Glycine can you sleep, stabilize your blood sugar, improve your joint health, keep your skin beautiful, and do much more. It’s a little amino acid with a big impact on your health.
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Glycine and Collagen Supplement Recommendations
The best way to get glycine is from hydrolyzed collagen. Great Lakes offers the best balance of quality, transparency, and price. Vital Proteins, while more expensive, uses enzymatic digestions rather than heat to hydrolyze the collagen, and some people find that their digestion tolerates Vital Proteins but not other brands.
Some people respond better to pure glycine. For these cases I recommend Bulk Supplements pure glycine powder. It has the same sweetness as sugar and can be used as a sweetener.
Lab Tests Related to Glycine
The Genova ION Panel + 40 Amino Acids has glycine, sarcosine, pyroglutamate, xanthurenate, kynurenate, and quinolinate. If glycine is below the middle of the range, you may need more. If pyroglutamate is mid-range or higher, you do not have enough glycine to synthesize the amount of glutathione your body is trying to make. If sarcosine is mid-range or higher, your glycine is being depleted as a methyl buffer. If xanthurenate, kynurenate, and quinolinate are elevated, you are probably deficient in B6, which compromises endogenous glycine synthesis and makes the hydroxyproline in collagen more likely to generate oxalate.
24-hour urine oxalate (LabCorp) while consuming the amount of collagen you usually consume or random urine oxalate (Quest) after a collagen-rich meal can be used to test whether collagen supplementation is raising your urinary oxalate levels.
These tests are covered in more detail, with all other nutritional testing one click away, in Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet.
Show Notes for “Why You Need Glycine: A Panel Discussion”
00:44 Introducing Alex Leaf and Vladimir Heiskanen
02:43 Cliff Notes
16:43 Vladimir, Alex, and Chris each share their favorite underappreciated fact about glycine.
19:27 Roles of glycine include detoxification, glutathione synthesis, heme synthesis, creatine synthesis, collagen synthesis, removal of intermediates when metabolic pathways are backed up, and it acts as a calming neurotransmitter.
25:21 Glycine synthesis is almost entirely dependent on folate utilization and generates about 3 grams per day.
31:52 Glycine is consumed in the diet, but methionine, found abundantly in animal protein, increases the need for glycine.
34:49 MTHFR mutations worsen glycine status.
37:25 Over the course of evolution, our collagen requirements increased substantially, but our ability to synthesize glycine stayed the same.
41:41 We run a deficit of our ability to synthesize glycine relative to our needs of about 10 grams per day, according to the most conservative estimate.
46:25 Running a glycine deficit is an intrinsic part of the biology of large vertebrates, but our ancestors mitigated this deficit by eating collagen-rich diets.
50:10 Glycine competes with other amino acids for intestinal absorption, and free glycine is absorbed less efficiently than glycine in the form of di- or tripeptides, as found in collagen.
55:11 In animal studies, glycine protects against the metabolic consequences of obesogenic diets, diabetes complications, cancer, liver injury, and kidney injury; and it has anti-inflammatory effects that might protect against endotoxins.
59:34 In human studies, glycine supplementation promotes healthy sleep and blood glucose regulation.
01:02:40 Glycine is overwhelmingly safe.
01:05:16 Collagen supplementation may increase urinary oxalate excretion.
01:07:21 Strategies to minimize risk of kidney stones: ensure optimal B6 status; measure urinary oxalate excretion; monitor urine pH; get 800-1200 mg calcium; other protective factors are vitamin A, magnesium, and citrate.
01:19:12 Practicalities of glycine supplementation; how Vladimir, Alex, and Chris get their glycine; and how collagen and glycine fit into the overall protein requirement.
01:38:01 Lab tests to assess glycine status
Meet the Panel
Alex Leaf, MS in Nutrition, CISSN.
A certified sports nutritionist and personal trainer, Alex Leaf holds a master’s degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University. He is a full-time researcher at Examine.com involved in updating the supplement database, writing and editing Examine Research Digest articles, and blogging about nutrition. Alex also teaches young minds about human nutrition and functional medicine at the University of Western States. He enjoys blending the scientific aspects of nutrition with the pragmatic realities of life to help others achieve their goals. Alex contributed to Examine’s glycine page and is in the process of updating it.
Vladimir Heiskanen is based in Finland and has been researching and writing about health for several years. Currently a dental student at the University of Helsinki and a blogger since 2010, he has a keen interest in human biology, and has studied scores of books and cutting-edge scientific reports. His special interests are photobiomodulation (red light therapy), nutrition, mitochondrial function and obesity research. Vladimir wrote an extensive review of glycine research on his blog several years ago.
Links and Research Related to Glycine
The Examine.Com page on glycine.
Gelatin, Stress, and Longevity by Ray Peat was the article that initially inspired Vladimir to research glycine.
Health Benefits of Glycine is Vladimir’s own review.
Gannon et al. The metabolic response to ingested glycine. 2002.
Sugiyama et al. Effect of dietary glycine on methionine metabolism in rats fed a high-methionine diet. 1987.
Honeyguide: Bone Broth, Gelatin, Oxalate, and Kidney Stones
Knight et al. Hydroxyproline ingestion and urinary oxalate and glycolate excretion. 2006.
Other Posts Related to Glycine
Chris Masterjohn Lite: Get Better Sleep With Glycine
Chris Masterjohn Lite: Collagen Before Your Workout For Tendon Health
Chris Masterjohn Lite: Glycine With a Meal for Blood Sugar
Chris Masterjohn Lite: Oxalates — Should You Be Concerned About Collagen?
Chris Masterjohn Lite: Ten Tips for Preventing Kidney Stones
Chris Masterjohn Lite: What to Do About MTHFR
Chris Masterjohn Lite: This is the Blood Work You Should Get for MTHFR
Mastering Nutrition: Living With MTHFR
Mastering Nutrition: Methylate Your Way to Mental Health With Dopamine
Mastering Nutrition: Creatine — Far More Than a Performance Enhancer
For even more, search the site for “glycine.”