Glycine is a non-essential amino acid with the simplest structure among all amino acids or “building blocks” of proteins. It is produced in the body from other nutrients and is largely found in protein-based organs like the muscles, skin, and connective tissues. Glycine is the primary amino acid found in sugar cane and also found in protein rich foods such as red meat, fish, dairy products, legumes, and beans.
Being the smallest amino acid, Glycine is able to perform numerous important functions in the body. These functions include stabilising blood sugar levels by supporting the conversion of glucose into energy, regulating bile acid production for fat breakdown, and being an active ingredient in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain stem and spinal cord. It is also used in making DNA and RNA, the genetic materials found in the cells. These functions of Glycine provide the body with numerous health benefits.
Glycine is being converted into creatine, which helps create more muscles and prevent muscle breakdown. This is why it is being used as a bodybuilding supplement and by athletes to improve sport performance. Glycine aids with effective diabetes management to help ensure normal blood sugar levels. It reduces glucose in the blood by helping the cells utilise glucose to produce usable energy, which is then used by the heart, brain, muscles, and other organs to function properly. Glycine benefits weight control by promoting effective break down of fats as it regulates production of bile acid by the liver.
Glycine interferes with the activities of excitatory neurotransmitters, which play a role in the progression of schizophrenia, seizures, and bipolar disorder. While naturally promoting calmness, it can enhance mental alertness, focus, memory, mood, and exhibit anti-stress mechanisms. It may benefit men with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), as many are found to be low in this non-essential amino acid. BPH is a very common prostate condition affecting men 40 years old and above. It is not a life-threatening condition but it reduces one’s quality of life with its painful urinary symptoms.
Glycine helps maintain the strength of the connective tissues including the tendons, cartilages, and ligaments. Its simple structure allows glycine to easily fit into protein chains and maintain the functions of these protein-based organs. Like other connective tissues, Glycine also keeps the skin’s natural elasticity to maintain its youthful appearance. It is a major component of collagen, the skin’s main structural component. Its role in supporting collagen production makes Glycine very useful in promoting wound healing from wound and cuts.
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