mass.

People who elect to take supplements are often pursuing better or healthier physiques and desire the benefit of the muscle-related glutamine side effects. The extra HGH produced by a body supplied with glutamine supplements allows muscles to be lean and surrounded by little fat. This is because glutamine breaks down fat and encourages the body to burn fat while sparing muscle tissue. Such glutamine side effects halt, however, once supplementation is stopped.

L-glutamine is popular among body builders because of the amino acid's role in muscle growth.
L-glutamine is popular among body builders because of the amino acid's role in muscle growth.

The common dosage for glutamine supplements is roughly 10 g a day. Many alternative medicine advocates, however, recommend taking 0.5 g for every 2.2 lbs. (1 kilogram) of body weight. It is not uncommon for athletes, fitness buffs, or those recovering from disease to take 40 g to 50 g of glutamine daily. Most users mix a powdered form of the amino acid in juice, water, or milk.

People who have liver or renal problems should not take glutamine supplements.
People who have liver or renal problems should not take glutamine supplements.

The negative glutamine side effects happen when people go over the recommended amount. This causes excess glutamine to accumulate in the body. Many nutritionists claim that the excess breaks down into glucose, which can be very dangerous for diabetics or others who need to manage blood sugar. Some who take the supplement claim to have suffered stomachaches and nausea as a result of excess glutamine.

The most extreme side effect of excess dosages of glutamine has been reported by cancer sufferers. Some people with cancer and other diseases take glutamine because the supplement can alleviate some of the pains and weakness associated with radiation and chemotherapy. A few studies, however, show that in excess, glutamine can purportedly increase the diameter of cancer tumors.

Few undesirable glutamine side effects are reported for those who follow the 0.5 g of supplement per 2.2 lbs. (1 kilogram) of body weight rule. For many people, nutritionists say excess glutamine can simply be excreted from the body without causing illness. Most herbalists discourage people with liver or renal problems from taking the supplement at all.

Negative glutamine side effects typically occur when an individual takes more than the recommended dosage.
Negative glutamine side effects typically occur when an individual takes more than the recommended dosage.

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Discussion Comments

donasmrs

I think when we decide to take any supplement, we're taking a risk because everyone reacts differently to supplements. In some people l-glutamine supplements cause no side effects and in others they cause really bad, rare side effects like high heart rate, blood sugar spikes, and hives.

serenesurface

@ysmina-- Wow, that's terrible. I'm glad you're okay now.

The only side effect I've had from glutamine is an upset stomach thankfully. But I'm thinking about quitting because it hasn't done anything for my muscle mass.

ysmina

I have family members with diabetes and I guess I was pre-diabetic when I started taking glutamine supplements. A week after I started the supplement, I began to drink a lot of water. I was also going to the bathroom more frequently and feeling tired.

I went to the doctor and because of my family background, he gave me a glucose tolerance test. My blood sugar came out extremely high. I was going to be diagnosed with type two diabetes but I told my doctor about the glutamine. He said to stop taking the supplement and to come back in two weeks for another glucose tolerance test.

Two weeks later, I had another test, and my blood sugar came back normal that time. I still have to watch myself as I'm a diabetes candidate in the future. But the glutamine literally pushed me over the edge and made me a diabetic for a short time.

If anyone is planning on taking this supplement, you might want to get glucose tolerance test first, especially if you have diabetes in your family.

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