Glycine is the most abundant amino acid found in collagen. It is a non-essential amino acid, meaning the body can make it itself, but it needs other amino acids to do this, including serine, choline, and threonine. Our bodies production alongside dietary sources like meat, fish, dairy and legumes may not always provide enough glycine to supply the tissues, bone, muscle and skin with what they require, and many of us can benefit from consuming more due to its numerous health benefits. A good way to up your daily intake is to include Collagen and Gelatine in your diet, which are the richest dietary sources of glycine.
Glycine is considered to be one of the most important amino acids for overall health, it is the second most widespread amino acid found in human enzymes and proteins, it has influence over many bodily systems, and is important for many functions within the body. Let’s have a look at some of its benefits…
Glycine is a neurotransmitter which stimulates and inhibits cells in the brain and central nervous system, this affects cognitive function, mood, appetite, digestion, immunity, pain perception and sleep.
We require glycine to make glutathione, which is our master antioxidant. Glycine is one of 3 amino acids that the body uses to make glutathione. Glutathione protects us against free radical damage and oxidative stress, which can damage cells and cause premature ageing.
Creatine is made using glycine. Creatine provides muscles with energy to perform short, high intensity bursts of activity like sprints, or weightlifting. It also helps to repair muscle damage, as well as supporting strength and power. Glycine has also been found to help inhibit muscle wasting, and support muscle recovery. It helps us to maintain lean muscle mass into old age, and supports flexibility of cartilage and joint repair.
Glycine helps to rebuild the tissue that lines the digestive tract, soothes the gut lining, and reduces inflammation. It is also needed to manufacture components like bile, which help us to break down dietary fat and transports glycogen to cells to be used for energy.
Glycine has a calming effect on the brain, it has been shown to support sleep quality and deeper more restful sleep, and improve cognitive functioning during daytime. It also increases serotonin levels, which has a big impact on mood. Serotonin is required to make the sleep hormone melatonin, which can restore healthy sleep patterns, and encourage deeper sleep.
Glycine has also been shown to have benefits for liver support, cardiovascular health- due to it’s anti-inflammatory nature- and metabolic function. Low levels of glycine are linked to increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It can lower blood sugar levels, and support insulin production in healthy adults. It also may have benefits for thyroid health, by increasing conversion of T4-T3 thyroid hormones.
Glycine is used for so many vital functions all over the body that support our health and well-being. It is considered a non-essential amino acid, but given it’s importance for all of the above, we would consider it to be pretty essential to health. Our bodies and diets may not provide enough of this amino acid to support all these metabolic functions, especially our modern day diets which don’t contain many ancestral foods like gelatine which are rich in glycine. Adding a scoop of collagen powder, or gelatine to your daily diet, is a great way to get in increased amounts of glycine, and support all these body systems and functions, alongside all the other nutrients and benefits these primal foods contain.