L-Glutamate Could Enhance Memory and Learning

Have you heard of L-glutamate? Does it sound weird?

Well, maybe, but this amino acid could surprise you.

A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that long-term supplementation with L-glutamate could have a positive effect on memory and learning.

They also imply that, in the future, it could be used as a therapeutic strategy for neurological disorders.

What’s Important

L-glutamate is a free amino acid and it’s one of the most important neurotransmitters in the body.

It’s an excitatory neurotransmitter, which means that it helps to generate electrical signals between the sending and receiving neurons.

L-glutamate also plays a part in the growth and formation of nervous tissue, as well as in neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to form and strengthen neural connections.

But most importantly, it’s majorly involved in cognitive functions like learning and memory.

Why Does it Matter

Glutamate supplements have been recommended for various purposes, like improving the immune system, building proteins, or maintaining blood glucose levels.

However, it was recently established that L-glutamate can cross the blood-brain barrier to a certain extent - just enough to improve brain function.

Because there is no extensive data on this subject, the current study focused on the effects of long-term intake of Glutamate supplements on learning and memory in animals.

The Results

The study was animal-based and the hypothesis was that the animals should show improvements in their behavior in the duration of the study.

Considering that there is a lack of material on this subject, this study was quite novel.

The results showed that L-glutamate supplementation was largely dose-dependent and that the end results justified the initial objective of the study.

Most importantly, different types of cognitive function in the animals were observed to improve, like muscular strength, motor coordination, and recognition and associative memory. 

In addition, L-glutamate also exhibited some antioxidant properties, known to be helpful in preventing oxidative damage.

Having in mind that this study could be the basis for many future ones on L-glutamate, the scientists who conducted it are aware of the innovation of their approach: “the use of free l-Glu and its beneficial effects in enhancing neurobiological function highlight the novelty of this work.”

It remains to be seen what future studies could contribute to these results.

The Bottom Line

Even though there isn’t enough data just yet, L-glutamate supplementation for improving cognitive function sounds promising.

This amino acid was only recently recognized as an important neurotransmitter in the body, because of the many processes it’s involved in in the central nervous system.

Obviously, many more studies and research would need to be done in the future, but results like these are inspiring.


Resource: Tabassum, S., Ahmad, S., Madiha, S. et al. Free L-glutamate-induced modulation in oxidative and neurochemical profile contributes to enhancement in locomotor and memory performance in male rats. Sci Rep 10, 11206 (2020). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-68041-y 

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