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It is used for side effects of cancer chemotherapy including diarrhea, pain and swelling inside the mouth (mucositis), nerve pain (neuropathy), and muscle and joint pains caused by the cancer drug Taxol. Glutamine is also used to protect the immune system and digestive system in people undergoing radiochemotherapy for cancer of the esophagus. It is also used for digestive system conditions such as stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn?s disease, depression, moodiness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and enhancing exercise performance.

How it works

The demand for L-glutamine by the intestine, as well as by cells such as lymphocytes, appears to be much greater than that supplied by skeletal muscle, the major storage tissue for L-glutamine. L-glutamine is the preferred respiratory fuel for enterocytes, colonocytes and lymphocytes. Glutamate may inhibit translocation of Gram-negative bacteria from the large intestine. L-glutamine helps maintain secretory IgA, which functions primarily by preventing the attachment of bacteria to mucosal cells. L-glutamine appears to be required to support the proliferation of mitogen-stimulated lymphocytes, as well as the production of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). It is also required for the maintenance of lymphokine-activated killer cells (LAK). L-glutamine can enhance phagocytosis by neutrophils and monocytes. It can lead to an increased synthesis of glutathione in the intestine, which may also play a role in maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosa by ameliorating oxidative stress.

Common side effects

Frequent urge to urinate, Difficulty in urination, Back pain, Blood in urine, Changes in skin color, Chills, Cold extremities, Confusion, Cough, Dizziness, Difficulty in swallowing, Fainting, Fever, Headache, Itching, Lightheadedness, Tachycardia, Urticaria


Content on this page was last updated on 28 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)