Optimal Amount of Glycine
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While you may not be familiar with the term specifically, you probably already rely on glycine every day to strengthen your body and, frankly, allow it to work properly.
What is glycine used for? This amino acid is essential for many different muscle, cognitive and metabolic functions. It helps break down and transport nutrients like glycogen and fat to be used by cells for energy. In the process, it supports your muscular, immune, digestive and nervous systems.
In the human body, glycine is found in high concentrations in the skin, connective tissues of the joints, and muscle tissue. As one of the key amino acids used to form collagen and gelatin, glycine can be found in bone broth, some types of meat, and other protein sources. In fact, glycine (along with many other nutrients like proline and arginine) is part of what gives “superfood” bone broth its amazing healing abilities.
Amino acids such as glycine can be found in supplement form, too but it’s easy — and probably even more beneficial — to acquire them from natural food sources.
What Is Glycine?
Classified as a “non-essential” (also called conditional) amino acid, glycine can be made in small amounts by the human body itself, but many people can benefit from consuming a lot more from their diets thanks to its numerous beneficial roles.
Nutritional Facts About Glycine:
- Glycine is the second most widespread amino acid found in human enzymes and proteins, which is why it has roles in nearly every part of the body.
- It’s one of 20 amino acids used to make protein in the body, which builds the tissue that forms organs, joints and muscles.
- Of the proteins in the body, it’s concentrated in collagen (the most abundant protein in humans and many mammals) and also gelatin (a substance made from collagen).
- Some of the most attractive attributes include promoting better muscle growth, healing the lining of the GI tract, and slowing down the loss of cartilage in joints and skin.
While high-protein foods (like meat and dairy products) do contain some glycine, the best sources — collagen and gelatin — can be hard to get.
These proteins are not found in most cuts of meat and instead are obtained from consuming parts of animals that today most people throw away: skin, bones, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments.
People who are ill, recovering from surgery, taking medications that hinder certain metabolic processes or who are under a lot of stress can all use extra glycine for recovery.
According to some research, glycine can be used to help lower symptoms in people suffering from conditions like ulcers, arthritis, leaky gut syndrome, diabetes, kidney and heart failure, neurobehavioral disorders, chronic fatigue, sleep disorders, and even certain cancers.
Some of the many health benefits of glycine include:
- helping build lean muscle mass
- preventing sarcopenia (muscle loss, muscle wasting or deterioration)
- playing a role in the production of human growth hormone
- boosting mental performance and memory
- helping prevent ischemic strokes and seizures
- protecting skin from signs of aging or cellular mutations
- protecting collagen in joints and reducing joint pain
- improving flexibility and range of motion
- stabilizing blood sugar and lowering risk for type 2 diabetes
- improving sleep quality
- lowering inflammation and free radical damage by increasing glutathione production
- reducing risk for certain types of cancer
- building the lining of the gastrointestinal tract
- producing bile salts and digestive enzymes
- helping reduce allergic and autoimmune reactions
- boosting energy levels and fighting fatigue, stress and anxiety
- helping produce red blood cells
- helping control symptoms of seizures, schizophrenia and mental disorders
Among all of these benefits, here are several key ways glycine is used in the body:
1. Promotes Muscle Growth
Glycine has been found to help inhibit the deterioration of valuable protein tissue that forms muscle and boosts muscle recovery.
In fact, it’s considered as an “anti-aging amino acid” because of how it helps maintain lean muscle mass into old age, stimulates the secretion of human growth hormone, prevents loss of cartilage in joints, and even improves daytime energy, physical performance and mental capabilities (all important for athletes).
Glycine is used during the biosynthesis of creatine, which provides muscles with a direct source of fuel to repair damage and grow back stronger. It also helps provide cells with energy thanks to its role in the conversion of nutrients from your diet, helping feed hungry muscle tissues and boosting endurance, strength and performance.
Additionally, studies suggest it seems to benefit hormone production and regulation, helping the body naturally synthesize steroid hormones that regulate the ratio of fat to muscle mass and control energy expenditure.
2. Repairs and Protects Joints and Cartilage
Together with other amino acids found in bone broth (especially proline), glycine plays a part in the formation of collagen, promoting the growth and function of joints, tendons and ligaments.
Approximately one-third of collagen is composed of glycine, and collagen is crucial for forming connective tissue that keeps joints flexible and able to withstand shock. This is why collagen hydrolysate is often used for the treatment of degenerative joint diseases like osteoarthritis.
As people get older, it’s especially important to consume enough protein (amino acids) in order to repair damaged tissues within joints that suffer due to ongoing free radical damage.
Glycine has been shown in studies to be essential for the formation of stretchy, flexible cartilage, helps heal damaged joints, and can prevent loss of mobility and functionality in older adults.
3. Improves Digestion
Amino acids, including glycine and proline, help rebuild tissue that lines the digestive tract, keeping food particles and bacteria inside the gut where they belong, rather than allowing tiny openings to form that pass particles to the bloodstream where they trigger inflammation.
Glycine helps form two of the most important substances that make up the gut lining: collagen and gelatin.
Collagen and gelatin help people with food allergies and sensitivities tolerate foods more easily, can soothe the lining of the GI tract in people with inflammatory bowel diseases or indigestion (including leaky gut syndrome, IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and acid reflux), and even promote probiotic balance and growth.
Within the GI tract, glycine also acts like a metabolic fuel. It’s needed to manufacture bile, nucleic acids, creatine phosphate and porphyrins to be used to break down nutrients from your diet.
For example, it helps break down fats by aiding with the production of bile acids and helps transport glycogen to cells to be used for energy in the form of ATP. Evidence also shows that glycine can help stabilize blood sugar levels, leading to more lasting energy and preventing sugar cravings and fatigue.
There is also evidence from research conducted on rats that “L-glutamine and/or glycine supplementation is beneficial for the repair of the colonic wall of rats, but L-glutamine, with its trophic effects on the colonic mucosa, seems to exhibit better results.”
4. Slows the Effects of Aging and Builds the Immune System
Glycine helps form glutathione, a valuable antioxidant that’s used to prevent cellular damage and various signs of aging.
A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that although glutathione deficiency in elderly people occurs because of a marked reduction in synthesis, supplementation with the glutathione precursors cysteine and glycine fully restores glutathione synthesis. This helps increase concentrations and lowers levels of oxidative stress and oxidant damages that lead to aging.
In certain studies, glycine has even been found to help prevent cellular mutations that lead to cancer. There’s some evidence that using targeted amino acid therapy can prevent the growth of cancerous cells by cutting off their energy supply and help turn down inflammation, which is linked to numerous other chronic conditions besides cancer.
This amino acid may also support cardiovascular and metabolic health too. Does glycine raise blood pressure? Most experts believe it doesn’t; in fact there’s some evidence that glycine supplementation may help lower high blood pressure in patients with the metabolic syndrome or those at risk for heart disease. This is attributed to its ability to reduce free radicals and to increase the availability of nitric oxide.
One study found that higher intake of glycine (in terms of percentage of total protein) was significantly associated with a decreased risk of mortality from ischemic strokes in women. Supplementing with this amino acid following a stroke also seems to help with recovery.
It can also offer protection against type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity/protecting against insulin resistance, according to recent studies. In fact it’s been found that glycine levels are lower in patients with obesity, heart disease and/or type 2 diabetes, but that insulin response improves as levels increase.
5. Calms the Nerves and Feeds the Brain
Studies show glycine benefits cognitive performance and the central nervous system because of how it plays a role in the metabolic synthesis of certain nutrients that the brain and nerves use for energy. One example is how it helps regulate nerve impulses throughout the body by balancing electrolyte levels, such as calcium, chloride and potassium.
Is glycine good for anxiety? Yes; due to its role in both nerve and neurotransmitter functions, glycine can improve sleep, mental performance, bodily sensations, moods, memory and behaviors. For example, glycine works with other amino acids, including taurine and gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), as an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
It may reduce hyperactivity in the brain and even play a role in the treatment or prevention of mental disorders, including learning disabilities, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder/manic depression and epilepsy. It’s also been demonstrated to decrease psychotic symptoms, strokes and seizures when used with other supplements as part of a holistic treatment plan for mental/cognitive illness.
6. Fights Fatigue and Promotes Restful Sleep
Due to its roles in the central nervous system and the digestive system, glycine effects can include helping to boost energy levels, balance blood sugar and prevent fatigue.
Some evidence shows that glycine benefits sleep by boosting serotonin production which decreases anxiety and insomnia.
It can be used to calm anxiety or nervousness that keeps you up at night and gets in the way of getting good sleep — plus it helps directly bring nutrients to cells and tissue for energy at all times of the day.
According to research done by the Japanese Society of Sleep Research, glycine supplements improve sleep quality, lessen daytime sleepiness, and improve performance of memory recognition tasks.
One of its most important effects of glycine is helping carry out the biosynthesis of heme, a component of haemoglobin that helps produce and maintain red blood cells.
Red blood cells help carry oxygen around the body, support cellular functions, and provide the tissue, heart and brain with energy. In fact, glycine is often used in supplements meant to improve energy in athletes, fight fatigue caused by anemia, and help regulate blood sugar levels.
Getting more glycine into your diet is probably even easier than you think. What foods are high in glycine? Bone broth is one of the greatest source of naturally occurring glycine and other amino acids, is inexpensive, simple to make at home, and has far-reaching health benefits.
Bone broth — which is made from slowly simmering animal parts, including bones, skin and tendons, in stock — contains natural collagen, which releases important amino acids and other substances that are often missing from the typical Western diet.
However, if you’re not willing to consume bone broth — for example, you’re a vegetarian or vegan — this amino acid can be obtained from plant foods, too.
Plant-based sources include beans; vegetables like spinach, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and pumpkin; plus fruits like banana and kiwi. Other than bone broth, glycine can also be found in “complete sources of proteins” (animal proteins), including meat, dairy products, poultry, eggs and fish.
Don’t forget that it’s also found in high amounts in gelatin, a substance made from collagen that’s used in certain food products and sometimes for cooking or food prep. Gelatin isn’t commonly eaten in large amounts but can be added to recipes when making some gelatin desserts, yogurts, raw cheeses or even ice cream.
When it comes to glycine supplements and dosage recommendations, here’s what you need to know:
- While some foods (especially animal proteins and bone broth) do provide some glycine, amounts tend to be small overall. This is why many can benefit from taking glycine supplements in order to prevent glycine deficiency.
- There is no established daily requirement or upper limit of glycine at this time. It’s believed that most people already get around two grams of glycine daily from their diets, but needs differ a lot depending on someone’s level of activity and state of health.
- Depending on the symptoms you’re looking to resolve, you might benefit from consuming 10 times the average amount or even more.
Not all protein/amino acid supplements are created equal. The best glycine supplements are those made by reputable companies that use food-based ingredients and no close to no fillers.
Risks and Side Effects
ecause glycine is a natural amino acid, there’s not much risk for consuming too much from your diet. In supplement form, higher doses of glycine (between 15–60 grams) have been used safely to help resolve chronic conditions like mental disorders without causing side effects. However this amount should be taken with supervision from a doctor.
It’s not known if giving glycine supplements to children, pregnant or breastfeeding women — or people with kidney or liver disease — is safe or likely to cause side effects. This means it’s best to avoid using glycine supplements in these cases for now.
Glycine supplements can also interact with certain medications when taken in high doses (such as those used by people with mental disorders, including clozapine).
Although for most people glycine is very safe (especially in food form), if you take medications it’s always a good idea to get your doctor’s opinion when you begin to use any supplements. Stop using amino acid supplements if you experience side effects like indigestion, restlessness, and so on.
- Glycine is a conditional/non-essential amino acid found in foods including bone broth, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products and certain beans and veggies.
- Positive effects of glycine include helping to form collagen and gelatin, substances that are important for building connective tissue throughout the body.
- This amino acid is beneficial in both food and supplement form for people with joint pain, digestive disorders (like IBS, IBD or food sensitivities), fatigue, trouble getting enough sleep, anxiety, type 2 diabetes,
- and low immunity.
- There is no recommended daily amount of glycine or upper limit, but studies have found that it can be used safely in high doses up to 15–60 grams daily when necessary.
Estimates show that most people eating a standard Western diet may be experiencing glycine deficiency, as most consume only about two grams from foods daily. This is likely because concentrated sources like animal tendons, skins and bones are often thrown out.
Supplement may treat insomnia, enlarged prostate, and other conditions
Glycine is one of the many amino acids your body needs to function properly. Glycine is important because it:
- Stimulates production of the “feel good” hormone serotonin
- Serves as the key component of collagen, a protein that gives structure to bones, skin, muscles, and connective tissues, as well as other key proteins
- Plays a role in nerve signal transmission and clearing toxins from the body
Glycine may also benefit the following, though evidence is limited and more research is needed:
- Mood and memory
- Stroke recovery
- Heart disease
- Certain psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia
Unlike some amino acids that must be obtained solely through foods, the body can produce glycine. It is also available in supplement form.
This article looks at glycine supplements’ potential benefits and risks and whether the current science supports the health claims. It also offers tips on how to select and use glycine supplements safely.
Dietary supplements are not regulated in the United States, meaning the FDA does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement that has been tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLabs, or NSF.
However, even if supplements are third-party tested, that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and to check in about any potential interactions with other supplements or medications.
Active ingredient(s): Glycine
Alternate name(s): Aminoacetic acid, Glycocol
Legal status: Available over the counter (OTC)
Suggested dose: 2-5 grams
Safety considerations: May interact with some medications; talk to a healthcare provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
Uses of Glycine
Glycine use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or doctor. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.
Glycine is an amino acid that serves as a building block for specific proteins, including collagen, a structural protein found in connective tissues. Collagen is found in:
Glycine makes up around 33% of the collagen in the human body.
Glycine also helps regulate nerve impulses in the central nervous system. This system affects the spinal cord and the brain. Glycine also binds to toxins so that the body can clear them.
In addition to the glycine already produced by the body, you can also take glycine supplements. Most current research has focused on glycine’s role in sleep, mood, stroke, and heart disease.
Mood and Memory
Glycine stimulates the production of serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone that helps elevate mood, improve sleep, and enhance memory and thinking.
Studies on rodents have demonstrated that glycine supplementation increases serotonin levels.2 Due to these effects, some people tout glycine supplements as “natural antidepressants.” However, their impact on the brain appears to be short-lived, often dissipating within minutes.
For example, in a 2011 study in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, researchers measured serotonin levels in rats after glycine administration. They found that serotonin increased for only 10-20 minutes after glycine supplementation compared to more than 180 minutes after receiving a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), an antidepressant medication.3
It’s important to note that these were animal studies, and therefore the results may not apply in the same way to humans.
Some research suggests that glycine supplements may improve sleep in people with insomnia. For example, a 2015 study from Japan evaluated why sleep improved in rats after glycine supplementation.4 To assess the effects, researchers implanted a telemetry unit on the animals. After recovery, rats were given either glycine or water.
Those who received glycine had significantly decreased wakefulness and increased non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep during the first 90 minutes compared with the control group. Researchers concluded that glycine promotes sleep because it alters body temperature and circadian rhythms.4
Again, scientists did this research on animals, and therefore it is uncertain whether these results would translate to humans.
In a 2012 human study, researchers evaluated glycine’s effects on daytime performance in sleep-restricted participants.5 In the randomized single-blinded crossover trial, seven healthy adults without sleep disorders had their time in bed reduced by 25% for three nights. They were then given 3 grams of glycine or a placebo 30 minutes before bed.
Participants rated their daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and performance. Glycine significantly improved fatigue feelings, reduced sleepiness, and improved performance compared to the placebo group.
While there is some evidence that glycine could improve sleep, research has been done on animals or in very small human trials. Therefore, the evidence is limited and more research is needed.
Researchers have looked at how glycine might treat schizophrenia, a mental illness that causes delusions, hallucinations, and unusual behavior.
In a 2016 review of studies, researchers found conflicting evidence about glycine’s effect on schizophrenia. For example, while some studies reported that glycine supplements taken with antipsychotics reduced the incidence of cognitive side effects, others showed no difference compared to placebo groups.6 In addition, researchers observed that people needed a relatively high dose to see any results.
While some research exists on glycine’s effect on schizophrenia, results are conflicting.
Healthcare providers sometimes prescribe glycine to people who have just had an ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes occur when the arteries to the brain become narrowed or blocked, causing blood flow restriction (ischemia) in the brain. The evidence supporting the use of glycine for this is mixed.
Early research published in 2000 in Cerebrovascular Disease looked at the protective effects of glycine after an ischemic stroke. In the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, researchers divided 200 participants who had an ischemic stroke in the carotid artery into groups:
- Glycine of 0.5 g/day
- Glycine of 1.0 g/day
- Glycine of 2.0 g/day
The participants received glycine or a placebo for five days. Those who received 1-2 grams of glycine had a decreased 30-day mortality compared to the other groups. Researchers concluded that a sublingual (under the tongue) dose of glycine given within six hours of a stroke could limit the damage done to the brain.7
However, a 2015 population study from Japan looked at glycine and stroke mortality in 29,079 Japanese adults. According to the survey, a high-glycine diet raised the systolic blood pressure (the higher number in a blood pressure reading) to such a degree in men that it increased the risk of death from stroke. The same was not seen in women.8
This study contradicts the earlier study, indicating that high amounts of glycine might increase the risk of death from stroke, at least in some people.
The evidence for glycine after a stroke is conflicting and inconclusive.
Glycine is anti-inflammatory and antioxidative (meaning it prevents or slows cell damage), which are properties that reduce heart disease risk. Therefore, some researchers have looked at the connection between glycine and heart disease.
In a 2015 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers looked at the association between glycine plasma levels and acute myocardial infarction (heart attack).9 This population study evaluated 4,109 people who had elective coronary angiography to diagnose stable angina (a blockage in the coronary artery).
The study found that those with higher plasma glycine levels had a more favorable heart disease risk profile and a decreased risk of a heart attack.
While the study is promising, research on the topic is limited.
In addition to the potential health benefits listed above, some people use glycine to support:
- Enlarged prostate
- Leg ulcers
- Liver damage
- Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
What Are the Side Effects of Glycine?
Your healthcare provider may recommend you take glycine to support your sleep or mood or lower your heart disease or stroke risk. However, consuming a supplement like glycine may have potential side effects.
Common Side Effects
Glycine supplements are generally considered safe if used as directed. However, there has been little research into the long-term safety of glycine supplements.
Most people who take glycine will not experience any side effects, but some may have gastrointestinal symptoms such as:
- Upset stomach
Since studies have found that glycine supplements interact with antipsychotic drugs, like Clozaril (clozapine), you should talk to a healthcare provider before taking glycine if you are taking these medications.6
As a general rule, it’s best to speak to a healthcare provider before trying any new medications or supplements.
In addition, unless instructed by a healthcare provider, the following people should avoid glycine:
- Those who are pregnant
- Those who are breastfeeding
It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included. In addition, please review this supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss any potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications.
Dosage: How Much Glycine Should I Take?
Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your individual needs.
Glycine is available in several different formulations. The most common is oral gel caps, typically available in 500 milligrams (mg) to 1,000 mg doses. There are also powdered formulations that you can add to shakes or smoothies.
There are no guidelines for the appropriate use of glycine in people with schizophrenia. But, some research is based on a dosage of 0.4 grams per kilogram of body weight (g/kg) twice daily when taking an atypical antipsychotic like Zyprexa and Risperdal.10 However, always discuss glycine supplementation and dosage with a healthcare provider first.
Topical creams containing glycine and the amino acids L-cysteine and DL-threonine are available by prescription for leg ulcers. Depending on the circumstance, they may be prescribed once daily, twice daily, or every other day.
What Happens If I Take Too Much Glycine?
Glycine toxicity from supplements is rare. However, it can occur when used with sterile water for bladder irrigation. In this situation, a healthcare provider administers glycine, usually after prostate or bladder surgery, to prevent or flush out blood clots.
Signs of glycine toxicity include:
- Visual disturbances
- Prickling skin sensations
- Skin flushing
Glycine toxicity can be fatal.
How to Store Glycine
Store glycine supplements and powders in a cool, dry place. Never use a supplement that is expired or appears damaged or discolored. Speak with a healthcare provider before using any supplement for medical reasons.
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Optimal glycine to protein ratio for Intake too much guys in bad so too much Glycine is hard to achieve there’s Studies even like 90 grams and it has no Negative side effects and what I think The optimal glycine ratio would be that Increases your glycine demands one gram Of methionine increases your glycine Demand by one gram of glycine so Generally you want to have like a Balance so that’s 50 of your protein Comes from methane enriched proteins That have higher methane like muscle Meat eggs fish Dairy and 50 of the Protein comes from more glycine dominant Proteins tendons chicken drumsticks fish Skin you also want to take glycine Supplements if you’re eating like a lot Of muscle meat so I think like 10 grams Of Lysine on top of eating like chicken Drumsticks and fish skin is a good way To go about it