Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning your body can synthesize it on its own, but you may also see benefit from food sources of glutamine. Glutamine peptides are glutamine molecules that are bonded to other amino acids to increase the stability of glutamine in your body once it is ingested. Glutamine peptides are sold as a nutritional supplement to improve muscle and soft tissue repair following exercise, injury or surgery. While glutamine is generally well-tolerated, glutamine peptides are more potent and may result in side effects. Consult with your physician prior to using a supplement containing glutamine peptides.
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The most common side effect of glutamine peptide supplementation is gastrointestinal distress. Your digestive tract may have a difficult time absorbing glutamine peptides due to their high potency, particularly when taken on an empty stomach. Symptoms of gastrointestinal distress following glutamine peptide ingestion include nausea, upset stomach, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. Taking glutamine peptide supplements with food and water may help decrease the risks of developing gastrointestinal distress.
Glutamine can readily convert into glutamate in your body, which is similar to the compound found in monosodium glutamate, or MSG. If you are sensitive to MSG or glutamate, you may experience an allergic reaction to glutamine peptide supplementation. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to glutamine peptides include swelling of your face and neck, the appearance of hives or a rash, persistent itching, difficulty breathing, and an irregular heartbeat. If you experience any of these symptoms following glutamine peptide supplementation, seek medical attention immediately.
Kidney and Liver Stress
High amounts of glutamine peptides present in your bloodstream may place extra stress on your liver and kidneys, organs that filter your blood of any potentially harmful or toxic compounds. The metabolites attached to the glutamine molecule are typically cleaved off of glutamine once they are absorbed into your bloodstream. These metabolites are then filtered out of your body through your liver and kidneys. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends individuals suffering from liver or kidney diseases avoid glutamine supplementation because the extra stress it placed on these organs may worsen the symptoms of disease.
According to UMMC, glutamine supplementation appears to be safe in doses up to 14 grams a day. However, Drugs.com states that common side effects of glutamine supplementation may include a persistent cough or hoarseness in your throat, the frequent urge to defecate, and constipation. Although it is unknown if glutamine has any adverse interactions with medications and drugs, you should only use a nutritional supplement containing glutamine peptides under supervision of a doctor.