What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is one of the non-essential amino acids which is encoded by CAA and CAG. It is one of the conditional-essential amino acids in a few situations such as gastrointestinal disorders or intensive athletic training. This amino acid has one carboxyl group, one amino group along with the amide group in the side-chain of the carboxyl group.

The essential amino acids are the ones which are very much necessary in our diets as the body does not synthesize it or builds them for any other chemicals. The non-essential amino acids are synthesized by our body from other chemicals and are also a dietary source.

Glutamine has a molecular formula C5H10N2O3 and is abbreviated as ‘Gln’ or even as ‘Q’. This amino acid is one among the twenty amino acids which are needed by human beings and animals to function properly. This element is said to be vital in the synthesis of protein, donation of carbon and nitrogen and for the cellular energy as well as for the functioning of the kidney. The glutamine structure is what makes it a special kind of amino acid.

This amino acid plays a vital role when related to stress. The stress which is caused by trauma, burns, excessive exercise and the various diseases like cancer very often result in the glutamine deficiency. It provides a number of important functions and also develops supplements helping the body to recover from the stress.

Structure of Glutamine

The structure of Glutamine is as shown in the figure below.

Structure of Glutamine

The side chain of this glutamine is known as a simple amide or amino group – NH2. It is located in the end region of the R-group. It consists of other group called the carboxylic group on the other end of the carbon atom. Glutamine is usually a linear molecule which behaves as a polar molecule having positive and negative charges. The amino acid is considered to be water-loving as it is polar in nature.

Glutamine consists of other 2-molecules named glutamate and ammonia with the use of an enzyme called as glutamine synthetase. This is mostly done in the muscles and sometimes in the lungs, brain tissues and the liver.

Glutamine – Uses and Functions

The human body synthesizes more amount of glutamine which is further involved in numerous biochemical processes of life. It involves the metabolic process occurring in the kidney and the liver, etc. Some of the functions and glutamine uses are as follows.

  • Glutamine helps in the synthesis of proteins in the human body.
  • It helps the body in the formation of energy and this amino acid is said to be the highest concentration of a free-floating amino acid in the blood.
  • Glutamine is said to have the capability of donating carbon and nitrogen atoms in various processes such as anabolic, metabolic, cell divisions and etc.
  • It helps in regulating the acid-base balance within the kidneys by producing enough amount of ammonium.
  • It helps in the synthesis of lipids in the cancer cells.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


Write the molecular formula of glutamine.

Glutamine has a molecular formula C5H10N2O3 and is abbreviated as ‘Gln’ or even as ‘Q’.

What are the uses of glutamine?

Glutamine helps in the synthesis of proteins in the human body. It helps in the synthesis of lipids in the cancer cells.

Define amino acids.

In simpler terms, Amino acids are organic compounds containing the basic amino groups (-NH2) and carboxyl groups (-COOH).

Give examples of essential amino acids.

Essential amino acids cannot be synthesized and hence must come from our diet. The 9 essential amino acids are – Isoleucine, histidine, lysine, leucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, methionine, threonine, and valine.

Why are amino acids called amphoteric?

Amino acids have both acidic and basic properties. This is why they are amphoteric. The predominant form of the amino acid is based on the pH of the solution.

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