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Glutamine and Hair Loss

author image Dan Harriman
Dan Harriman began writing professionally in 2009 and has a varied background in marketing, ranging from sports management to music promotion. Harriman holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with an emphasis on strategic communications from the University of Kansas and earned the International Advertising Association's diploma in marketing communications.
Glutamine and Hair Loss
A hairbrush with an excess of hair on it. Photo Credit: ninuns/iStock/Getty Images

Glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid in your body. This essential protein building-block resides mostly in your muscles and plays a vital role in building and maintaining muscle strength and size. Because of its value to muscle development, glutamine has become a popular dietary supplement for bodybuilders and athletes. There is no evidence that glutamine causes or contributes to hair loss.

Glutamine Uses

Glutamine plays an important role in many of your body's functions. Besides contributing to the development and maintenance of your muscles, glutamine contributes to a healthy immune system, normal brain function and digestion. The amino acid is sometimes given to people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease or cancer, but research results are mixed with regard to whether it's helpful. There's some evidence that glutamine might help promote weight gain in people with HIV/AIDS.

Glutamine and Hair Loss

There is no scientific evidence that supports claims that glutamine causes or contributes to hair loss. Since glutamine is often associated with the world of bodybuilding, the supplement may be falsely viewed as an anabolic steroid by some who are not familiar with it. Certainly, illegal anabolic steroids have a number of side effects, including the potential for hair loss, but glutamine is not a steroid. The use of glutamine supplements is legal and causes no serious side effects in healthy people.

Side Effects

Glutamine can cause some mild side effects, including coughing or hoarseness, a frequent urge to defecate, and stools that are hard to pass. Less common side effects include blood in urine, headaches, itching, hives, fever, dizziness, chills, stomach pain and tightness in chest. If you take glutamine supplements and experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

Glutamine as Fuel for Follicles

According to research published in "Nature" in 1993, hair follicles use glutamine as well as glucose for fuel. This does not imply, however, that glutamine helps hair to grow faster or has any effect on hair loss.

Safe Supplementation

If you plan on taking glutamine supplements, it is important to talk to your doctor first. As with any supplement, there is always a potential for side effects, especially if you are currently taking medications. Also, certain health conditions, such as kidney or liver disease, may make glutamine supplements inadvisable for you.

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