Glutamine is an essential amino acid – one of the building blocks of protein. It plays various roles in the body including regulating immune function, brain function and digestion. In most instances, you would not require supplementation to meet your body's need for this nutrient but certain conditions like illness, stress, intense exercise and infections can lower glutamine levels. Supplementation might also offer therapeutic benefit for various conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Some dosage recommendations exist for glutamine supplementation and primarily hinge on the condition being treated rather than other factors, like gender.
General Dosage Guidelines
The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center notes the suggested dosage of glutamine can range from 3 g to 30 g daily. It reports "strong evidence" of established safety up to 14 g daily but that higher doses appear safe as well. The University of Michigan Health System notes the following daily dosages used in clinical studies: pre- and post- surgery health: 20 g; athletic performance and post-exercise infection: 5 g immediately after working out and 5 g two hours later; diarrhea: 136 mg per pound of weight; alcohol withdrawal: 1 g daily in divided doses; peptic ulcer: 500 mg to 1,000 mg three times a day.
Dosage Considerations for Specific Individuals
Drugs.com notes that manufacturers of glutamine products recommend regular screening of kidney or liver function while using them. Glutamine metabolizes into substances that might build up to unsafe levels if you suffer from liver disease. The site also recommends older individuals consult with their doctors about a specific dosage as they are more likely to have impaired function of the liver, heart and kidneys as well as the existence of other health conditions. The University of Maryland Medical Center does not recommend giving glutamine supplements to children under 10. It notes a dosage of 500 mg three times a day for children 10 and older appears safe. Check with your doctor about whether you should use glutamine and at what dose.
As glutamine naturally exists in the body and in food, it appears a generally safe supplement. Using it in certain instances, however, might prove problematic. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes laboratory studies which found glutamine supplementation stimulated tumor growth. This type of research however, is insufficient to draw any definitive conclusions. If you suffer from cancer, however, talk to your doctor about this potential risk. The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center notes glutamine might interfere with anti-seizure medications and a case report where glutamine supplementation induced episodes of mania in two individuals who did not have a history of bipolar disorder.
Other Considerations for Use
Talk to your doctor before taking glutamine supplements if you are pregnant or nursing. Heat destroys glutamine; take supplements with room-temperature or cold foods and drinks. Drugs.com reports safe use has only been established up to 16 weeks. Whether using it longer would pose any dangers has not been established.