Glutamic Acid is an amino acid.
The molecular formula of Glutamic Acid is C5H9NO4
Amino acids generally are explained further in the column on the rightin further detail below. Briefly, there are two types of amino acid:
- Those that can be synthesized by the body itself (non-essential amino acids), and
- those that, although necessary for the healthy growth or maintenance of the body, cannot be produced by the body itself.
This second type of amino acids are called essential amino acids, and are also referred to as indispensible amino acids in some textbooks.
Glutamic Acid is a "non-essential" or "dispensible" amino acid because, although its presence in an appropriate quantity is important for good health, the human body can produce this chemical from an excess of certain other amino acids in the body. Therefore it is not essential as a part of the diet.
Glutamic Acid is important for healthy brain function as it is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the nervous system. Overstimulation of glutamic acid occurs as part of the ischemic cascade and is associated with diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, lathyrism, and Alzheimer's disease (see also Alzheimers Disease in the news).
Glutamic acid has been associated with epileptic seizures.
For further information about amino acids in general, see Amino Acids.