Sports Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 323–345 | Cite as

Glutamine Supplementation In Vitro and In Vivo, in Exercise and in Immunodepression

  • Linda M. CastellEmail author
Review Article


In situations of stress, such as clinical trauma, starvation or prolonged, strenuous exercise, the concentration of glutamine in the blood is decreased, often substantially. In endurance athletes this decrease occurs concomitantly with relatively transient immunodepression. Glutamine is used as a fuel by some cells of the immune system. Provision of glutamine or a glutamine precursor, such as branched chain amino acids, has been seen to have a beneficial effect on gut function, on morbidity and mortality, and on some aspects of immune cell function in clinical studies. It has also been seen to decrease the self-reported incidence of illness in endurance athletes. So far, there is no firm evidence as to precisely which aspect of the immune system is affected by glutamine feeding during the transient immunodepression that occurs after prolonged, strenuous exercise. However, there is increasing evidence that neutrophils may be implicated. Other aspects of glutamine and glutamine supplementation are also addressed.


Glutamine Branch Chain Amino Acid Strenuous Exercise Marathon Runner Glutamine Concentration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



There are no conflicts of interest in relation to this review, and the preparation of it was not funded. The author is grateful to Professor Philip Calder for reading the manuscript.


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© Adis Data Information BV 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nuffield Department of AnaestheticsUniversity of OxfordOxfordEngland

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