Effect of glutamine and protein supplementation on exercise-induced decreases in salivary IgA

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2001 Aug;91(2):832-8. doi: 10.1152/jappl.2001.91.2.832.


Postexercise immune impairment has been linked to exercise-induced decrease in plasma glutamine concentration. This study examined the possibility of abolishing the exercise-induced decrease in salivary IgA through glutamine supplementation during and after intense exercise. Eleven athletes performed cycle ergometer exercise for 2 h at 75% of maximal oxygen uptake on 3 separate days. Glutamine (a total of 17.5 g), protein (a total of 68.5 g/6.2 g protein-bound glutamine), and placebo supplements were given during and up to 2 h after exercise. Unstimulated, timed saliva samples were obtained before exercise and 20 min, 140 min, 4 h, and 22 h postexercise. The exercise protocol induced a decrease in salivary IgA (IgA concentration, IgA output, and IgA relative to total protein). The plasma concentration of glutamine was decreased by 15% 2 h postexercise in the placebo group, whereas this decline was abolished by both glutamine and protein supplements. None of the supplements, however, was able to abolish the decline in salivary IgA. This study does not support that postexercise decrease in salivary IgA is related to plasma glutamine concentrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dietary Proteins*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Glutamine / pharmacology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Endurance
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Saliva / immunology*
  • Sports
  • Time Factors


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory
  • Glutamine