Glycine, or aminoacetic (aminoethanoic) acid (food supplement E640), is an amino acid that the human body is able to produce on its own if it does not get the required amount from food.
In the liver, this amino acid is produced from serine and threonine, but glycine itself serves as a “raw material” for purine bases: guanine, adenine, xanthine, and also natural porphyrin pigments.
This sweet-tasting amino acid was first derived from gelatin in 1820 year. In large quantities also represented in silk fibers. The body concentrates in the muscles, skin and connective tissue.
Glycine is the smallest amino acid in size and the only one without stereoisomers. But it plays an important role for the body, participates in many biochemical processes, and is also one of the 20 amino acids that form proteins.
Glycine is found predominantly in animal products, including meat, fish, poultry, and dairy foods. Also, the body can receive additional portions of amino acids from various kinds of dietary supplements. Given that a person is able to independently produce glycine, the substance has extremely low toxicity, and its excess is excreted in the urine.
Who is useful
Aminoacetic acid is actively used to treat schizophrenia, stroke, benign prostatic hyperplasia, genetic metabolic disorders. And given the beneficial effect on the nervous system, this substance is prescribed to insomnia sufferers, and is also used to “pacify” drug addicts in the early stages of treatment.
Also this amino acid is essential for the proper functioning of the kidneys. In particular, it protects against the side effects of certain medications used after organ transplantation. The positive effect of amino acetic acid also affects the liver. Especially in people who abuse alcohol. Also, this substance belongs to the group of anti-cancer. Used for the healing of ulcers in different parts of the skin, as well as a tool that can improve memory.
Role in the body
The formation of healthy muscle tissue and the conversion of glucose into energy are important tasks of glycine. This substance is also important for maintaining the health of the central nervous and digestive systems. And as shown by research results, in tandem with antioxidants protects against some types of cancer.
Glycine is an important component for the construction of DNA and RNA strands, and they, in turn, act as genetic building material, without which the proper functioning of the body is impossible. It is one of the three amino acids that make up creatine, which is necessary for the growth of muscle tissue and the production of energy during exercise.
Also, this amino acid is part of collagen, responsible for the normal condition of the skin, ligaments and tendons. By the way, almost a third of collagen, which provides skin with plasticity and elasticity, consists of glycine. It promotes calcium absorption, which prevents muscle degeneration. And also plays an important role in the production of hormones responsible for the performance of the immune system.
Without glycine, the body could not repair damaged tissue. Sagging of the skin, wounds, non-healing for a long time, the epidermis, destroyed by UV rays, the body suffering from the constant attacks of free radicals – all of these are also possible consequences of the complete absence of aminoacetic acid in the body.
Glycine affects the body according to the principle of glucoamino acid. This means helping the body regulate sugar levels and glucose uptake by skeletal muscle for energy production. These abilities make the amino acid an important component for diabetics suffering from frequent hypoglycemia, people with anemia or chronic fatigue.
Aminoacetic acid ensures the normal functioning of the digestive tract. Glycine concentrated in the gallbladder promotes the production of the enzyme necessary for the digestion of dietary fats. Another benefit of glycine is the ability to regulate the acid-base ratio in the digestive tract, as well as protect against the harmful effects of alcohol.
Amino acid regulates the production of neurotransmitters of the brain, which determine the emotional state of a person and the functionality of the brain. It is worth remembering this substance to people suffering from insomnia or sleep rhythm disturbances.
Functions of glycine.
- For the nervous system plays a function of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, preventing epileptic seizures.
- Used in the treatment of manic depression and hyperactivity.
- Participates in many biochemical processes in the body.
- Promotes normal functioning of the prostate.
- It is part of glutathione, a coenzyme involved in many biochemical reactions.
- It has antioxidant properties.
- Helps the work of the central nervous system.
The human body is designed in such a way that it will not accumulate glycine in more quantities than is needed. This feature determines the rate and intensity of absorption of a substance. The only case where the body makes a mistake is the presence of some genetic diseases that affect the body’s ability to determine the lack of a substance.
It is believed that the human body is able to synthesize about 3 grams of glycine, and additionally receives at least 1,5-3 g of the substance from the diet.
But these doses can not meet the daily needs of the body in the amino acid. According to scientists, an adult needs approximately 10-13 g of aminoacetic acid daily. It is just that much glycine, according to some estimates, is necessary to ensure the normal synthesis of collagen. And he, as you know, almost 22 percent consists of glycine.
According to other recommendations, adults should receive about 0,3 g of the substance daily, and children approximately 0,1 g. For heavy physical exertion, the daily rate is increased by 0,8 g. heart attacks and strokes, with intoxication (caused by drugs or alcohol poisoning), in stressful situations. But pregnant, nursing mothers, people with hypotension or intolerance to aminoacetic acid should be wary of glycine. Do not abuse the dietary supplements containing an amino acid, and those whose work requires a quick reaction.
- 16-60 mg daily – for schizophrenia;
- 1-2 g per day – for 6 hours after a stroke;
- 10 mg (in the form of a cream) – leg ulcers;
- 3 g before bedtime – for insomnia;
- 2-12 g – in the treatment of drug addiction.
And although glycine poisoning is an extraordinary phenomenon, it is still believed that the maximum daily dose of amino-acetic acid should not exceed 50 g.
Lack of glycine in the body – an extremely rare phenomenon. Since, firstly, the body is able to independently produce an amino acid, and secondly, it is abundantly represented in many foods. But if an amino acid deficiency does occur, the first signs of this will be sleep disturbances, depressive states, increased nervousness, weakness and trembling.
Glycine is safe for most people. Since the body does not for a long time retain in itself its surplus, the risk of amino acid poisoning is extremely low. But still, taking very high doses of a substance in the form of dietary supplements for a long time can also cause side effects. Among them are allergies, hyperactivity, shortness of breath, rash, itching, swelling of the oral cavity, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, tachycardia, fatigue.
The main sources of glycine are protein-rich foods.
A typical diet contains about 2 grams of glycine daily. It is also worth remembering that glycine is a replaceable amino acid. This means that it is regularly produced in the liver from other amino acids. Therefore, there is no urgent need to monitor the exact amount of glycine in the diet.
Animal sources: fish, dairy products, meat, cheese and others.
Plant sources: beans, soy, spinach, pumpkin, cabbage, cauliflower, burdock root, cucumbers, kiwi, bananas.
Other sources: aspic, marmalade, soybean, chickpea, pumpkin and sesame seeds, nuts (walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, pine), basil, fennel, ginger.
You can provide yourself with higher doses of glycine by consuming skin and bones (for example, cooking broths, chilled meat from poultry with skin) or special food additives. It is important to recall that to create glycine using only natural ingredients.
But to talk about food sources of glycine, not remembering the factors affecting a more complete absorption of the substance, would be wrong.
The first recommendation is nothing new – a standard, but in fact very important advice: to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stick to a balanced menu.
Secondly, water is necessary for the normal absorption of glycine. Proper drinking regime (at least one and a half liters of fluid per day) will help the body to remove more benefit from food.
And the third tip: an active lifestyle and regular walks in the fresh air.
Interaction with other substances
One should be extremely careful while taking glycine and clozapine (a drug for the treatment of schizophrenia), since this drug ceases to act against the background of the amino acid. The combination of glycine and cysteine - enhances the synthesis of glutathione, increases insulin sensitivity. It is important to know that aminoacetic acid enhances the absorption of aspirin, and in combination with calcium or iron improves their absorption. But for glycine itself, the presence of B-group vitamins in the body, which contribute to the processes of amino acid synthesis, is important.
Glycine molecules are present in space. Such a statement was made by American scientists after analyzing cosmic dust over 4,5 a billion years old. In its composition found glycine molecules. This gives grounds to say that the amino acids from which life began on our planet came to Earth from space.
Healthy sleep for modern people is a real gift. Well, not everyone can get enough sleep on the background of constant stress and emotional tension. So it turns out that heart diseases, vegetative-vascular dystonia and dysfunctions of many organs are nowadays common diseases even for the young. And to get rid of all these troubles can glycine – the smallest amino acid, which, however, is easy to get from food. You just need to know: what, when and with what to eat.