Glutamine and glutamate: Nonessential or essential amino acids?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Scopus citations


Glutamine and glutamate are not considered essential amino acids but they play important roles in maintaining growth and health in both neonates and adults. Although glutamine and glutamate are highly abundant in most feedstuffs there is increasing evidence that they may be limiting during pregnancy, lactation and neonatal growth, particularly when relatively low protein diets are fed. Supplementation of diets with glutamine, glutamate or both at 0.5 to 1.0% to both suckling and recently weaned piglets improves intestinal and immune function and results in better growth. In addition such supplementation to the sow prevents some of the loss of lean body mass during lactation, and increases milk glutamine content. However, a number of important questions related to physiological condition, species under study and the form and amount of the supplements need to be addressed before the full benefits of glutamine and glutamate supplementation in domestic animal production can be realized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-122
Number of pages4
JournalAnimal Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


  • Amino acid
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamine
  • Growth
  • Lactation
  • Pregnancy

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