Glycine is one of the most beneficial supplements out there. It can help with a host of issues, from lack of sleep to schizophrenia-related symptoms. Surprisingly, most people have never even heard of it!
If you're looking for a supplement that offers more than just a good night's sleep, glycine may be for you. Keep reading to find out.
What Is Glycine?
Glycine is a “non-essential” amino acid. It enters your body through foods heavy in protein, like fish, dairy, and meat.
Glycine is used by the body to make proteins. It enhances transmissions in the brain and improves your memory. It may also help prevent cancer, and protect the kidneys from abuse from alcohol and drugs.
Most people intake around two grams of glycine per day through their food.
Glycine as a Sleep Aid
Most people use glycine supplements to achieve better sleep.
Glycine fights insomnia by boosting serotonin levels. It also helps you achieve a deeper, more relaxing sleep. Just take around three grams before bed and you'll notice the effects.
One way glycine achieves this is by lowering your core body temperature. It hooks onto your NMDA receptors and changes your circadian rhythm like melatonin.
Sleep is linked to core body temperature. A lower core temperature means a night of deeper sleep.
Glycine could be extremely beneficial if you suffer from insomnia. It can help you catch up on sleep after a few nights of restlessness. Glycine will help you wake up more rested, and help keep you in REM sleep throughout the night.
The generally accepted dosage for sleep aide is three grams. These should be taken without food, shortly before bed.
Glycine and Schizophrenia
Some people believe glycine helps deter schizophrenia.
People with schizophrenia have fewer NMDA receptors than those without. That means their brains are producing less glycine. Some researchers believe this is a key factor in what causes schizophrenia.
Glycine mimics NMDA in the brain. Giving it to schizophrenics effectively works as an antipsychotic.
Multiple trials have been held where schizophrenics were given high doses of glycine. Each of these trials found a reduction in schizophrenia symptoms when given glycine. Further studies are needed to solidify this theory, but it's looking good so far.
Of course, you should always consult a doctor before giving a schizophrenic glycine. It may conflict with their current treatment. If you want to give glycine to a schizophrenic loved one, mention it at their next appointment.
Glycine and Creatine
Glycine is one of three essential amino acids that makes creatine.
Creatine is used when your body exerts short bursts of energy. That means weightlifting, sprinting, jumping, and a host of other activities. Taking glycine may help you build muscle and increase your creatine output.
If you're preparing for a race or a big game, consider adding glycine to your diet.
It's best to take glycine in creatine form when using it for weight training. You can get creatine supplements from the same places you might get glycine. The body also makes creatine naturally, so the more glycine you get the more creatine your body will make.
Glycine can also help reduce muscle loss and muscle wasting. If you have cancer or you're simply ageing, you may experience muscle waste. That just means a general reduction in muscle mass and strength.
Glycine stimulates muscle growth and fights muscle breakdown. In one study, it was shown to be more effective than leucine, a commonly used supplement for muscle growth. Whether you're a bodybuilder or a cancer patient, glycine may be able to help you.
Glycine and the Liver
One of the most interesting things glycine does is protect your liver.
Glycine has been shown to reduce liver damage due to drinking and drugs. It does this by preventing inflammation and stimulating alcohol metabolism in the stomach. Usually, alcohol is metabolized in the liver, but glycine hurries that process up.
Not only does glycine protect the liver while drinking, but it also helps repair it after drinking.
Researchers have studied glycine's effects on the liver using rats. They saw the alcohol-damaged liver cells repair 30% faster in rats given glycine. There haven't been any extensive tests on humans, but it still looks good.
If you're worried about liver damage, try mixing glycine into your diet.
Glycine and Heart Disease
Glycine could help protect from heart disease.
Glycine prevents compounds that narrow and harden arteries, which leads to atherosclerosis. It allows the body to use nitric oxide better, increasing blood pressure and flow. That means an overall healthier heart.
People with higher glycine levels are considered less at risk of a heart attack. These same people have more desirable blood cholesterol profiles. Rats fed high amounts of sugar saw significant improvements when given glycine.
Glycine and Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes leads to a lack of insulin in the body. It also leads to lower glycine levels.
Glycine actually increases insulin production in people with or without diabetes. Considering this, it can be a great help for those with Type 2 diabetes. It can also help fight against diabetes for those who might be at risk.
Glycine is not a replacement for exercise and a good diet. If you have type 2 diabetes, you should not use it as a cure-all. But mixing it into your healthy diet could make a big difference.
Give Glycine a Go
If you suffer from insomnia or any of the issues above, you might want to give glycine supplements a try.
Glycine may not be the most well-known supplement, but it's certainly one of the most promising. Despite a lack of human trials, glycine has been shown to be harmless and side-effect free. You have nothing to lose by mixing glycine into your routine.
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