Skip to main content

Glutamate is produced in the human body and plays an essential role in metabolism.

Almost two kilograms (about four pounds) of naturally occurring glutamate are found in muscles, in the brain, in kidneys, in the liver and in other organs and tissues.

The monosodium glutamate added to foods to improve taste represents only a small amount of the total glutamate present in most foods. For example, the average daily amount of glutamate consumed in bound form as protein from food is about 15 grams. In addition, about 1 gram of free glutamate in food would also be consumed during the same day. In contrast, average daily intake of added monosodium glutamate ranges between 0.5 grams and 3.0 grams a day, dependent upon local dietary customs and cuisine.

In addition, glutamate is found in abundance in mothers’ milk, at levels about four to six times that found in cows’ milk:

Free Glutamate in Mother’s Milk Mg/100 Grams
Humans 21.6
Chimpanzees 38.9
Rhesus monkeys 4.6
Cows 1.9
Sheep 1.4
Mice 2.2

Glutamate in Our Bodies and Glutamate Metabolism

The average person consumes between 10 and 20 grams of glutamate bounded to proteins and one gram of free glutamate from our daily foods. In addition, the approximate net production of glutamate in the human body is 50 grams of free glutamate per day.

Regarding glutamate metabolism, most dietary glutamate is rapidly metabolized and is used as an energy source. From a nutritional perspective, glutamate is a non-essential amino acid, which means that our bodies can make their own glutamate from other protein sources if necessary. Produced naturally in the body for a variety of essential functions, glutamate is an important building block of protein. It has a key role in the metabolism of major nutrients and is important for the reconstruction of body protein and the metabolism of energy. The human body naturally creates and metabolizes glutamate every day.

The glutamate that naturally occurs in many foods and the glutamate added as monosodium glutamate are exactly the same. The body metabolizes all glutamate in the same way.

glutamate in human body