In humans, the body is capable of producing its own glutamic acid. It is thus not dependent upon getting glutamic acid from ingested food. Glutamate is glutamic acid to which a mineral ion has been attached. Glutamic acid and glutamine come from two different types of classes of amino acids. One of the big differences between the two is that glutamic acid is a nonessential amino acid and glutamine is a conditional amino acid.
Glutamine is one of the amino acids that make up the gluten protein but glutamine is not the same thing as gluten. One big difference is that we make glutamine. The human body does not make gluten. While not cancer-causing, gluten can compromise sensitive human digestive tracts.
Likewise with exogenous glutamine because cancer has a hard time coping without it, if only because cancer’s metabolism shifts to glutamine as fuel when glucose is deficient.
Nutritionist scientists have known this fact for over twenty years.
“Numerous studies on glutamine metabolism in cancer indicate that many tumors are avid glutamine consumers in vivo and in vitro. As a consequence of progressive tumor growth, host glutamine depletion develops and becomes a hallmark. This glutamine depletion occurs in part because the tumor behaves as a “glutamine trap” but also because of cytokine-mediated alterations in glutamine metabolism in host tissues.” (1)
Furthermore, glutamine plays a required role in the uptake of essential amino acid and in maintaining activation of TOR kinase. In many cancer cells, glutamine is the primary mitochondrial substrate and is required to maintain mitochondrial membrane potential and integrity as well as support of the NADPH production needed for redox control and macromolecular synthesis. (2)
As Thomas Seyfried and his team (Flores, Poff and D’Agostino) have suggested, it is reasonable to reduce cancer’s two primary fuels, glucose and glutamine in favor of a more ketogenic diet.
“Cancer growth and progression can be managed following a whole body transition from fermentable metabolites, primarily glucose and glutamine, to respiratory metabolites, primarily ketone bodies.” (3)
It thus make sense for cancer patients to minimize glutamic acid, glutamate, glutamine and gluten rich foods. When needed, as glutamine is essential for the immune system and tissue repair, the body will makes its own glutamine from glutamic acid. By minimizing exogenous glutamic acid and glutamine rich foods, cancer’s growth will be better controled.
While we do not recommend eliminating all sources of glutamic acid and glutamine for long periods of time, reason commands a judicial use of these two amino acids under the supervision of competent health-care professionals, including via specific culinary preparations. (4) ACR Institute’s food charts indicate which foods are rich in glutamine and glutamic acid. See also ACR Institute’s filmed interview where Dr Kobayeshi and Professor Seyfriend talk about glutamine’s role as cancer fuel.
1. W W Souba, Glutamine and cancer. Ann Surg. 1993 Dec; 218(6): 715–728
2. David R. Wise and Craig B. Thompson, Glutamine Addiction: A New Therapeutic Target in Cancer, Trends Biochem Sci. 2010 Aug; 35(8): 427–433.
3. Thomas N. Seyfried,* Roberto E. Flores, Angela M. Poff, 1 and Dominic P. D’Agostino, Cancer as a metabolic disease: implications for novel therapeutics, Carcinogenesis. 2014 Mar; 35(3): 515–527.
4. Since cooking destroys glutamine, cooking high-glutamine vegetables like cabbage, beets, parley or spinash may be indicated under certain conditions.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this educational blog should be construed as medical advise.
2016 (c) Advanced Cancer Research Institute and agents. All Rights Reserved