The supplement Glycine is an excellent source of this important amino acid which fulfillls multiple functions in the body: it plays a part in synthesising collagen and forming hemoglobin, it acts as a neurotransmitter in the nervous system, it supports the immune response, and it is involved in the formation of creatine and acetylcholine (1-3) … Discover the many beneficial properties of this metabolic fuel which the body needs in order to function properly.
What is glycine?
Also known as glycocoll or aminoacetic acid, glycine is the simplest of the α-amino acids.. It is the only amino acid with no asymmetric carbon: it is thus said to be ‘non chiral’. Though it is sometimes routinely referred to as ‘L-glycine’ (all the other amino acids begin with an ‘L’), it should actually be referred to as just ‘glycine’. Glycine is also distinct in that it has a sweet taste. This molecule was first isolated in 1820 by the French chemist Henri Braconnot.
Where is this amino acid found?
Glycine is synthesised naturally by the body from various compounds including choline and serine (4). It is also present in the diet, primarily in foods such as turkey, sesame flour, octopus, pork knuckle, spirulina, calves’ liver and tofu. Interestingly, the presence of glycine has also been observed in the most unlikely of places, for example, in meteorites and comet tails. (5-6)
What functions does glycine fulfilll in the body?
Glycine plays a part in many physiological reactions:
- it is involved in the formation of collagen which ensures the cohesion, resistance and flexibility of tissues and organs, as well as the health of bones and cartilage (7);
- it helps to form the haem in hemoglobin (8);
- it plays a role in metabolising creatine and increasing muscle mass (9);
- it supports good liver function by helping to form the bile acids responsible for breaking down fats (10-12);
- it helps develop the immune response (13);
- it also acts as a neurotransmitter in the spinal cord (14) ;
- glycine also plays a neuro-mediator role in the brain, promoting drowsiness and good quality sleep(15);
- it exerts an antioxidant effect which helps delay cellular aging (16-17);
- in addition, it is a precursor of porphyrins (molecules involved in transporting dioxygen ), glutathione (an antioxidant), uric acid, and acetylcholine (a key neurotransmitter). (18)
What benefits are offered by the supplement Glycine?
Taking a course of Glycine supplements allows you to increase your daily glycine intake. This supplement provides 2.5g of glycine a day, which corresponds to the amount generally recommended by scientific studies.
As we’ve seen, glycine fulfillls numerous functions in the body. Taking this supplement will help to boost and maintain your health by improving the condition of your tissues and organs, strengthening your muscles, promoting restorative sleep and fighting oxidative stress.
Furthermore, a study conducted in 2017, led by Dr. Meerza Abdul Razak, found that oral supplementation with glycine decreased metabolic disorders in individuals with cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and diabetes. The study concluded that supplementing with this amino acid offers significant potential for improving human health. A study in 2019 (conducted by Professor Richard A Miller of Michigan University’s Department of Pathology) suggests that glycine supplementation may also help to increase longevity.
How should this supplement be taken?
Simply take the contents of one half-measure of Glycine a day, ideally at the end of a meal or at bedtime. As with any course of supplements, it’s a good idea to consult a health professional before starting to take Glycine, particularly if you are on any medication. Glycine may actually interfere with certain drugs (hypnotics, anxiolytics, antipsychotics...)
Tips for strengthening and protecting your body
To help improve your body’s defenses, we would also re-emphasise the importance of:
- adopting a varied, balanced diet;
- taking regular exercise (for example, a 30-45 minute outdoor walk each day) (19);
- getting enough sleep (at least 7-8 hours a night), as sleep makes immune cells more effective (20);
- having an adequate intake of vitamin C (from citrus fruit, peppers, or a vitamin C supplement...) (21) ;
- exposing your skin to sunlight to ensure good vitamin D production (you could also take a ‘back-up’ vitamin D supplement, as the body produces less of it as we get older) (22-23) ;
- avoiding stress by allowing yourself to take regular breaks during the day (24).
Supplements to take in conjunction with Glycine
As well as supplementing with Glycine, you may find these other nutritional supplements of interest too.
Green propolis, for example, produced by bees to protect their hives, is recognized for being exceptionally biologically rich and for its ability to stimulate the immune defenses. You’ll find it in the excellent supplement Green Propolis.
Discover too, the properties of colostrum. This special milk secretion is abundant in immunoglobulins, vitamins and minerals. It is known in particular for helping to reduce the risk of infection. Benefit from its many nutritional properties by taking the supplement Colostrum.