Our Friendly Neighborhood Amino Acid
Glycine, an amino acid found in our bodies, is responsible for more daily bodily functions than we give it credit for! Although our bodies create small amounts of glycine for daily function, we can benefit from including more glycine into our nutritional diets. This little amino acid is responsible for sustained bodily energy, reducing inflammation, creating collagen, aiding digestion, building muscle, soothing sleep patterns, and more more! So, you may be asking, what is glycine exactly? Well, I’m glad you asked…
Glycine is the most abundant amino acid present in collagen, as well as tending to other bodily functions that we mentioned above. Also, glycine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning our body creates this amino acid on it’s own. However, adding more glycine into your nutritional lifestyle will only provide you with greater health benefits. More on that in a bit…
With a number of foods and supplements, it isn’t too hard to incorporate more glycine into your daily diet. One of the best sources of glycine is bone broth, due to the collagen that is released when bone broth is made! On top of glycine, bone broth contains other health-boosting vitamins and minerals that are great for your overall well-being. If you are vegetarian/vegan, other foods that contain glycine are vegetables like cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, or legumes like beans. Glycine can also be found in collagen protein supplements, which can be mixed into your meals or warm drinks.
Top 6 Health Benefits of Glycine
As mentioned above, glycine contributes to more bodily functions than we give it credit for! And while our body does create it’s own glycine, introducing more glycine into our lifestyle only aids in supporting all of it’s health benefits. From regulating sleep cycles to protecting your digestive tract, let’s dive into the top 6 health benefits that glycine kindly provides for us!
Glycine is the most abundant amino acid present in collagen, helping formulate the foundation of its structure. Collagen is a fundamental protein that helps create the foundation for our skin, hair, joints, bones, muscles, connective tissue and more. As we age, our bodies cannot create as much collagen as it once was able to, so we need to introduce collagen into our daily diet to help our body out!
Increasing our glycine intake has been linked to increased collagen production, aiding in all of the health benefits that collagen provides (1). Glycine can also be found in bone broth, as it is naturally packed with tons of collagen. From joint health improvements to digestion help, bone broth also has plenty of health benefits that anyone can truly enjoy. Collagen has been added into healthy alternatives of certain foods, including protein powders, coffee creamers, etc.
Building and maintaining our muscle isn’t all about protein, there are many different biological factors that come into play. One of those factors is glycine availability, as glycine helps with both maintaining and building our muscles! Studies have linked glycine to the stimulation and creation of creatine, which helps repair and build our muscles stronger (2, 3). Glycine has also been linked to helping prevent our muscles from deteriorating and protecting them from internal damages (4). Along with other amino acids, glycine is a crucial to keep our muscle healthy and our body moving!
One of the most important factors in our day to day lives… sleep! It’s a time in which our bodies refurbishes and heals itself, energizing itself for the day ahead. Lo and behold, glycine has been linked to an improved quality of sleep, leading to the individuals feeling more rejuvenated the next day (5, 6, 7). Glycine isn’t just for nighttime aid, as it’s also been linked to decreased daytime fatigue, allowing for better cognitive concentration and overall energy (8).
As mentioned above, glycine is the main amino acid present in collagen protein. And these collagen proteins can help restore connective tissue and reduce joint inflammation. Studies have linked collagen to joint pain relief, reduced osteoarthritis, and much more (9, 10 , 11). Other studies have linked glycine to anti-inflammatory effects when consumed on a regular basis (12, 13, 14). As glycine is one of the main components of collagen, it’s important to make sure you are consuming enough collagen to enjoy all of its health benefits.
Having a constant, sustained source of energy throughout the day can keep your mind focused and body moving. Glycine actually helps convert glucose, a simple sugar, into a source of energy (15). Not only does it help convert those simple sugars into usable energy, but glucose also help regular that energy in order for our bodies to maintain a stable state (16). Bone broth is a healthy source of glycine, which stems from the collagen that is naturally released during its production. You can read more about how bone broth provides sustainable energy here!
Everything we eat passes through our digestive tract, constantly working to digest things every day of our lives. Glycine actually helps aid our digestive tract in a couple of different ways! Firstly, it helps stimulate gastric acid to aid in our stomach’s digestive work, making it easier for foods to be broken down (17). Next, glycine works with other probiotics to keep our gut healthy, aiding our intestinal lining and its bowel movements (18, 19). Finally, glycine has been linked to helping heal liver injuries, protect against ulcers, strength intestinal muscles, and more (20, 21, 22). Keep your gut in check by adding extra glycine into your routine, as well as other prebiotic and probiotic foods for a healthier gut!