Glycine is a great supplement to reduce inflammation, build muscle and joint tissue, reduce wrinkles, improve your sleep, and heal your liver all in a breakfast shake.
What is Glycine?
Glycine is one of many amino acids that commonly comprise protein. It is the smallest of all amino acids and is incredibly important for the synthesis of other amino acids, glutathione, creatine, heme, RNA/DNA, and it can also help with the absorption of calcium in the body [1, 2].
Glycine is sometimes called a semi-essential nutrient because it is both made by the body and obtained from food, although the combination of the two is not always enough to supply various tissues, bone, muscle, and skin with what is needed.
The average person usually can make roughly 3g of glycine, and usually consume 1.5 – 3.0 g from food, making their daily intake from roughly 4.5 – 6g .
Clinical and nutritional studies over twenty years indicate that the amount of glycine available in humans is not enough to meet metabolic needs and that a dietary supplement is appropriate (see the body of study) .
One study suggests that humans may fall significantly short of the amount needed for all metabolic uses – by about 10 g per day for a 70 kg (154 lbs) human .
What Are the Benefits of Glycine?
1) It’s an Anti-inflammatory
Glycine acts directly on inflammatory cells to suppress the activation of transcription factors, the formation of free radicals, and inflammatory cytokines .
In this same study, glycine fed rats who had liver damage and also injected with a toxin had an 83% survival rate, whereas the non-glycine control group had 0% rate of survival .
2) Helps You Sleep and Function Better on Less Sleep
Taking glycine before sleep improves sleep quality and sleep efficacy by increasing the time to fall asleep, and slow wave deep sleep .
After taking glycine for sleep, the following day subjects had lessened daytime sleepiness and improved performance of memory recognition tasks .
Glycine helps improve REM sleep and decrease non-REM sleep .
3g Glycine given to volunteers before sleeping resulted in improvements in fatigue, ‘liveliness and peppiness’, ‘clear-headedness’ .
Glycine appears to improve daytime sleepiness and fatigue induced by sleep deprivation .
This effect on the SCN indirectly contributes to reducing sleepiness and fatigue induced by sleep restriction .
3) Improves the Skin
Collagen peptide is beneficial in suppressing UV-B induced skin damage and photoaging .
Women taking 2.5g of collagen peptide for 4 weeks significantly reduced eye wrinkles by 20%, with positive effects lasting after the study ended .
At 8 weeks, collagen significantly improved skin content of procollagen type I by 65%, and elastin by 18%.
Glycine increases the speed by nearly double of which skin ulcers heal .
Glycine enhances wound healing in diabetic animal models .
Glycine in combination with l-cysteine and dl-threonine topically applied to leg ulcerations significantly improved the degree of wound healing and decreased pain .
4) Helps the Gut
Glycine inhibits stomach acid secretion and protects against chemical and stress-induced ulcers .
Glycine possesses significant anti-ulcer activity .
Glycine prevents chemically induced colitis in animal models .
Glycine prevents alcohol-induced stomach lesions (ex. ulcers) when used as a pretreatment in animal models .
Glycine can dramatically help increase the tolerability of Aspirin in the upper GI tract .
In small intestine grafts, glycine improves smooth muscle dysfunction after transplantation as well as reduces inflammation .
Glycine, but not L-arginine, is able to maintain intestinal wall integrity and mucosa in cancer treatment irradiation in animal models .
5) May Help Your Thyroid
6) Can Help the Brain
In rats with alcohol poisoning, glycine was able to reduce the accumulation of cholesterol, free fatty acids, and triglycerides in blood circulation, liver, and brain. Ultimately, this decreases swelling in the brain .
A shortage of glycine in the brain can negatively influence the brain neurochemistry, synthesis of collagen, RNA/DNA, porphyrins, and other important metabolites .
7) Helps Mental Illnesses
Glycine supplementation has been shown in one instance over the course of 5 years to significantly reduce symptoms of OCD and body dysmorphic disorder .
Glycine has positive results when used in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults .
Glycine supplementation significantly reduced symptoms of schizophrenia .
In treatment-resistant schizophrenia glycine improved cognitive and depressive symptoms (dosed at 0.8g/kg).
Interestingly, the group who made the most improvement were also the most deficient in glycine .
Glycine helps in chronic schizophrenia by increasing NMDA-receptor-mediated neurotransmission .
This effect on NMDA-receptor-mediated neurotransmission allows for glycine to work synergistically with schizophrenia medication .
8) May Help Combat Depression
Depression is associated with lower levels of blood glycine, as well as high levels of taurine .
9) May Reduce Obesity
10-11) Helps With Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders
Glycine helps with diabetes and metabolic disorders .
Glycine intake decreases free fatty acids in blood, fat tissue cell size, and blood pressure in sucrose-fed rats .
Glycine reduces glycated hemoglobin (A1C), a risk factor associated with poor blood glucose management in patients with type 2 diabetes. The dose was 5g/d .
Diabetic patients have 26% lower blood glycine levels than “normal” population .
Glycine helps patients with oxidative stress in the development of metabolic syndrome .
12) May Help Glucose Balance
Glycine can help with positive glucose management by stimulating the production of Glucagon, a hormone which helps potentiate the action of insulin .
13) Helps Reduce Inflammation From High Fructose
In mice fed with various types of sugar, TNF-alpha is significantly higher in mice fed fructose .
Glycine has protective properties against the harms of Fructose by its ability to prevent the release of the inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6) release with fructose exposure .
14-15) Helps Your Heart and Lowers Blood Pressure
In heart attack conditions (Post-ischaemic reperfusion) glycine can prevent the death of heart muscle cells by inhibiting mitochondrial permeability .
16-18) Helps with Joints, Bones, and Muscle
Glycine can help body composition and muscle strength in people with HIV .
Glycine protects against (peptidoglycan polysaccharide-induced) arthritis .
Glycine can potentially help in menopause because of its estrogen-like bone protective effects .
Glycine plays a large role in maintaining the health of mice suffering from osteoarthritis .
19) Helps the Liver
In rats with alcohol poisoning, feeding glycine reduced accumulation of cholesterol, phospholipids, free fatty acids and triglycerides in blood circulation, liver, and brain, ultimately reversing liver disorder associated with fat accumulation .
Glycine reduces liver damage and decreases mortality rates in rats suffering from a serious bacterial infection (sepsis) .
Supplementation of glycine for five days in animal models prior to complete or partial liver donation significantly inhibited liver injury and liver-related enzymes .
Glycine maintains mitochondrial activity and bile composition in liver injury in animals .
20) Slows Alcohol Absorption
Glycine slows alcohol absorption by reducing the rate at which the stomach absorbs alcohol as well as empties into the intestine .
Blood alcohol levels were significantly lower in individuals who had consumed glycine prior to intoxication over controls who had not .
21) Helps the Kidneys
Kidney tubes (proximal tubules) are resistant to oxygen deprivation damage if glycine is present in the test tube .
22) Prevents Cavities
In rat models, supplementation with 4% glycine caused a 65.7% reduction of cavity occurrence .
23) Can Help Stroke Patients
Those who consume regularly low doses of glycine actually reduce damage in future strokes .
The glycine treatment at the dose of 1 – 2g/day was accompanied by a tendency to a decreased risk of dying over 30-days .
Note: Some of the scientific sources obtained for this article was found on Vladamir Heiskanen’s blog.
Supplementing With Glycine
How Much Glycine Do I Take?
I try to get in about 3 – 5g of extra glycine daily, either from pure Glycine Powder or from 20g of Collagen.
Side Effects of Glycine
Slight sedation is a possible side effect of taking Glycine . This is often why it is recommended to take in the evening.
Potential Downsides of Glycine
In a Japanese study of nearly 30,000 patients, the risk of dying after stroke may be increased by meat consumption. The scientists suggest it is the increase in glutamic acid and glycine which cause this correlation .
Glycine is not recommended to take while suffering from diarrhea. It may worsen the condition and lead to poor rehydration .
Top Foods with The Highest Glycine Content
You can get a good amount of glycine from glycine, collagen or gelatin.
A list of foods high with glycine:
- Soy Protein Isolate
Collagen contains 22 – 30% glycine. Adding 1 – 2 tbsp. a day to a breakfast smoothie will give you an additional 2.5 – 3.5g glycine per Tbls.
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