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Glycine - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources

Glycine is a protein amino acid which is found in the protein of all life forms. This nonessential nutrient can be manufactured from serine and threonine, so dietary intake is not essential for the human body. Glycine is the only one amino acids that is not optically active, i.e., it does not have D- and L-stereoisomers. It is structurally the simplest of the a-amino acids, having merely a hydrogen atom for a side chain, and is thus very unreactive when incorporated into proteins.

Functions and Benefits of Glycine

Glycine is considered a glucogenic amino acid, so it helps to supply the body with glucose needed for energy. It helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and thus glycine supplementation may be useful for treating symptoms like low energy and fatigue, such as hypoglycemia, anemia, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The glycine amino acid is also used by the nervous system and its function as an inhibitory neurotransmitter makes it important to help prevent epileptic seizures. Glycine has anti-spastic properties, helping to prevent convulsions and some types of seizures. The amino acid may also be used in conjunction with anti-psychotic medication as part of treatment for schizophrenia. Glycine also improves glycogen storage, which works to free up glucose for energy needs. It is also used in the treatment of manic depression and hyperactivity.

Glycine is also known to serve as a basic nitrogen source for the manufacture of many other amino acids and is useful in the synthesis of hemoglobin, glutathione, DNA and RNA.

Recommended Dosage for Glycine

It is recommended that you consult with your physician for the appropriate dosage of this amino acid. Dosage depends on a number of factors; doses ranging from 2 to 60g daily have been used for therapeutic purposes in clinical trials. However, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences recommends that healthy people achieve .36 grams of highly bioavailable protein for each pound of bodyweight - equaling 0.8 grams of protein, per kilogram of bodyweight.

Food Sources of Glycine

Glycine is a nonessential amino acid, which means that it is manufactured from other amino acids in the liver; it does not have to be obtained directly through the diet. Glycine is found in many foods high in protein, such as meat, fish, dairy products, and legumes. Glycine supplements can also be available on the market.

Deficiency Symptoms of Glycine

Few people are glycine deficient, in part because the body makes its own supply of the nonessential amino acids.

 


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