Baseline dietary glutamic acid intake is associated with a lower risk for developing colorectal cancer, particularly in people who are not overweight, a study published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer has shown.1

Although animal studies have demonstrated that glutamine supplementation may reduce colon carcinogenesis, there is limited evidence surrounding glutamine intake or its precursors and their association with colorectal cancer in humans. Therefore, researchers in the Netherlands sought to evaluate whether dietary glutamic acid intake was associated with colorectal cancer risk.

For this analysis, researchers analyzed data from the Rotterdam study, which included a prospective cohort of 5362 participants 55 years or older who did not have colorectal cancer at baseline. Of those, 242 developed the disease during follow-up.

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Results showed that baseline dietary glutamic acid intake was significantly associated with a reduced risk for developed colorectal cancer (HR per percent increase in glutamic acid of protein, 0.78; 95% CI: 0.62-0.99). Researchers found that after stratifying subjects based on body mass index (BMI), participants with a BMI 25 kg/m2 or lower had a 42% reduced risk for colorectal cancer by dietary glutamic acid (HR per percent increase in glutamic acid of protein, 0.58; 95% CI: 0.40-0.85).

In contrast, there was no association found between dietary glutamic acid intake and colorectal cancer risk among participants with a BMI greater than 25 kg/m2 (HR per percent increase in glutamic acid of protein, 0.97; 95% CI: 0.73-1.31).

Glutamic acid is an amino acid that plays a key role in cellular metabolism and is a neurotransmitter involved in certain cognitive functions. Foods rich in glutamic acid include eggs, soy protein isolate, chicken, seeds, cheese, and fish.


Viana Veloso GG, Franco OH, Ruiter R, et al. Baseline dietary glutamic intake and the risk of colorectal cancer: The Rotterdam study [published online ahead of print December 30, 2015]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.29862.