What is Glutamic Acid?

What is Glutamic Acid?

Known as glutamate or a-aminoglutaric acid, glutamic acid is a type of amino acid that forms proteins, which turns into glutamate in the body. This chemical supports your brain function in sending and receiving information from other cells.

Glutamic acid plays an important role in learning and memory. Some scientific studies found that glutamic acid might help people with achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria. There is little or no production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and other digestive organs due to this condition.

What Will We Cover In This Article?

  • What is glutamic acid?
  • The benefits of glutamic acid
  • Is glutamic acid the same as glutamate?
  • What is glutamic acid used for?
  • Is glutamic acid polar?
  • Is glutamic acid the same as glutamine?
  • Is glutamic acid a neurotransmitter?
  • What is l-glutamic acid?

What is Glutamic Acid?

Many scientific studies define glutamic acid as the vital component that is involved in cognitive functions. Moreover, its transporters are present in glial and neuronal membranes, which remove the glutamic acid from the extracellular space rapidly.

Glutamic acid is one of the twenty proteinogenic amino acids. People refer it to as glutamate. When it comes to glutamic acid function, this chemical plays a key role in cellular metabolism.

L-glutamic acid is the most active form of glutamic acid and has L-configuration. During the digestion process, the dietary proteins are broken down into amino acids, which perform many important functions in the body and works as a metabolic fuel in humans. Glutamic acid is the most vital fast excitatory neurotransmitter.

However, in mental illness or brain injury, these may work in reverse, and glutamate may accumulate outside the cells. The entire process causes the ions of calcium to enter the human cells through the NMDA receptor channels and lead to nervous system damage, and brain cells die.

Glutamic acid decarboxylase, also referred to as glutamate decarboxylase, is an important enzyme that serves as a catalyst and speeds up the decarboxylation of glutamic acid to CO₂ and GABA. The glutamic acid structure is the normal structure of an amino acid that includes central carbon, amine group, R group, and carboxylic group.

The amino acid plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the digestive system and immune system. In addition, the glutamic acid of amino acids contributes to energy production in the body. Muscle tissues serve as a crucial site for producing and storing amino acid; your muscles release 80g of glutamic acid every day that circulates throughout your body.

While your body naturally produces glutamic acid, it is also present in supplements and food sources. It is worth mentioning here that people with good health do not need to take glutamic acid supplements. Only those who have been prescribed glutamic acid from their doctor should take it. People who want to increase the levels of glutamic acid in their body naturally can do so by consuming foods with glutamic acid, which include eggs, meat, and dairy products.

A scientific study has revealed a strong correlation between improved neurological function and glutamic acid. However, doctors suggest that people not take any glutamic acid pills or supplements if they have any brain injury or mental disorder.

Glutamic Acid Information Chart

Glutamic acid formulaC5H9NO4
pI of glutamic acid3.22
Glutamic acid abbreviationGlu
pKa of glutamic acidglutamic acid pKa is 2.19 and 9.67 for pKa1 and pKa2
Glutamic acid one-letter codeE
Glutamic acid molecular weight 147.13 g/mol
Glutamic acid three-letter code


Glutamic acid polar or nonpolar


Glutamic acid hydrophobic or hydrophilic


Glutamic acid solubility



What Does Glutamic Acid Do?

Glutamic acid plays a key role as an excitatory neurotransmitter in your nervous system. It is the most vital and common neurotransmitter present in your brain and spinal cord. It influences several parts of the brain, including the brain stem, thalamus, pons, basal ganglia, and spinal cord.

Before acting as a neurotransmitter, glutamic acid attaches to certain receptors in the brain. In these receptors, there is NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate), that maintains the number of magnesium, sodium, and calcium ions, which enter and exit from the human cells.

Glutamic acid plays a vital role in the synthesis of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which serves as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Gamma-aminobutyric acid has an opposite effect of glutamic acid, as it drastically affects the activity within the brain system.

The glutamic acid molar mass is 147.13 g/mol. In essence, glutamic acid influences other neurotransmitters and plays an integral role in improving and upkeeping many neuropsychological conditions.

Glutamic acid HCL is the hydrochloride salt present in this chemical. The Glu HCL is a gastric acidifier and releases HCL into your stomach, and thus the gastric pH is lowered in your digestive system. Glutamic acid msg, known as Monosodium glutamate, is the sodium salt of glutamic acid.

What is Glutamine?

The muscle tissues produce glutamine in your body, and they make up around 90% synthesis of glutamine. Your brain and lungs produce glutamine acid, but in small amounts. It is one of the most abundant amino acids present in plasma. This well-known nutrient is one that cancer cells use to increase the proliferation in your body.

Under metabolic stress conditions, glutamine serves as the most crucial chemical to improve the condition. This component plays a vital role in upkeeping the health condition of the intestinal mucosa. It helps in transporting nitrogen to the cells that experience division.

Glutamine is also present in animal and plant proteins. Dairy products, especially milk, yogurt, ricotta cheese, and cottage cheese, are some of the best sources of animal protein that include glutamine.

The meat sources, including glutamine, include beef, chicken, pork, fish, and eggs. Plant proteins that contain glutamine are beans and vegetables, including spinach, parsley, and cabbage. Poly glutamic acid is a polymer of glutamic acid.

Your muscles require glutamine more than any other amino acid, as they use glutamine during exercise. This is the major reason why athletes and bodybuilders that require strength, endurance, and heavily rely on muscle mass have more demand for glutamine.

It is essential to know that some supplements are infused with glutamine, including protein drinks and nutrition bars. These supplements contain large amounts of glutamine and promote bodybuilding and energy in consumers. Let’s dig a little deeper into if there is any difference between glutamine and glutamic acid.

Glutamine vs. Glutamic Acid

Both glutamine and glutamic acid belong to the same group of amino acids. The chemical characteristics of both the components are quite similar, which is why many people think that glutamic acid is the same as glutamine. Both chemicals contain nitrogen and are alkaline. They belong to the carboxylic acid group of chemicals.

When it comes to glutamic acid vs. glutamine, these chemicals have different molecule chains. The glutamic acid charge is negative, whereas glutamine does not have any charge. Other than this, the biggest difference is that glutamine is a condition, and glutamate is a nonessential amino acid.

The Medical Uses of Glutamic Acid

Also known as ‘chemical messenger’, glutamic acid has always shown positive results in improving intelligence. Glutamic acid in the brain works as a messenger and helps enhance mental alertness, mood, and clarity of thinking.

Some medical studies have proven that amino acids, to which glutamic acid belongs, has helped in treating mental retardation, fatigue, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, and schizophrenia.

In addition to that, this chemical helps transport potassium across the nervous system and into the spinal fluid. Glutamic acid is well known for its ability to detoxify the cells of your muscles. For instance, glutamic acid attaches to an amino acid when intense exercise leads to increasing levels of ammonia in your muscle cells.

When it comes to glutamic acid health benefits, there are many advantages to this chemical.

May Improve Heart Function

Some research has found that glutamic acid can be useful in improving cardiovascular function in patients with heart disease. In the form of monosodium glutamate (MSG), glutamic acid can promote good heart health and increase fatigue tolerance, particularly when injected in patients with stable angina pectoris. Glutamic acid may help alleviate chest pain that can result from coronary heart disease.

Helps in Detoxification

Glutamic acid helps in detoxifying ammonia by bonding to nitrogen atoms, which results in glutamine production. This conversion process from glutamic acid to glutamine helps remove the toxic metabolic waste product while promoting overall good health.

Improves Mental Health

Glutamic acid works as a fuel for your brain and provides an energy source for your brain to function. In addition to that, this chemical helps improve memory function and promotes mental alertness. Due to the vital role glutamic acid plays in the mental function, some health professionals recommend foods containing glutamic acid or tablets to people with neurological disorders.

Some medical practitioners prescribe glutamic acid pills or supplements to treat conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many medical researchers believe that glutamic acid helps children with behavioral problems by making it easier for them to concentrate.

Furthermore, this amino acid plays an important role in treating several health conditions such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Scientific research has shown that people who suffer from neuropsychological conditions have concentration issues or an unbalanced ratio of neurotransmitters.

Fortifies the Immune System

In addition to improving mental health, glutamic acid synthesizes glutathione, which is one of the most important and effective antioxidants present in the body. It neutralizes free radicals and helps protect the cells, while strengthening your immune system.

The Deficiency of Glutamic Acid

Glutamic acid deficiency can occur in people with a weakened immune system or malnourished individuals. People who suffer from the deficiency of glutamic acid may experience the following symptoms:

  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • lethargy
  • inability to concentrate

Dietary Sources

Glutamic acid is usually present in high protein foods such as eggs, meat, fish, and other dairy products. Please note that some protein-rich vegetables also contain glutamic acid in high amounts. Other than this, glutamic acid in food includes some legumes like beans and lentils.


Most people obtain a sufficient amount of this amino acid from their daily diet, so they do not need supplementation of glutamic acid. However, many athletes and bodybuilders use glutamic acid supplements, as it helps in supporting the body during sports competitions and challenging exercises. It is important to consult your doctor before taking any supplements. Generally, it is safe to take glutamic acid supplements. Some glutamic acid side effects include fatigue and headaches.

The Main Takeaway

Glutamic acid plays a key role in several bodily functions, which also includes protein synthesis. It also acts as a vital neurotransmitter; your body uses glutamic acid to maintain the production level of other neurotransmitters. In addition to that, glutamic acid is critical for a healthy nervous system, improved brain function, and brain development.

Glutamic acid helps in stimulating long-term memory, learning, alertness, and improves other cognitive functions. This chemical plays an important role in energy production and eradicating the toxic ammonia from your muscles. Therefore, it supports muscle function and development.

Many health professionals use glutamic acid in various treatments for several neurological disorders. You can find glutamic acid in foods or supplements.

Some medical evidence has also found that it contributes to heart health and promotes prostate health. In conclusion, the effects of glutamic acid on overall health are quite positive, and it helps people struggling with mental disorders. Many people consume glutamic acid through biosynthesis and diet; however, it is always important to consult your doctor to know the proper glutamic acid dosage.


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.