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A Guide To Amino Acids: Glycine

What are amino acids?

Amino acids, often referred to as ‘building blocks of life,’ are compounds that combine to build proteins. Proteins provide structural support and functional properties to all living things, including the human body.

The body uses amino acids to build proteins that constitute muscle, bone, hormones, tissue, skin, hair, nails, blood and enzymes. Amino acids are either consumed through food or synthesised by other amino acids or compounds.

What is glycine?

Glycine is the simplest amino acid, made up of a single hydrogen atom as the side chain.

The body can synthesize glycine from other amino acids via interorgan metabolism. Glycine plays an important role in various mechanisms including cytoprotection, immune function, metabolism, collagen structure, and general growth and development. Glycine is also a precursor for many important metabolites including creatine, glutathione and haem.

Glycine can be obtained through food sources:

· Meat

· Poultry

· Fish

· Dairy

· Legumes

Research suggests supplementing with glycine at higher doses can deliver benefits to various systems and structures in the body. Glycine can be supplemented directly in the form of powder. Collagen supplementation will also increase intake of glycine consumption as glycine makes up approximately 30% of collagen protein.

Collagen production

Glycine is the primary amino acid required for collagen synthesis, making up about one third of the total amino acids in collagen. Collagen helps to recover and support connective tissue, bones, joints, muscles, hair, skin and nails. Glycine can be a cheaper option compared to collagen supplementation, providing similar benefits.

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity

Glycine has been found to present many protective effects, including anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory. Glycine is involved in the synthesis of glutathione, which acts on inflammatory cells to assist in the suppression, deactivation and minimisation of formation of free radicals in the body. Glutathione also supports muscle recovery, allowing athletes to return to training quickly.

Glycine for sleep

Research has found glycine to assist with sleep quality and rhythmicity by reducing core body temperature and activating the NMDA receptors. Improved sleep quality can lead to increased attentiveness and cognitive function during the day.


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