Does Glutamine Help You Sleep?

Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the body, has a variety of potential uses for immune, digestive and brain health. Dietary sources include meat, dairy, eggs, beans, leafy greens, papaya and fermented foods like miso, but food may supply only 4 percent to 8 percent of your needs, according to the Atlanta Medical Institute. While your body can also manufacture glutamine, when you're under stress, you may require more. No scientific evidence exists for using supplemental glutamine as a sleep aid, but the side effects of supplementing with the amino acid may include an impact on your sleep.

A young man laying in his bed. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Glutamine and Sleep

Glutamine supplementation has two known side effects that are sleep-related. One rare but serious side effect is unusual fatigue, according to; if this occurs, consult your doctor immediately. Conversely, glutamine may also cause sleeplessness, which is less serious and may improve as you adjust to the supplement. Glutamine is safe in doses up to 14 grams daily, says UMMC, but should only be taken in this amount under medical supervision.

Uses for Glutamine

In studies cited by UMMC, glutamine improved wound healing and immune function, especially for post-surgery patients and athletes after endurance events. It also has potential for supporting the digestive health of those with HIV, helping them to absorb nutrients better and gain weight. Similarly, glutamine may reduce diarrhea and malnutrition in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. NYU Langone Medical Center notes a study that showed glutamine helped reduce heart stress in people with chronic angina -- a condition caused by poor blood flow to the heart.

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