Glutamic Acid – Definition, Facts, Functions, Uses, Health Benefits, Food Sources, And Side Effects

Facts

It is a non-essential amino acid, that is very frequent in plants and animals. Besides being a building block of protein, this amino acid is vital in the transmission of nerve impulses and is even produced in the brain. Chemical formula – HOOC-CH(NH2)-(CH2)2-COOH.

The carboxylate anions and salts associated with E620 are referred to as glutamates. A typical human contains 4.4 pounds of glutamate. It is an important component of proteins and peptides, and present in the most tissues.

Uses and functions

One of the major roles of this non-essential amino acid is an excitatory neurotransmitter inside the central nervous system. It’s the most common neurotransmitter found inside the brain and spinal cord.

As a neurotransmitter, glutamate influences several areas of the brain including the thalamus, basal ganglia, spinal cord, brain stem and pons. Before it can act as a neurotransmitter it must be connected to specific receptors based in the central nervous system.

One of these receptors, known as N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, and here it regulates the number of sodium, calcium and magnesium ions that can exit and enter the cells.

Health benefits of glutamic acid

It is in the same amino acid family group as glutamine and they can transform their structure to transform into each other.

  • Glutamine plays very important roles in the tumor cell. At first, it acts as a nitrogen donor in the nucleotide (organic molecules) and amino acid biosynthesis, secondly, it helps in the uptake of essential amino acid and it keeps the activation of TOR kinase.
  • It increases the brain function and mental activity. It is the most usual stimulating neurotransmitter in the central nervous system of the body, according to the University of California San Diego.
  • This amino acid detoxifies the brain from ammonia by connecting itself to nitrogen atoms in the brain and also E620 helps in the transportation of potassium across the blood–brain barrier.
  • Studies have shown that this amino acid may play an essential role in protecting the heart in patients with heart disease.
  • It helps in the transportation of potassium across the blood-brain barrier and into the spinal fluid. Potassium is an essential mineral which also helps maintain a balance between the electrical and chemical and processes in your body. You need at least 100 milligrams of this mineral per day to support essential bodily processes. A diet deficient in potassium may lead to symptoms like muscle weakness and fatigue.

Food sources of glutamic acid

Meat, eggs, dairy products, avocados, potatoes, sweet potatoes, red kidney beans, chickpeas, navy beans, adzuki beans, mung beans, soy products, garbanzo beans, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, chia seeds, cottonseeds, watermelon seeds, flaxseeds, sunflowers seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, wakame, oat bran, oatmeals, millet, tomatoes, spirulina, chives, and lentils.

Deficiency

If you do not produce the proper quantities of this amino acid, some life-threatening brain conditions can occur.

Dosage

A common therapeutic dose of this amino acid is three to 30 g per day, however, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, it is recommended to consume up to 14 g daily.

Side effects of glutamic acid

Most people receive enough of this amino acid through diet and biosynthesis. In some situations, supplementation may be beneficial for health, although it’s recommended to consult a health care specialist first.

An excess of E620 from supplements may cause overstimulation of nerve receptors (like the taste – gustatory system) and contribute to neurological disorders such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and epilepsy. High doses of this non-essential amino acid may interfere with anti-epileptic medications.