June 24, 2021 4 min read

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    Glycine 101

    Glycine 101

    Glycine, AKA the anti-aging amino acid, has a very important role to play in the body. Glycine is a building block for proteins that make up our connective tissues, regulate our hormones, and produce necessary enzymes. It's also a necessary component of creatine and glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. It is technically considered a non-essential amino acid because it is produced within our bodies. Glycine can be synthesized from choline, serine, hydroxyproline, and threonine or consumed directly via dietary supplements.

    With that said, many consider it "semi-essential" because it's often difficult to get enoughglycine without dietary supplementation. According to WebMd, a typical diet contains about 2 grams of glycine daily from food sources alone. Yet studieshave observed taking high doses of glycine, upwards of 90 grams per day over several weeks, can be done without any serious side effects.

    The role of glycine

    Glycine also acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, specifically in the spinal cord, brain stem, and retina. Inhibitory neurotransmission prevents involuntary muscle movements and spasms and is responsible for motor control and pain perception in adults. When glycine receptors are activated, chloride enters the neuron and causes an inhibitory postsynaptic potential, or prevents an action potential. Glycine is a co-agonist, meaning it works alongside glutamate for NMDA receptors, which are responsible for memory and learning.

    As we age, our natural glycine synthesis begins to slow. This decline is thought to coincide with decreased collagen production, oxidative stress, cognitive decline, and gastrointestinal issues.

    The Benefits of Glycine

    • Produce antioxidants: One of the most powerful effects of glycine is its antioxidant properties. Glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid are the three amino acids needed to produce glutathione, AKA the body's master antioxidant. Antioxidants fend off free radicals and protect every part of our bodies from oxidative stress and the many diseases and complications that come along with it.
    • More energy: Glycine, methionine, and arginine are all necessary components for the biosynthesis of creatine. Creatine provides energy to our neurons when glucose and oxygen fall short (as it often does). This can help to support cognitive function, improve mental clarity, focus, and memory.

    Glycine and sleep quality

    • Improved energy levels: The quantityand quality of your sleep on a daily basis is absolutely critical for your brain and body. Some studies reported improvements in sleep quality and energy levels following nightly glycine supplementation. When taken during the daytime, it may also improve your attention, memory, and energy.
    • Improve symptoms of schizophrenia: Some studies show glycine may be able to reduce psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia when taken with other drugs, except antipsychotic treatment.
    • May protect against muscle loss:Glycine may be able to help produce leucine, an essential amino acid responsible for the growth and repair of muscle and bone tissues.

    Glycine and collagen production

    • May improve gut health: Glycine can improve gut health in a number of roundabout ways. As mentioned above, glycine is a component of collagen, the protein that supports our connective tissues including the skin, muscles, and gut lining. Similar to glycine, our natural collagen production slows with age. By consuming more glycine, our bodies may be able to produce more collagen and vice versa to reduce gut permeability. This helps keep healthy gut bacteria inside the gut and prevents any bad bacteria from leaking out. Glycine is also necessary for fat digestion and crucial to absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and their transport throughout the body.

    How to Get More Glycine

    • Eat more protein:Nutritional sources of glycine are the typical protein-rich foods like meat, fish, dairy products, and legumes.
    • Supplement with collagen:Collagen is one of the richest sources of glycine. Collagen can be found in all the places where glycine goes to work - the connective tissues of animals and humans. Unfortunately, this makes it near impossible to get collagen from diet alone. That's where collagen supplements enter! Collagen Peptides are an easy-to-digest hydrolyzed powdered supplement. When we consume collagen, it's broken down into its three primary amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. A highly bioavailable supplement such as marine collagen can be easily absorbed by the body and can help to restore the gut lining. It may also be used in conjunction with probiotics for improved gut health. Collagen is both hot and cold soluble, so you can add it to your favorite coffee drinks, soups, smoothies, pancakes, pies, and more, with no change in taste.

    How to get more glycine

    • Eat more gelatin:Gelatin, a partially cooked form of collagen, is another great source of glycine. High quality gelatin supplements (not the gelatin sheets found in the baking aisle) can be in powdered form just like collagen peptides, but their solubility and versatility in the kitchen differs. Gelatin gels! It adds that flexible jello-like wobble to whatever you use it in. This is great for thickening soups, adding to oats, making healthy fruit gummies, or even DIY boba teas! It's a good choice for people who want to give their recipes a creative, gut-soothing ingredient.

    Need help getting to the bottom of your gut issues? This blog is a great place to start! At Amandean we are dedicated to providing natural, scientifically-backed solutions that start with nutrition. Whether you're looking to soothe stomach ulcers, strengthen your gut through exercise, or give your recipesa gut-healing boost, you can find it all at our blog and get advice straight from the experts at Amandean.

    Summary Points:

    Glycine is a building block for proteins that make up our connective tissues, regulate our hormones, and produce necessary enzymes.

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    Glycine also acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, specifically in the spinal cord, brain stem, and retina.

    By consuming more glycine, our bodies may be able to produce more collagen and vice versa to reduce gut permeability.

    A highly bioavailable supplement such as marine collagen can be easily absorbed by the body and can help to restore the gut lining.

    Article References:

    1. https://www.snatchesandsamosas.com/post/supplement-smarter-for-gut-health-glycine
    2. https://www.justinbethoneynp.com/post/glycine-a-small-amino-acid-with-big-effects-on-the-body-brain
    3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/glycine#TOC_TITLE_HDR_10
    4. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/glycine-uses-and-risks
    5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycine
    6. https://selfhacked.com/blog/glycine-little-protein/



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