Glycine is an amino acid, which is a protein building block. Because the body can synthesise it from other chemicals, it is not considered a “essential amino acid.” A typical diet contains approximately 2 grammes of glycine per day. Protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, dairy, and legumes are the primary sources.
Glycine is a drug that is used to treat schizophrenia, stroke, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and some rare inherited metabolic disorders. It is also used to protect the kidneys from the potentially harmful side effects of certain drugs used after organ transplantation, as well as the liver from the potentially harmful effects of alcohol. Cancer prevention and memory enhancement are two other applications.
Glycine is sometimes applied directly to the skin to treat leg ulcers and heal other wounds.
How does it function?
Glycine is used by the body to make proteins. Because glycine is involved in the transmission of chemical signals in the brain, there is some interest in using it to treat schizophrenia and improve memory. Because it appears to interfere with the blood supply required by certain tumours, some researchers believe glycine may play a role in cancer prevention.
Glycine is an amino acid that the body produces. It is required for the synthesis of collagen, a protein that provides structure to bones, skin, muscles, and connective tissues. Glycine is also involved in nerve signal transmission and the removal of toxins from the body.
Glycine, unlike some amino acids that must be obtained solely through diet, can be produced by the body. It is also available as a supplement.
According to some studies, supplemental glycine may help with insomnia, stroke recovery, and even certain psychiatric disorders. However, the evidence is limited, so more research is required.
Glycine Verywell’s Potential Health Benefits / Laura Porter
This article examines the potential benefits and risks of glycine supplements, as well as whether current science supports the health claims. It also provides advice on how to choose and use glycine supplements safely.
Dietary supplements are not regulated in the United States, which means that the FDA does not review them for safety and efficacy before they are marketed. Choose a supplement that has been tested by a reputable third party, such as USP, ConsumerLabs, or NSF, whenever possible.
However, just because supplements have been third-party tested does not mean they are necessarily safe or effective in general. As a result, it is critical to consult with your healthcare provider about any supplements you intend to take, as well as any potential interactions with other supplements or medications.
Glycine is the active ingredient(s).
Aminoacetic acid, Glycocol are some of the other names for this substance.
Legal status: Available without a prescription (OTC)
2-5 grammes is the recommended dose.
Safety considerations: May interact with certain medications; consult your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
A healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or doctor, should evaluate and personalise glycine use. No dietary supplement is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
Glycine is an amino acid that functions as a building block for many proteins, including collagen, a structural protein found in connective tissues. Collagen can be found in:
Glycine accounts for approximately 33% of the collagen in the human body.
Glycine also aids in the regulation of nerve impulses in the central nervous system. This system has an impact on the spinal cord and the brain. Glycine also binds to toxins, allowing the body to eliminate them.
Glycine supplements can be taken in addition to the glycine produced by the body. The majority of recent research has concentrated on glycine’s role in sleep, mood, stroke, and heart disease.
Memory and Mood
Glycine stimulates the production of serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone that helps improve mood, sleep, and memory and thinking.
Glycine supplementation has been shown in rodent studies to increase serotonin levels.
2 Some people promote glycine supplements as “natural antidepressants” because of these effects. Their effect on the brain, however, appears to be transient, often dissipating within minutes.
In a 2011 study published in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, for example, researchers measured serotonin levels in rats after glycine administration. They discovered that serotonin increased for only 10-20 minutes after glycine supplementation, compared to more than 180 minutes after receiving an antidepressant medication called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). 3
It’s important to note that these were animal studies, so the results may not apply to humans in the same way.
According to some research, glycine supplements may help people with insomnia sleep better. A 2015 Japanese study, for example, investigated why sleep improved in rats after glycine supplementation. 4 Researchers implanted telemetry units in the animals to assess the effects. Following recovery, the rats were given either glycine or water.
When compared to the control group, those who received glycine had significantly lower wakefulness and higher non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep during the first 90 minutes. Glycine promotes sleep, according to the researchers, because it alters body temperature and circadian rhythms. 4
Again, scientists conducted this research on animals, so it is unclear whether the findings would apply to humans.
In a 2012 human study, researchers looked at the effects of glycine on daytime performance in sleep-deprived participants.
5 In the three-night randomised single-blind crossover trial, seven healthy adults with no sleep disorders had their bedtime reduced by 25%. They were then given 3 glycine or a placebo 30 minutes before going to bed.
Participants were asked to rate their sleepiness, fatigue, and performance during the day. When compared to the placebo group, glycine significantly reduced fatigue, reduced sleepiness, and improved performance.
While there is some evidence that glycine may improve sleep, most studies have been conducted on animals or in small human trials. As a result, the evidence is limited, and more research is required.
Glycine has been studied as a potential treatment for schizophrenia, a mental illness characterised by delusions, hallucinations, and unusual behaviour.
Researchers discovered conflicting evidence about glycine’s effect on schizophrenia in a 2016 review of studies. While some studies found that taking glycine supplements with antipsychotics reduced the incidence of cognitive side effects, others found no difference when compared to placebo groups. 6 Furthermore, researchers discovered that people required a relatively high dose to see any results.
While there has been some research on the effect of glycine on schizophrenia, the results have been mixed.
Stroke with Ischemia
Glycine is sometimes prescribed by doctors to people who have recently had an ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes occur when the arteries leading to the brain become narrowed or blocked, resulting in reduced blood flow (ischemia) in the brain. The evidence for using glycine for this is mixed.
An early study published in Cerebrovascular Disease in 2000 looked at the protective effects of glycine after an ischemic stroke. The 200 participants in the randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial were divided into two groups: those who had an ischemic stroke in the carotid artery and those who did not.
0.5 g of glycine per day
Glycine of 1.0 g per day Glycine of 2.0 g per day
For five days, the participants were given either glycine or a placebo. When compared to the other groups, those who received 1-2 grammes of glycine had a lower 30-day mortality. The researchers concluded that a sublingual (under the tongue) dose of glycine given within six hours of a stroke could reduce brain damage. 7
A 2015 Japanese population study, on the other hand, looked at glycine and stroke mortality in 29,079 Japanese adults. According to the survey, a high-glycine diet increased systolic blood pressure (the higher number in a blood pressure reading) in men to the point where it increased the risk of stroke death. The same could not be said for women. 8
This study contradicts the previous study, which found that high levels of glycine may increase the risk of stroke death in some people.
The research on glycine after a stroke is contradictory and inconclusive.
Glycine is anti-inflammatory and antioxidative (it prevents or slows cell damage), both of which reduce the risk of heart disease. As a result, some researchers have investigated the link between glycine and heart disease.
Researchers examined the relationship between glycine plasma levels and acute myocardial infarction in a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (heart attack).
9 This population study looked at 4,109 people who underwent elective coronary angiography to rule out stable angina (a blockage in the coronary artery).
The study discovered that those with higher plasma glycine levels had a lower risk of heart disease and a lower risk of a heart attack.
While the study is promising, there is a scarcity of research on the subject.
Aside from the potential health benefits listed above, some people use glycine to help with:
Ulcers on the legs
Damage to the liver
Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance
What Are Glycine’s Side Effects?
Your doctor may advise you to take glycine to improve your sleep or mood, or to reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke. However, taking a supplement like glycine may have unintended consequences.
Common Adverse Effects
If taken as directed, glycine supplements are generally considered safe. However, little research has been conducted into the long-term safety of glycine supplements.
Most people who take glycine will have no side effects, but some may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as:
What Exactly Is Nausea Precautions?
Because studies have found that glycine supplements interact with antipsychotic medications such as Clozaril (clozapine), you should consult your doctor before taking glycine if you are taking these medications.
6 Before attempting any new medications or supplements, it is best to consult with a healthcare provider.
Furthermore, unless otherwise directed by a healthcare provider, the following people should avoid glycine:
Those who are expecting
Those who are lactating
It is critical to read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement carefully to determine which ingredients are included and how much of each ingredient is included. In addition, please discuss any potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications with your healthcare provider after reviewing this supplement label.