A nonessential amino acid that functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system; used as a gastric antacid and dietary supplement. Also called aminoacetic acid.
Supporting research & information
Glycine is an amino acid, a building block for protein. It is not considered an “essential amino acid” because the body can make it from other chemicals. A typical diet contains about 2 grams of glycine daily. The primary sources are protein-rich foods including meat, fish, dairy, and legumes.
Glycine is used for treating schizophrenia, stroke, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and some rare inherited metabolic disorders. It is also used to protect kidneys from the harmful side effects of certain drugs used after organ transplantation as well as the liver from harmful effects of alcohol. Other uses include cancer prevention and memory enhancement.
Some people apply glycine directly to the skin to treat leg ulcers and heal other wounds.
How does it work?
The body uses glycine to make proteins. Glycine is also involved in the transmission of chemical signals in the brain, so there is interest in trying it for schizophrenia and improving memory. Some researchers think glycine may have a role in cancer prevention because it seems to interfere with the blood supply needed by certain tumors.
Glycine is a great supplement to reduce inflammation, build muscle and joint tissue, reduce wrinkles, improve your sleep, and heal your liver all in a breakfast shake.
Glycine is one of many amino acids that commonly comprise protein. It is the smallest of all amino acids and is incredibly important for the synthesis of other amino acids, glutathione, creatine, heme, RNA/DNA, and it can also help with the absorption of calcium in the body (R,R2).
Glycine Helps You Sleep and Function Better on Less Sleep
Taking glycine before sleep improves sleep quality and sleep efficacy by increasing the time to fall asleep, and slow wave deep sleep (R).
After taking glycine for sleep, the following day subjects had lessened daytime sleepiness and improved performance of memory recognition tasks (R).
Glycine helps improve REM sleep and decrease non-REM sleep (R).
3g Glycine given to volunteers before sleeping resulted in improvements in fatigue, ‘liveliness and peppiness’, ‘clear-headedness’ (R).
Glycine appears to improve daytime sleepiness and fatigue induced by sleep deprivation (R).
Glycine affects certain neuropeptides in the SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus) in the region in the hippocampus which regulate the circadian rhythm (R).
Specifically, glycine increases VIP, which is critical to the circadian rhythm.
This effect on the SCN indirectly contributes to reducing sleepiness and fatigue induced by sleep restriction (R).
Glycine Can Help the Brain
Small amounts of glycine have been shown to dilate the microvessels in the brain by up to 250% (R,R2).
In rats with alcohol poisoning, glycine was able to reduce the accumulationof cholesterol, free fatty acids and triglycerides in blood circulation, liver and brain. Ultimately, this decreases swelling in the brain (R).
A shortage of glycine in the brain can negatively influence the brain neurochemistry, synthesis of collagen, RNA/DNA, porphyrins, and other important metabolites (R).
Glycine Helps Mental Illnesses
Glycine supplementation has been shown in one instance over the course of 5 years to significantly reduce symptoms of OCD and body dysmorphic disorder (R).
Glycine has positive results when used in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults (R).
Glycine supplementation significantly reduced symptoms of schizophrenia (R).
In treatment-resistant schizophrenia glycine improved cognitive and depressive symptoms (dosed at 0.8g/kg).
Interestingly, the group who made the most improvement were also the most deficient in glycine (R).
Glycine helps in chronic schizophrenia by increasing NMDA-receptor-mediated neurotransmission (R).
This effect on NMDA-receptor-mediated neurotransmission allows for glycine to work synergistically with schizophrenia medication (R).
Glycine May Help Combat Depression
Depression is associated with lower levels of blood glycine, as well as high levels of taurine (R).
Possibly Effective for:
- Treating schizophrenia, when used with other conventional medicines.
- Treating leg ulcers, when applied as a cream that also contains other amino acids.
- Treating the most common form of stroke (ischemic stroke). Putting glycine under the tongue may help to limit brain damage caused by an ischemic stroke when started within 6 hours of having the stroke. An ischemic stoke is caused by the blockage of a blood vessel (usually by a clot) in the brain. Brain cells beyond the obstruction don’t receive oxygen and begin to die, causing irreversible damage.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Memory enhancement.
- Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)
- Liver protection
- Cancer prevention
- Other conditions
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of glycine for these uses.
Glycine seems to be safe for most people when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. Most people do not experience side effects, although there have been a few reports of nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, and drowsiness.
Special Precautions & Warnings
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of glycine during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Be cautious with this combination
Clozapine (Clozaril) interacts with GLYCINE
Clozapine (Clozaril) is used to help treat schizophrenia. Taking glycine along with clozapine (Clozaril) might decrease the effectiveness of clozapine (Clozaril). It is not clear why this interaction occurs yet. Do not take glycine if you are taking clozapine (Clozaril).
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
For treating schizophrenia: Glycine has been used in doses ranging from 0.4 to 0.8 g/kg daily in divided doses. It is usually started at 4 g daily and increased by 4 g per day until the effective dose is reached.
UNDER THE TONGUE
For protecting brain cells (neuroprotection) after onset on a stroke caused by a clot (ischemic stroke): 1 to 2 g per day started within 6 hours after stroke onset.