Glycine, an amino acid, has a variety of roles, including the potential to increase growth hormone, shuttle toxic substances such as lactic acid out of the body, and calm the brain.
Glycine is the most widely available amino acid in the body. It’s also found in many high-protein foods, such as fish, meats, and dairy products.
Popup: Foods highest in Glycine
Active people have found glycine, as part of a balanced amino acid formula, may help slow muscle-tissue breakdown and promote healing after intense workouts. Shown to both promote growth-hormone release and enhance cell volumizing, it appears to encourage muscle building and strength gains.
No deficiency conditions are known to exist.
Research indicates that Glycine may be useful in the treatment of:
Glycine is the simplest and most widely available amino acid in the body. This conditionally essential nutrient is necessary for numerous bodily functions, including the synthesis of nucleic acids and other amino acids and promoting growth-hormone release.
During rapid growth phases, the body demands even more glycine. And some studies have indicated that glycine causes an increase in strength, perhaps attributable to its effects on growth-hormone levels and/or cell volume.
While too much glycine in the body can cause fatigue, having the proper amount produces the opposite effect—more energy. As one of the few amino acids that helps improve blood-sugar storage, some experts suggest glycine may increase energy for endurance activities.
What’s more, this sweet-tasting substance (glycine gets its name from the Greek word for sweet) that’s actually used as a mild sweetener in some products has been shown to help slow muscle breakdown by supplying creatine to the muscle cells. Because of this effect, it’s been found to be potentially helpful in the treatment of muscular dystrophy.
Glycine has also been shown to act as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means it has a calming effect on the brain. Necessary for central nervous system function, this abundant amino acid has also been used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, and epilepsy.
High amounts of glycine are found in the skin and connective tissues, and it’s necessary for repairing damage to these tissues and promoting healing. Glycine is also used as an antacid agent and is reportedly effective for limiting stomach discomfort. In addition, it may help shuttle toxic substances out of the body.
Because the prostate contains considerable amounts of glycine, this nutrient may help promote prostate health. In fact, one study found that glycine, taken with alanine and glutamic acid, reduced the amount of swelling in the prostate tissue.
This abundant amino acid continues to prove its worth in the human body with a variety of roles, not the least of which remain its potential to slow muscle breakdown and promote healing and recovery from injury or intense workouts.
Two to six grams may increase growth-hormone release.
Glycine is taken before exercise and before bedtime, on an empty stomach.
Glycine may be more effective as part of a full-spectrum amino-acid supplement.
For growth-hormone release, glycine is reportedly more effective when used with ornithine, arginine, glutamine, tyrosine, Vitamin B6, niacinamide, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and/or Vitamin C.
Glycine’s potential cell-volumizing effects may be enhanced when it is used with glutamine and alanine.
High amounts of glycine may cause fatigue.