Patients receiving glutamine-supplemented intravenous feedings report an improvement in mood

L. S. Young, R. Bye, M. Scheltinga, T. R. Ziegler, D. O. Jacobs, D. W. Wilmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Nutritional effects have traditionally focused on outcomes, such as nitrogen balance, wound healing, or muscle strength. Little emphasis has been placed on how biochemical or physical improvements translate into functional changes as perceived by the patient. Because glutamine (GLN)-supplemented nutrition promotes protein synthesis and improves nitrogen balance, we assessed the mood of individuals participating in a randomized controlled blinded trial receiving GLN solutions. Patients (n = 23) undergoing marrow transplantation were randomized by the research pharmacist to receive either standard total parenteral nutrition (TPN) (control) or GLN containing TPN (40 g of glutamine total). The solutions were isocaloric and isonitrogenous and were administered until the patient was eating 50% of estimated requirements. Before TPN and on admission to the hospital, the patient completed the Profile of Mood States questionnaire, a standardized test quantifying the degree of tension, depression, anger, vigor, fatigue, and confusion. The patient completed the questionnaire again at the end of TPN near discharge. The tests were scored and the change from baseline for each mood for both groups of patients was calculated at the completion of TPN. The scores for vigor in the control group (Δ scores) decreased over the course of hospitalization as would be expected with a serious illness. The group receiving glutamine TPN, however, essentially, showed little change in vigor from baseline and the Δ score was significantly different, from the control group (Δ vigor score -0.85 ± 2.1 in the glutamine group vs -5.90 ± 1.7 in the control groups p = .07). The control group exhibited little change in feelings of anger over the course of hospitalization; however, the glutamine TPN group felt significantly less angry at the completion of TPN than the control group (Δ anger score -6.2 ± 1.6 in the glutamine group vs -0.5 ± 2.5 in the control group; p = .052). There was a trend for the total mood score (all six moods evaluated together) to exhibit improvement (p = 1). The GLN group also was discharged from the hospital sooner and had fewer infectious episodes. This is one of the first studies to illustrate an improvement in patients' psychosocial status associated with a nutrition intervention. GLN may influence patients' feelings of well-being either directly by affecting central nervous system neurotransmitters or through its effects on the protein status of patients. Psychosocial testing may prove useful in evaluating the functional status of patients receiving nutrition support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-427
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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