Glycine 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.
Supplementing glycine may be one of the most important things you can do to not only heal your gut and combat systemic inflammation, but also to build muscle mass and improve sleep!
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, 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. Studies show that glycine can help stabilize blood sugar levels, leading to more lasting energy and preventing sugar cravings and fatigue.
It helps maintain lean muscle mass, stimulates the secretion of human growth hormone, prevents loss of cartilage in joints, and even improves daytime energy, physical performance and mental capabilities. 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 by converting nutrients from your diet, helping feed muscle tissues and boosting endurance, strength and performance. Some studies even suggest that 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.
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 studies show 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.
You can increase glycine in your diet by consuming bone broth (one of the greatest sources of naturally occurring glycine and other amino acids), poultry skin (chicken and turkey), seafood (wild salmon), organic and grass fed/finished red meats, and in smaller (generally less bioavailable) amounts of dairy, spinach, dried seaweed, watercress, asparagus, cabbage and legumes (tofu, peanuts, peanut butter, mung beans, lentils, kidney beans). You can also supplement with glycine, collagen and gelatin powder.
My favourite high quality brand for glycine powder is Designs for Health and WithinUs Marine Collagen.