Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in the body. It's made in the muscles and transferred by the blood into different organ systems.
Glutamine is a building block for making proteins in the body. It's also needed to make other amino acids and glucose. Glutamine supplements might help gut function, immune function, and other processes, especially in times of stress when the body uses more glutamine.
People take glutamine for sickle cell disease, burns, to improve recovery after surgery, for injuries, and for complications of HIV/AIDS. It is also used for diarrhea, cystic fibrosis, obesity, lung cancer, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these other uses.
- Burns. Administering glutamine through a feeding tube seems to improve healing in people with severe burns.
- Critical illness (trauma). Taking glutamine by mouth or by IV seems to reduce complications in critically ill adults. But it doesn't seem to reduce the risk of death. IV products can only be given by a healthcare provider.
- Involuntary weight loss in people with HIV/AIDS. Taking glutamine by mouth seems to help HIV/AIDS patients absorb food better and gain weight.
- Recovery after surgery. Giving glutamine by IV seems to reduce the number of days spent in the hospital after surgery. But it doesn't seem to reduce the risk of death after any type of surgery. IV products can only be given by a healthcare provider.