Glutamine is an amino acid. It is produced by the body and stored mostly in the muscles. Glutamine is found in protein-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy products and beans.
Glutamine is used by the body to make a chemical messenger in the brain (glutamate). Some people with depression have lower levels of glutamate in the brain. It has been suggested that increased glutamine may improve mood.
There is not enough scientific evidence to determine if glutamine is helpful in the treatment of depression. For example, there are no studies examining whether it is any more effective than dummy pills (placebos). More studies of better quality are needed.
Concerns about the safety of long term use of glutamine have been raised. A study into the side effects of glutamine is required especially for longer term use.
Some dietary supplements can be harmful or ineffective if you take the wrong dose. Talk to your health care professional if you are thinking of taking supplements.
Glutamine is available as a dietary supplement from health food shops and online.
Glutamine cannot currently be recommended for depression given the lack of scientific evidence about its effectiveness. There are also concerns about its safety when used in the long term.
Last reviewed and updated: 16 March 2015