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Do Critically Ill Patients Need Enteral Glutamine Supplementation?

Edmunds, Christina BSc, RD, CNSC; Ziegler, Jane DCN, RD, LDN, CNSD; MacDonald, Angela DCN, RD, CNSC

doi: 10.1097/TIN.0b013e31826f9032
Clinical Question Exploration

Glutamine is an amino acid that is used for many important processes in the body. Products of its metabolism are key substrates for many cell and organ functions. Glutamine appears to become a conditionally essential amino acid during times of metabolic stress, and it is used at a high rate by immune cells and gut mucosal cells. Studies have investigated whether supplemental enteral glutamine improves clinical outcomes in critically ill patients; however, there is a lack of clear evidence. Currently it is only recommended that enteral glutamine supplementation be considered for critically ill burn and trauma patients.

Graduate Programs in Clinical Nutrition, School of Health Related Professions, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey (Ms Edmunds and Drs Ziegler and MacDonald); Clinical Nutrition Department, Fraser Health Authority, New Westminster, British Columbia (Ms Edmunds).

Correspondence: Christina Edmunds, BSc, RD, CNSC, Fraser Health Authority, Clinical Nutrition, Royal Columbian Hospital, 330 East Columbia St, New Westminster, BC, Canada, V7L 3W7 (

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.