The Effect of L-Glutamine on Zoloft

Tablet with the chemical formula of  Glutamine .
Glutamine appears to have no adverse effect on Zoloft. (Image: designer491/iStock/Getty Images)

L-glutamine is an amino acid you can take as a dietary supplement. Zoloft is an antidepressant medication and is prescribed for a variety of psychological disorders in addition to depression. When you take them together, L-glutamine and Zoloft should pose no special risk to your health. However, inform your health care provider about all supplements and medications you take in case there is a possibility of an adverse interaction.

L-Glutamine Background

The proteins you eat are made up of compounds called amino acids. Glutamine is one of the 20 amino acids found in foods and is the most abundant amino acid in your body. It functions not only as a structural component of your body’s proteins but also as a vehicle for removing excess ammonia from your system. It keeps your immune system working optimally and assists in maintaining your digestive health. While a well-balanced diet supplies you with plenty of glutamine, certain health conditions can deplete your body’s glutamine stores. For example, stress can cause your levels of the hormone cortisol to increase, which, in turn, can decrease the amount of glutamine in your body. In such a case, glutamine supplements can restore this amino acid to healthy levels.

Zoloft Background

Zoloft is the brand name for sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved it for the treatment of major depression, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and social phobias. Zoloft works by inhibiting serotonin transporters, resulting in an increased level of serotonin in your brain. You can take it in daily doses ranging from 25 to 100 mg, and certain drugs are contraindicated while you are on this medication.

Interactions

Neither the Stanford School of Medicine nor the University of Maryland Medical Center list L-glutamine supplements as contraindicated when taking sertraline. They do, however, caution against taking Zoloft with other antidepressants, tranquilizers, blood thinners, antidiabetic drugs, antihistamines and supplements such as St. John’s wort, ephedra and melatonin. In addition, L-glutamine supplements should not be taken with cancer therapeutics without first consulting your oncologist. Although L-glutamine does not appear to affect Zoloft, Zoloft might impact your body’s need for L-glutamine.

Considerations

Zoloft can increase your blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to Marina Sagud in the April 2002 issue of “Neuropsychobiology.” Because this hormone can lower your body’s glutamine levels, L-glutamine supplements can help replenish your depleted glutamine stores caused by your intake of sertraline. Although you can also take in extra glutamine by increasing your consumption of meat and milk products, a side effect of Zoloft is decreased appetite. You might, therefore, prefer to take L-glutamine supplements.

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