Glutamine is an important amino acid with many key functions such as providing energy and maintaining good intestinal health.
It also has anti-inflammatory effects on for example white blood cells and T-cells that are important for the immune system.
In a recent study from Karolinska Institutet and the University of Oxford, researchers found that glutamine could help people with obesity reduce inflammation of fat tissue and reduce fat mass.
They also show how glutamine levels can alter gene expression in several different cell types.
However, more research is needed before glutamine supplementation may be recommended as a treatment for obesity.
The study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism. One author is Mikael Ryden, professor and senior physician at the Department of Medicine in Huddinge.
In the study, the researchers examined how the metabolic processes differed in fat tissue collected from the abdomen of 52 obese and 29 non-obese women.
They found glutamine as the amino acid that displayed the largest differences when comparing the two groups.
People with obesity had on average lower levels of glutamine in their fat tissue than normal-weight people.
Lower glutamine-levels were also associated with larger fat cell size and higher body fat percentage independently of body-mass index (BMI).
The findings suggest that treatment with glutamine could be of value against obesity and insulin resistance.
However, glutamine is also important for cell division and the metabolism of cancer.
Therefore, more research on possible long-term side effects is needed before glutamine may be recommended as a dietary supplement to help treat obesity and its complications.
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