What Is L-Glutamic Acid?

L-glutamic acid, also known as glutamic acid, is one of the many components of proteins. Like its fellow amino acid glutamate, it is produced naturally by the body; however, it is a different type of amino acid. While many people take glutamine supplements, L-glutamic acid is produced naturally by the body in amounts adequate for most people. It also has some surprising effects on both the brain and the environment.

L-Glutamic Acid

Amino acids are often called the building blocks of proteins, and are what remains after proteins are broken down by the body. There are over 20 types of amino acids, all of which have different properties and effects. According to Medline Plus, L-glutamic acid is a non-essential amino acid. This does not mean your body doesn’t need it; it simply means the body creates L-glutamic acid -- it doesn't rely on diet for its source.

Where Does it Come From?

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Glutamic acid is made by the body, but it can also be found in food sources as well as dietary supplements. Per Providence Health, it is not necessary for most people to supplement L-glutamic acid in their diet, unless advised to do so by a physician. Plenty of L-glutamic acid can be found in meat, eggs, dairy products, chicken and fish. In addition, some plant foods also contain glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is also found in the supplement aisle, and is tolerated well by those without chronic health conditions.

Glutamic Acid Supplements

While it is rarely necessary to supplement l-glutamic acid, Providence Health reports that those who are deficient in protein may require supplementation. However, it is not meant to be taken by everyone. L-glutamic acid stimulates the brain’s glutamate receptors. Because there may be a link between this stimulation in the brain and a few types of neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, you should not take the supplement if you have any nervous system disorders. In addition, you should also avoid L-glutamic acid if you have kidney or liver disease.

Environmental Uses

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You wouldn’t think that a dietary supplement could be used as a pesticide, but this is exactly the case with L-glutamic acid. In fact, it has been on the market as a natural pesticide since early 1998, per the United States Department of Environmental Protection. It can be used on ornamental plants as well as those used for foods, such as fruit trees and other crops. Because it is a natural part of most people’s bodies, it is considered safe for mammals and has little impact on the environment. It is generally designed for commercial use.