Glycine is the simplest amino acid in terms of chemical buildup. It’s a non-essential amino acid that means your body can synthesize or produce it from organic chemicals or hormones. It is used to treat sleep problems, schizophrenia, and metabolic syndrome.
What Are The Functions Of Glycine?
Glycine helps facilitate creatine, which is one of the amino acids used by the brain and muscles for energy. As we all know, Creatine gives your muscle an energy burst to make sprinting and weightlifting. A combo of glycine and creatine increased muscle power, strength, and size.
It also helps regulate the acidity of the digestive tract. Below are some of its functions:
- Aids in the production of DNA and RNA
- Boosts glutathione production
- Acts as one of the creatine
- Constitutes as one of the amino acids in collagen
What Are The Benefits?
Glycine helps in the making of serotonin, which is a hormone that enhances memory, cognition, mood, and quality of sleep. A Japanese study showed the effects of this amino acid on the hypothalamus. Such effect increased rapid eye movement or REM that is correlated with deep sleep.
Glycine may also protect the liver from damage caused by alcohol. A study found that rats fed with the amino acid showed reduced alcohol levels (1). Another study reported that rats with liver damage from alcohol recovered to 30% baseline after they were fed with a glycine-rich diet for two weeks (2). Although these findings showed benefits, they were limited to animals, and it is yet to be confirmed if such benefits would be transferred to humans (3)
These amino acids also show increasing evidence that it can protect heart diseases. The amino acid might prevent the buildup of a compound linked to atherosclerosis that is a narrowing and hardening of the arteries (6).
- It can be an anti-cancer medication because it seems to interfere with the blood supply going to certain tumors.
- Could be used against leg ulcers
- Treat ischemic stroke (the most common form of stroke)
What Are The Hopes of Glycine In Treating Schizophrenia?
A trial made and published in 2004 and 2005, the research studied 17 patients and gave them some risperidone and olanzapine and 8 grams per day of lycine. The researchers switched the patients and gave them a placebo for six weeks. During the six weeks, the same patients took glycine and vice versa. Neither the patients nor the researchers knew what medication was taken.
The results confirmed that the patients tolerated glycine, and they had a reduction in negative symptoms. Likewise, those patients who took glycine showed less negative symptoms. The study’s size and duration were short, but the researchers confirmed that olanzapine and risperidone might be strengthened with a high dose of glycine. (7)
Glycine is still under current investigation to confirm its efficacy. It appears to cause minor side effects and may prove as an alternative treatment. An easier to absorb glycine would be better for effective treatment than the natural form of this amino acid.
What Are The Effects Of Glycine That Need More Research?
The following claims or conditions still lack sufficient evidence:
- Isovaleric acidemia
- Sleep quality
- Deficiency in 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase or 3 PgDH
- Less evidence of efficacy against cancer, liver protection, and benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH.
- Ischemic stroke: Starts from 0.4 to 0.8 grams daily and divided into doses. Your physician may increase the dosage until you reach its efficacy.
- Leg ulcers: Applied once or twice daily using a cream with a 10 mg glycine.
Are There Any Side Effects?
For most people, this amino acid is possibly safe, and it doesn’t cause any side effects. On the other hand, there are few reports of stomach upset, soft stools, vomiting, and nausea. For nursing and pregnant mothers, there are no sufficient data to warrant the safe use of the said amino acid, so it’s best to stay safe and avoid its use.
Foods Rich In Glycine
|Dry powder gelatin||Seaweed||Soy|
|Beef loaf||Spinach||Sweet potato|
|Pastrami beef||Carob Seeds||Fruits|
Are There Any Interactions?
Glycine can reduce the efficacy of clozapine or Clozaril – a drug used in treating schizophrenia.
The Bottom Line
Researchers and medical professionals are yet to confirm the efficacy of Glycine as they need to verify through numerous trials. They need to make sure that it is effective and safe for use. Hopefully, glycine will bring a cure to the symptoms of schizophrenia or psychosis.
- Iimuro, Y, et al. “Glycine Prevents Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury by Decreasing Alcohol in the Rat Stomach.” Gastroenterology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 1996, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8613061.
- Yin, M, et al. “Glycine Accelerates Recovery from Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury.” The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 1998, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9694963.
- Senthilkumar, Rajagopal, and Namasivayam Nalini. “Glycine Prevents Hepatic Fibrosis by Preventing the Accumulation of Collagen in Rats with Alcoholic Liver Injury.” Polish Journal of Pharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15047986.
- Bannai, Makoto, and Nobuhiro Kawai. “New Therapeutic Strategy for Amino Acid Medicine: Glycine Improves the Quality of Sleep.” Journal of Pharmacological Sciences, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22293292.
- Kawai, Nobuhiro, et al. “The Sleep-Promoting and Hypothermic Effects of Glycine Are Mediated by NMDA Receptors in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus.” Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Nature Publishing Group, May 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25533534.
- El Hafidi, Mohammed, et al. “Glycine Intake Decreases Plasma Free Fatty Acids, Adipose Cell Size, and Blood Pressure in Sucrose-Fed Rats.” American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15331379.
- Heresco-Levy, Uriel, et al. “High-Dose Glycine Added to Olanzapine and Risperidone for the Treatment of Schizophrenia.” Biological Psychiatry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Jan. 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14732596?dopt=abstractplus.