Glutamine vs. Glutamate: What’s The Difference?

It is normal to have mistaken glutamine and glutamate for each other. First of all, they are both nonessential amino acids, but that may be their only similarity since the two of them are completely different from each other may it be chemically or depending on their functions in the body.

Glutamine vs Glutamate

Do you have any idea of the difference between Glutamine vs Glutamate? Both of them are related to amino acids, but who knows which is an actual amino acid and which one is not? You have come to the right place because this article is here to help you identify what goes on between glutamine and glutamate; and if they really are similar in nature for them to be normally mistaken as the other one.

What Are Amino Acids?

When it comes to the body’s components, amino acids are considered to be very important. Without amino acids, the body will never function properly, and there may be chances when the body will legitimately suffer in case of the lack of amino acids. Our bodies are made up of thousands of proteins, and the main reason why proteins even exist is because of the amino acids. In short, proteins are made up of amino acids, making them the smaller components and they are also coined as the building blocks of protein. That is how important amino acids are.

There are a total of 20 amino acids, and each of them has significant roles and functions. But before getting into each amino acid, they are first divided into two categories so it will be easier for them to identify. The two categories are characterized by the existence of the amino acids in the body, and they are named as either an essential or nonessential amino acid. 

Essential Amino Acids

Essential amino acids are called essential because the body requires them but they cannot be synthesized by the body itself. Therefore, the only way to get enough of the essential amino acids is to consume them from our diet; so it is 100% dependent on what we eat. It is not usually an issue though, because according to studies we normally get all the essential amino acids from our daily foods. Also, there are a lot of easier ways to get enough essential amino acids because they are a lot of amino acid supplements available these days. Not only do these supplements provide enough of the essential amino acids, but they may also give more wherein our body has the chance to benefit from. 

Nonessential Amino Acids

The nonessential amino acids are not a problem since the body is able to make them without the need for dietary sources. However, it does not hurt to consume more amino acids (whether essential or nonessential) because it is said that getting more of them will help optimize each of their functions, which makes it ideal to take into consideration the consumption of foods rich in nonessential amino acids too. Also, take note that the production of amino acids in the body is similar to how it handles such things as nutrients and others. When the person is sick, it is possible that the body may not be able to produce enough nonessential amino acids, or there may be an underlying condition or disease that prevents the synthesization of the amino acids. Therefore, there is no other way but to get them from the diet instead.

The 20 Amino Acids

Out of the 20 amino acids, 11 are considered to be nonessential while the remaining 9 are the essential amino acids. Thankfully, there are more nonessential amino acids which means the body will be able to take care of the greater amount, and it will be depending on us on how we will be able to supply ourselves with the essential amino acids. The essential amino acids are histidine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine, and valine; they are provided by dietary sources that are rich in protein. 

The nonessential amino acids, on the other hand, are alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartate, cysteine, glutamine, glycine, ornithine, proline, serine, and tyrosine. They are in charge of a lot of body functions including the growth and repair of tissues, aid for optimal immune function, formation, and production of red blood cells, and synthesis of hormones. Also, other body parts such as our hair and nails are also byproducts of the proteins that were supplied by the amino acids in our bodies.

Glutamine vs Glutamate: What’s The Difference

Glutamine vs glutamate is completely different substances. While both of them are nonessential amino acids, they have different biochemical properties and purposes. You may be familiar with monosodium glutamate; it is a food flavoring that contains glutamate or glutamic acid. Glutamine is abundantly used as a supplement that is made for the use of bodybuilders and athletes so they can benefit from its immune health-boosting properties and many other health benefits.

Glutamate is present in both plant-based and animal-based food products, but it is more abundant in plant proteins. Also, since it is normally made into monosodium glutamate which is an ingredient used for most processed foods, glutamate can also be found in those processed foods. Glutamine, however, is present and existing in high amounts in both animal and plant proteins.

The glutamic acid, or glutamate as it is more known to be, is converted in the body as a neurotransmitter that is said to be one of the most important ones in the nervous system. It is also the reason why it is included in the flavoring called monosodium glutamate because instead of providing another flavor it uses its function as a neurotransmitter to send signals to the brain and make it seem like there is a new flavor tasted by the tongue. It does not end there though, as glutamate has more important functions than just making a new flavor for the brain. The amino acid actually helps the brain in terms of memory and learning too. The purpose of glutamine, on the other hand, is more on the immune function and proper digestion of the body.

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