Cirrhosis is caused by damage and replacement of liver cells with scar tissue. The body utilizes glycine to produce proteins, which is an important amino acids. These proteins are essential for the growth and maintenance of the tissues and for making substances like enzymes and hormones. Keep on reading if you want to learn more about Glycine Health Benefits.
The body can produce glycine, but protein-rich food and supplements can provide enough.
You can add glycine in capsule or powdered form to a variety of dishes as it is available in this form. You can also find glycine in collagen supplements, which has it as a primary amino acid. Collagen supplements may also help the body in absorbing glycine. When bound to other amino acids, like in collagen, glycine absorbs easily without competition.
As glycine is an important component of protein, it can provide various health benefits.
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Health Benefits of Glycine
Glycine, as an amino acid, can be very helpful in improving cellular growth and health. It helps the body multiply and also works as an antioxidant.
1 Reduce Risk of Alcohol-induced Liver Damage:
Too much consumption of alcohol can be very dangerous for health, especially for the liver, as it can damage the liver. Too much alcohol consumption can lead to various diseases.
- Alcoholic Hepatitis: Too much drinking causes inflammation of the liver, resulting in this condition.
- Fatty Liver: In this condition, fat builds up inside the liver, which increases its size.
- Alcoholic Cirrhosis: It is the final and dangerous phase of alcoholic liver disease. Damage and replacement of liver cells with scar tissues cause this condition.
Moreover, researchers have also shown that glycine can reduce the harmful effects on the liver caused by alcohol due to its inflammatory properties. For example, one study of rats (Iimuro, 1996) found that glycine reduces the concentration of alcohol in the blood of rats who were given alcohol. Glycine stimulates the metabolism of alcohol in the stomach rather than the liver, preventing the development of fatty liver and leading to alcoholic cirrhosis.
Moreover, glycine also has the ability to reverse the liver damage caused by excessive intake of alcohol. Moderate alcohol consumption can cause liver damage, but stopping alcohol consumption can reverse it. Additionally, taking glycine can improve the recovery process.
Animal study found that rats given glycine diet recovered from alcohol-induced liver damage 30% faster.
But the researchers have also shown the effect of glycine on alcohol-induced liver damage in animals. Further human studies are required to confirm this fact.
2 Reduce Risk of Schizophrenia and Ischemic Stroke:
Glycine has been proven to be an effective treatment for Schizophrenia, a mental health condition that causes hallucinations, delusions, and unusual behaviors.
A review of various studies by Beck K in 2016 revealed that glycine has a beneficial effect on Schizophrenia. Specifically, some studies showed that taking glycine supplements in combination with antipsychotics reduces the incidence of cognitive side effects.
Researchers also observed that high doses of the supplements are needed to show these results.
Glycine is also recommended by health care providers for a person who had an ischemic stroke. It is a condition that occurs when the arteries to the brain become narrowed or blocked and cause a blood flow restriction to the brain. Some research has also shown the effectiveness of glycine in reducing the risk of ischemic stroke.
For example, early research published in “Cerebrovascular Disease” (Gusev E, 2000) looked at the protective effects of glycine after ischemic stroke. The researchers divided the participants into several groups. Which received glycine for almost five days. The group who received 1-2 grams of glycine had decreased 30-day mortality as compared to other groups. Researchers found out that the dose of glycine given within six hours of the stroke can reduce brain damage.
3 Helps in Protecting Heart:
Some evidence suggests that glycine can offer heart protection as well. This is because glycine can prevent the accumulation of a compound that in higher amounts can cause atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries become narrower and harder.
Glycine improves the body’s use of nitric oxide, lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow. Studies show it also reduces heart disease and heart attack risk by 7.4 years..
Moreover, researchers have also found that people who have higher glycine levels also have a favorable blood cholesterol profile. This amino acid has also been found to reduce the risk factor of cardiovascular diseases in rats with a high-sugar diet.
Eating and drinking too much sugar can raise blood pressure and fats level in the blood, which also causes dangerous belly fat; these are the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. (Rippe, 2016)
4 Helps with Type-2 Diabetes:
People suffering from type-2 diabetes often seem to have a low level of glycine. Type-2 diabetes is a medical condition caused by impaired insulin action and secretion. In this condition, the patient’s body cannot produce enough insulin or cannot respond properly to the insulin.
Insulin can decrease blood sugar levels as it signals its uptake into the cells for storage or energy. Some researchers (González-Ortiz, 2001) have also shown the effect of glycine in increasing insulin response in diabetic people, which suggested that glycine supplements can also improve impaired insulin response in people suffering from type-2 diabetes.
Glycine can be helpful for people with type-2 diabetes but with a proper diet and healthy lifestyle. So, if you are a diabetic patient, the best way to control your insulin resistance is to lose weight and do a proper diet and exercise.
5 Protect Against Muscle Loss:
Glycine may also be effective in reducing muscle wasting, a condition that occurs with malnutrition, aging, or when a human body is under some stress, such as severe burns or cancer. This muscle wasting can reduce muscle mass and strength, which reduces its functional status and can lead to other potentially present diseases. Research (Ham, 2014) has also shown glycine’s effectiveness in treating muscle wasting because of its ability to inhibit muscle breakdown and improve muscle building.
Several animal studies of mice with muscle-wasting conditions like cancer have shown that glycine was able to improve muscle growth and strength where leucine cannot. Therefore, glycine is considered to be promising for improving health by protecting muscles from wasting various conditions.
6 Improves Sleep Quality:
There are a lot of people who struggle while getting sleep because they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. While there are a lot of ways through which you can improve your sleep, like not drinking much caffeine or avoiding screen time right before bedtime, glycine can also be very helpful.
This amino acid has the ability to calm the brain cells and could help and stay asleep by lowering the body temperature. Several studies have shown that administering 3 grams of glycine to individuals suffering from sleeping disorders right before bed improves sleep quality, decreases the time it takes to fall asleep, enhances cognition, and reduces daytime sleepiness. (Source: Yamadera, 2016)
For this reason, glycine may be a good alternative to sleeping pills for improving sleep quality and reducing tiredness during the day.
7 Main Amino Acid in Collagen:
Collagen is a structural protein that contains a high amount of glycine. In fact, glycine is every third to fourth amino acid within the collagen. Collagen is the protein that is present within the human body in very large amounts. It provides a lot of strength for bones, blood, cartilage, skin, muscles, and ligaments.
Supplementing with collagen benefits skin health, relieves joint pain, and prevents bone loss. Therefore, getting proper glycine is very important to support collagen production.
8 Components of Creatine:
Glycine is one of the amino acids which is needed by the body to make a compound known as creatine. Which provides energy to the muscles to quickly perform short bursts of activity like sprinting and weightlifting.
Supplements of creatine, when combined with resistance training, have been shown to improve power, strength, and muscle size. It has also been studied (Chilibeck, 2015) for its benefits on bone health, improving brain function, and preventing neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The human body can also create creatine naturally, but it can also be obtained through diet. But Getting too little amount of glycine can reduce the production of creatine.
9 Produce Powerful Antioxidants:
Glycine is one amino acid used by the human body to make glutathione, an antioxidant that protects the body cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which lead to various chronic diseases.
If the body does not receive an adequate amount of glycine, it will produce less glutathione, which negatively impacts the body’s ability to manage oxidative stress. Additionally, as people age, their levels of glutathione decrease, making it crucial for older individuals to ensure adequate glycine intake.
Glycine supplementation is also recommended for older people, which makes them able to get enough glycine and produce antioxidants. Glycine can also be obtained from a healthy diet. Like fruits and vegetables rich in protein have this kind of amino acids.
10 Improves Mood and Memory:
Glycine is also considered to increase the production of the feel-good serotonin hormone, which can help improve mood and sleep and increase memory and the ability to think. Some animal studies on rodents have shown that glycine supplements can increase serotonin levels.
And due to this effect, some people take glycine supplements as “natural anti-depressant”. However, this impact on the human brain is not long-term and often disappears within a few minutes.
2011 study found an increase in serotonin levels in rats given glycine..They found that glycine supplements can increase serotonin levels for only 10-20 minutes.
How to Add Glycine to Diet
Glycine is an amino acid that can be found in many plant-based foods. Some vegan foods that are good sources of glycine include:
- Soybeans and soy-based products such as tofu and tempeh
- Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans
- Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens
- Cabbage, bok choy, and other cruciferous vegetables
- Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- Quinoa and other whole grains
- Some fruits and vegetables like bananas, watermelons, and pumpkin
- Some nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews
- Some seaweed like kelp and nori.
Glycine levels in foods may be low, not essential as the body can produce it.
Glycine is an amino acid in the human body that can provide many health benefits. These amino acids are necessary for the body to make some important compounds like collagen, creatine, and glutathione.
Studies show a positive effect of this amino acid in reducing liver damage caused by alcohol.
Glycine is also highly effective in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, protecting muscle mass, and enhancing heart and sleep quality.
Glycine is also naturally produced by our body, but our ability to produce this amino acid decreases as we age. So it is important to ensure the proper intake of glycine to keep yourself healthy and protected. Glycine intake can be increased by taking plant-based protein or taking glycine supplements.
But make sure to consult your doctor before taking any kind of supplementation or changing your diet. Especially if you have certain medical conditions or taking any supplements. Because, in some cases, supplements can interact with each other and lead to some adverse side effects
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