Glycine: Health Benefits and Potential Dangers
Glycine is an essential amino acid. This substance can be found in different proteins and biologically active compounds in human body. This amino acid is naturally produced by human body and some amount of it person acquires with food. Artificial glycine is produced by means of hydrolysis, that is, interaction with water via chemical synthesis. In second case, white powder-like substance is formed. It does not taste anything and has a sweet flavor. Therefore, this amino acid is called «glycys» – the Greek word that stands for «sweet».
This substance is also considered to be neurotransmitter amino acid and acts in two ways. There are glycine receptors in different parts of brains and spinal cord. Binding with them, glycine slows down the neurons and decreases production of «exciting» amino acids by them. Thus, human body relaxes. Glycine inhibits functions of motoneurons in spinal cord, therefore it is used in neurology to decrease increased muscle tone.
The Reasons to Use Glycine
Glycine has a complex effect on human body as it inhibits functioning of excitatory system and boosts activity of the brain neurons. This amino acid is used in the following cases:
- Emotional disorders;
- Constant mental stress;
- Recovery after traumas and surgeries;
- Decrease in working ability;
- Memory worsening;
- Problematic issues and negative patterns in children’s behavior.
Health Benefits of Glycine
Basic function of glycine is to improve CES functioning and stabilize mental activity. Increased consumption of this amino acid helps to relieve stress which takes place due to long-term mental and physical overloading. It helps to improve overall well-being as well as results in the following things:
- Activation of mental activity;
- Elimination of mental stress;
- Improved mood;
- Normalization of sleep patterns;
- Liquidation of brain functioning-related issues;
- Elimination of aggression;
- Elimination of vegetovascular disorders.
Glycine directly participates in formation of antibodies and immunoglobulins. This amino acid is required to ensure normal functioning of the immune system. Glycine also acts as a base for creation of creatine. This is an essential energy booster which ensures proper functionality of all the muscles in the human body.
Glycine is also used in many therapeutic complexes intended to lower gastric juice acidity as well as neutralize alcohol impact on human body and lower blood sugar level. Scientists have proven that this amino acid decreases wish to have an alcohol. Glycine is also used to relieve hang-over. It stimulates removal of toxic substances from human body and prevents large-scale destruction of the brain cells.
Daily Intake of Glycine
Human body produces glycine on its own. People also obtain this amino acid from food. Eggs, curd, gelatin, poultry meat, beef and beef liver as well as buckwheat, oatmeal, jelly, soy, nuts, chickpeas, ginger, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are rich in glycine.
If person is eating well, then he can get about 1,5 grams of glycine from food. The rest of glycine in an amount of 3 grams is synthesized by his body. In this case, total amount of amino acid makes up daily intake which varies from 3 up to 7 grams.
Incorrect food regimen, impaired functioning of digestive system and some other things can cause glycine deficiency. Sportsmen need to consume glycine in large amounts. Therefore, they use pills and BAAs which contain this amino acid.
Glycine poisoning is a very rare phenomenon. Human body does not accumulate this amino acid in tissues in too high quantities.
Glycine overdose can only happen if one goes heavy on BAAs with glycine. If person takes them for too long and in large quantities, then the following symptoms may appear:
- Increased heart rate;
- Skin rash and itching;
- Digestive issues;
- Increased fatigue.
These symptoms do not usually pose danger to human life and health. Person becomes well again once glycine consumption is stopped or adjusted.
Potential Dangers of Glycine Deficiency
Glycine deficiency as well as its overdose rarely takes place. This amino acid is found in many foods, therefore human body easily gets it on a daily basis.
Glycine deficiency results from excessive consumption of fast food and alcohol, some drugs, infections, traumas, stress, misbalance of nutritious substances in human body and digestive issues.
Glycine deficiency makes human body to use own glycine resources. As a result, different negative consequences take place:
- General weakness and fatigue;
- Delay in growth as well as physical and intellectual development;
- Memory worsening;
- Weakening of the immune system, which results in stress and infections;
- Mood swings and depression;
- Worsening of state the hair, nails and skin are in;
- Delayed formation of proteins and disturbance in formation of structure of the connective tissue;
- Muscle tremors;
- Chronic insomnia;
- Digestive disorders.
Glycine Use in Sports
Long-term effects of glycine, dietary supplements and sports nutrition have not been studied well enough. There is an assumption that a daily intake of 3-7 grams of this amino acid improves aerobic endurance, physical strength and performance.
Glycine is widely used in bodybuilding. Combined with other amino acids and substances, it helps to increase muscle mass.
The calming effect of glycine helps athletes to cope with stress during the competition as well as adapt themselves to intense training with the increased load.
Correct Use of Glycine
Glycine has such a peculiar feature that it starts to act instantly after the first few intakes. The effect increases upon increase in the dose. This allows you to select the optimal dose based on individual characteristics and expected results.
Please note that excessive use of amino acids causes a disturbance in metabolic energy chain. The excess glycine displaces glucose and triggers fatigue, although it should have just the opposite effect.
To improve performance, athletes should use an amino acid 20 minutes before meals or with food. The body absorbs glycine very well during these periods. Many professional bodybuilders use amino acid 20 minutes after workout and before going to bed.
Used in tablets, glycine should be consumed up to 4 times a day in an amount of 0.1 g for 2 to 4 weeks. Pills are placed under the tongue, they dissolve themselves. This substance quickly enters bloodstream and has an immediate effect on human body. Some sports nutrition and dietary supplements containing glycine should be chosen with care based on instructions. When calculating the dosage, one should consider total amount of amino acids including the one, which can be found in BAAs marked as a «whole spectrum of amino acids».
Contraindications and Side Effects
Glycine almost never causes any side effects because this amino acid represents a part of the human body tissues. Pills with glycine do not contain any toxic and harmful additives.
The main contraindication for the use of amino acids is one’s tendency to have allergic reactions. Such reactions may sometimes develop even to substances, which are naturally produced by the body. Glycine intolerance is extremely rare and occurs with the following symptoms:
- Itchy rash;
- Anaphylactic shock.
If you have any of these signs, then use of glycine should be immediately discontinued. Each subsequent use of glycine will only intensify severity of allergic reactions.
Large doses of glycine, which are normally taken by athletes, can sometimes provoke drop in blood pressure. In such cases, it is necessary to reduce glycine consumption or completely abandon it.
Experimental results indicate that regular use of glycine causes headaches in some people. Therefore, one should be very cautious when using nutritional supplements, which include free (unbound) glycine.