The amino acid called glutamic acid performs a major role in the central nervous system as an excitatory neurotransmitter which increases the rate of firing in the synapse of the neurons. Glutamic acid is considered to be a very vital excitatory neurotransmitter in the synapses present in the brain and the spinal cord. This molecule is also an essential chemical precursor of the neurotransmitter called GABA – a major sedative neurotransmitter in the human body.
German chemist Karl Heinrich Leopold Ritthausen was the first to discover glutamic acid as well as categorize it in 1866. Several years later, in 1907, Kikunae Ikeda, a Japanese researcher at the Tokyo Imperial University, spotted the brown color crystals left as residue following the evaporation of a huge amount of kombu broth in the form of glutamic acid. When tasted, the brown crystals replicated the indescribable, but indisputable flavour that Ikeda discovered in several foods, most particularly in seaweed.
Glutamic acid is found in abundance in food sources such as meat and poultry, as well as fish, eggs, and dairy products in common with other amino acids. Glutamic acid is also found in certain protein rich plant food sources.
The majority of protein rich food sources are abundant in their glutamic acid content, this is the reason that individual deficiency in glutamic acid is likely to develop only in individuals suffering from protein deficiencies.
The amino acid glutamic acid is basically an antecedent to an antioxidant called glutathione. This amino acid is effective in promoting the mental functioning, in addition to treating several personality plus behavioural problems. In addition, glutamic acid may also be utilized as a remedy for exhaustion, depression, and alcoholism. It may be noted that glutamic acid also forms an element of a vitamin folic acid, which assists the body to break down all amino acids. Moreover, the brain may utilize glutamic acid in the form of a fuel.
As aforementioned, glutamic acid facilitates in curing personality disorders and is also effective in the treatment of behavioural disorders during the childhood days. Glutamic acid is an element of folic acid or folate, which is a B vitamin that facilitates the body in breaking down amino acids. Since one of the salts of glutamic acid is monosodium glutamate (MSG), people who have allergic reactions to MSG should preferably keep away from it.
Glutamic acid plays a very important role in the metabolism of
sugars and fats in the body. The amino acid is also very important in facilitating the transportation of the essential mineral potassium across the blood brain barrier. Glutamic acid is found in the blood in very high concentrations, however, it is not able to pass across the blood brain barrier as easily as glutamine, but it tends to reach the brain in small amounts due to its abundance in the blood. Glutamic acid is also used as a metabolic fuel by the brain aside from its neuro-transmitting role. One of the main roles played by glutamic acid includes the detoxification of ammonia in the body by picking up free nitrogen atoms in the body, this metabolic process results in the creation of another related amino acid called glutamine. This bio-chemical conversion of glutamic acid into glutamine is the only pathway through which ammonia present in the brain is detoxified and converted into less harmful constituents.
Personality disorders can be corrected by glutamic acid and this amino acid is also very helpful in the treatment of childhood behavioural disorders which arise due to bio-chemical imbalances. Glutamic acid is used as a supplement in treating cases of epilepsy, it is also used to treat mental retardation, disorders such as muscular dystrophy, as well as ulcers and cases of hypoglycemic coma, the amino acid is also very useful in the treatment of complications arising from insulin treatment of patients affected by diabetes.
In addition to the above mentioned uses of glutamic acid, this amino acid also assists in speeding up recuperation of the muscle cells following any intense work-out, for instance, weight training. Intense work-outs have the potential to raise the ammonia levels within the muscle cells. In such cases, glutamic acid helps to get rid of the surplus ammonia by means of coalescing with ammonia to form glutamine. Subsequently, glutamine is eradicated from the muscle cells.
Glutamic acid is also nourishment that has the ability to go into the brain, where it accumulates the surplus ammonia. The brain produces excessive amounts of ammonia by means of its natural functioning. In addition, glutamic acid also works in the form of a messenger inside the brain and may possibly function to enhance mental attentiveness as well as sharpen the thinking process. It may be noted here that glutamic acid has been utilized in the treatment of several ailments related to the brain, for instance, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease as well as mental retardation.
Supplemental glutamic acid is not required by healthy individuals. The appropriate dosage regimen for this particular nutrient can be determined after consultation with a nutritionally oriented medical professional.
Side effects and cautions
Supplements of glutamic acid are usually free of any major side effects at least in the vast majority of people who have undergone such supplementation. All individuals who are affected by kidney or liver disease must not consume high amounts of any of the amino acids unless under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Medical supervision is necessary when supplements are used for the treatment of affected children. Glutamic acid and glutamine supplements may affect individuals with some form of sensitivity to monosodium glutamate (MSG). Such individuals might experience an allergic reaction to the amino acid supplements. A doctor should be consulted before any of these compounds are used for supplemental purposes.