Glutamic acid, also called glutamate, is an excitatory neurotransmitter that increases the firing of neurons in the central nervous system. It is a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal caord. It is converted into either glutamine
or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), two other amino acids that help pass messages to the brain.
Glutamic Acid is important in the metabolism of sugars and fats, and aids in the transportation of potassium into the spinal fluid and across blood-brain barrier. Although it does not pass the blood-brain barrier as readily as glutamine does, it is found at high levels in the blood and may infiltrate the brain in small amounts. The brain can use glutamic acid
Glutamic acid helps to correct personality disorders and is useful in treating childhood behavioral disorders. It is used in the treatment of epilepsy, mental retardation, muscular dystrophy, ulcers, and hypoglycemic coma, a complication of insulin treatment for diabetes. It is a component of folate (folic acid
), a B vitamin that helps the body break down amino acids
. Because one of its salts is monosodium glutamate (MSG), glutamic acid should be avoided by anyone who is allergic to MSG.