Both glutamine and glutathione are produced naturally in the body. However, they are available as supplements as well. We can take these supplements orally.
What is L-Glutamine?
L-glutamine is an isomer of glutamine amino acid. Glutamine is a chiral molecule that has non-superimposable mirror images. Therefore, there are two isomers of glutamine: L-glutamine and D-glutamine. Moreover, L-glutamine is abundant in the body and participates in various functions. Furthermore, beef, chicken, eggs, fish, milk, cabbage, beets, beans, spinach, and parsley are dietary sources of L-glutamine.
Glutamine can be described as one of the main amino acids that are not essential. It is abbreviated as Gln. The R group of this compound has an additional amine group. The structure of L-glutamine is related to the structure of glutamic acid; however, glutamine has an amide side chain instead of a hydroxyl group of glutamic acid. Glutamine has the following structure:
L-Glutamine has various functions in biological systems. For example, it participates in the formation of proteins as any other amino acids. Moreover, glutamine is responsible for regulating the acid-base balance in the kidneys. It functions as a nitrogen and carbon source as well as an energy source after glucose. The ammonia produced from metabolic activities is toxic to cells when it is free. However, glutamine is a nontoxic way of transporting ammonia in the blood.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is an antioxidant compound existing in plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and some archaea. L Glutathione is the most abundant isomer of glutathione; thus, it is generally known as glutathione. This compound can prevent damage to important cellular components, which are caused by reactive oxygen species, including free radicals, peroxides, lipid peroxides, and some heavy metals.
When considering the chemical structure of L-glutathione, it is a tripeptide compound having a gamma peptide linkage between cysteine and the carboxyl group (in the glutamate side chain). It is freely soluble in water and insoluble in organic solvents such as methanol and diethyl ether.
There are two steps of the biosynthesis of L-glutathione. The first step includes the synthesis of gamma-glutamylcysteine from L-glutamate and cysteine. The second step includes the addition of the C-terminal of gamma-glutamylcysteine catalyzed by glutathione synthetase.
As an antioxidant, it can protect the cells by neutralizing reactive species of oxygen. In addition, it can participate in thiol protection and redox regulation in cellular thiol proteins (in the presence of oxidative stress). Moreover, glutathione takes part in many metabolic reactions, including the biosynthesis of leukotrienes and prostaglandins.
What is the Difference Between L Glutamine and Glutathione?
L-glutamine and glutathione are important compounds for the human body. The key difference between L glutamine and glutathione is that L-glutamine is an amino acid, whereas glutathione is an antioxidant.
Below is a summary of the difference between L glutamine and glutathione in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – L Glutamine vs Glutathione
L-glutamine is an isomer of glutamine amino acid. Glutamine is a chiral molecule that has non-superimposable mirror images. Glutathione is an antioxidant compound existing in plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and some archaea. The key difference between L glutamine and glutathione is that L glutamine is an amino acid, whereas glutathione is an antioxidant.
1. “Glutamine.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine.