Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Short Communication
  • Published:

Glutamine supplementation favors weight loss in nondieting obese female patients. A pilot study



Glutamine supplementation improves insulin sensitivity in critically ill patients, and prevents obesity in animals fed a high-fat diet. We hypothesized that glutamine supplementation favors weight loss in humans. Obese and overweight female patients (n=6) were enrolled in a pilot, cross-over study. After recording anthropometric (that is, body weight, waist circumference) and metabolic (that is, glycemia, insulinemia, homeostatic model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR)) characteristics, patients were randomly assigned to 4-week supplementation with glutamine or isonitrogenous protein supplement (0.5 g/KgBW/day). During supplementation, patients did not change their dietary habits nor lifestyle. At the end, anthropometric and metabolic features were assessed, and after 2 weeks of washout, patients were switched to the other supplement for 4 weeks. Body weight and waist circumference significantly declined only after glutamine supplementation (85.0±10.4 Kg vs 82.2±10.1 Kg, and 102.7±2.0 cm vs 98.9±2.9 cm, respectively; P=0.01). Insulinemia and HOMA-IR declined by 20% after glutamine, but not significantly so. This pilot study shows that glutamine is safe and effective in favoring weight loss and possibly enhancing glucose metabolism.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Stevens GA, Singh GM, Lu Y, Danaei G, Lin JK, Finucane MM et al.. National, regional, and global trends in adult overweight and obesity prevalences. Popul Health Metr 2012; 10: 22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Berthoud HR . The neurobiology of food intake in an obesogenic environment. Proc Nutr Soc 2012; 71: 478–487.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bo S, Ciccone G, Durazzo M, Ghinamo L, Villois P, Canil S et al.. Contributors to the obesity and hyperglycemia epidemics. A prospective study in a population-based cohort. Int J Obes (Lond) 2011; 35: 1442–1449.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Curi R, Lagranha CJ, Doi SQ, Sellitti DF, Procopio J, Pithon-Curi TC et al.. Molecular mechanisms of glutamine action. J Cell Physiol 2005; 204: 392–401.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Grau T, Bonet A, Minambres E, Pineiro L, Irles JA, Robles A et al.. The effect of L-alanyl-L-glutamine dipeptide supplemented total parenteral nutrition on infectious morbidity and insulin sensitivity in critically ill patients. Crit Care Med 2011; 39: 1263–1268.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Opara EC, Petro A, Tevrizian A, Feinglos MN, Surwit RS . L-glutamine supplementation of a high fat diet reduces body weight and attenuates hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia in C57BL/6J mice. J Nutr 1996; 126: 273–279.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Prada PO, Hirabara SM, de Souza CT, Schenka AA, Zecchin HG, Vassallo J et al.. L-glutamine supplementation induces insulin resistance in adipose tissue and improves insulin signalling in liver and muscle of rats with diet-induced obesity. Diabetologia 2007; 50: 1949–1959.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Greenfield JR, Farooqi IS, Keogh JM, Henning E, Habib AM, Blackwood A et al.. Oral glutamine increases circulating glucagon-like peptide 1, glucagon, and insulin concentrations in lean, obese, and type 2 diabetic subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2009; 89: 106–113.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Samocha-Bonet D, Wong O, Synnott E-L, Piyaratna N, Douglas A, Gribble FM et al.. Glutamine reduces postprandial glycemia and augments the glucagon-like peptide 1 response in type 2 diabetes patients. J Nutr 2011; 141: 1233–1238.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Oudemans-van Stratten HM, Bosman RJ, Treskes M, van der Spoel HJ, Zandstra DF . Plasma glutamine depletion and patient outcome in acute ICU admissions. Intensive Care Med 2001; 27: 84–90.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Products were generously provided by Nutricia, which was not involved in the design of the study, nor in the analysis of the results.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to A Laviano.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

Dr Rossi Fanelli has received research funds and compensation for consultation from Fresenius Kabi. Dr Laviano has received compensation for consultation from Abbott, Baxter, Danone Research, Fresenius Kabi. The remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Laviano, A., Molfino, A., Lacaria, M. et al. Glutamine supplementation favors weight loss in nondieting obese female patients. A pilot study. Eur J Clin Nutr 68, 1264–1266 (2014).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links