Glutamic Acid

Optimal Result: 10 - 97 umol/L.

Glutamic acid is a nonessential amino acid is derived from the diet and from the breakdown of gut proteins. Glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. It plays a role in neuronal differentiation, migration, and survival in the developing brain. It is also involved in synaptic maintenance, neuroplasticity, learning, and memory. Glutamate is present in many foods including cheese, seafood, meat, and spinach. In spite of intake, the total pool of glutamic acid in the blood is small, due to its rapid uptake and utilization by tissues including muscle and the liver (which uses it to form glucose and lactate). Glutamic acid is also the precursor for arginine, glutamine, proline, GABA, and the polyamines (putrescine, spermine, spermidine). The Cahill Cycle is used to generate pyruvate and glucose in the liver using branch chain amino acids. Glutamate is an end product of this reaction via the enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALT). Glutamate is also an end product of the enzyme ornithine aminotransferase (OAT) in the urea cycle. This urea cycle reaction is a vitamin B6-dependent enzyme which catalyzes the reversible conversion of ornithine to alpha-ketoglutarate, yielding glutamate.

References:

- Garattini S. Glutamic acid, twenty years later. J Nutr. 2000;130(4S Suppl):901s-909s.

- Tapiero H, Mathé G, Couvreur P, Tew KD. II. Glutamine and glutamate. Biomed Pharmacother. 2002;56(9):446-457.

- Briguglio M, Dell’Osso B, Panzica G, et al. Dietary Neurotransmitters: A Narrative Review on Current Knowledge. Nutrients. 2018;10(5):591.

- Reitzer L. Biosynthesis of Glutamate, Aspartate, Asparagine, L-Alanine, and D-Alanine. EcoSal Plus. 2004;1(1).

- Ginguay A, Cynober L, Curis E, Nicolis I. Ornithine Aminotransferase, an Important Glutamate-Metabolizing Enzyme at the Crossroads of Multiple Metabolic Pathways. Biology. 2017;6(1).

- Gropper S SJ, Groff J. Adv Nutr Human Metab. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning; 2009.

- Kang-Yoon SA, Kirksey A. Relation of short-term pyridoxineHCl supplementation to plasma vitamin B-6 vitamers and amino acid concentrations in young women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992;55(4):865-872.

- Jurgens P, Schwartau M, Doehn M. [Disorders of amino acid metabolism in a patient with identified thiamine deficiency]. Infusionstherapie klinische Ernahrung. 1982;9(6):312-316.

- Vannucchi H, Moreno FS, Amarante AR, de Oliveira JE, Marchini JS. Plasma amino acid patterns in alcoholic pellagra patients. Alcohol Alcoholism. 1991;26(4):431-436.

What does it mean if your Glutamic Acid result is too low?

Low protein intake, GI malabsorption, and maldigestion can all contribute to low levels of amino acids. As above, there are many endogenous pathways which create glutamate, each with vitamin and mineral cofactors. Lack of those cofactors should also be considered. No specific symptomatology has been attributed to low glutamic acid levels.

What does it mean if your Glutamic Acid result is too high?

High dietary intake of glutamic acid-containing foods can elevate levels. The sodium salt of glutamic acid, monosodium glutamate (MSG), is common food additive. Intake of foods containing MSG can result in elevated glutamate levels.

Various cofactors are needed for glutamate metabolism including vitamin B1, B3, and B6. Functional deficiencies in these cofactors can contribute to elevated levels. Administration of these nutrients can lower glutamate levels.

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