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Glycine is a non-essential amino acid which is used for the production of muscle tissue, for proper cell growth and production, for good digestive health and for the conversion of glucose into energy.
It is contained in the gelatine protein and is a major component of collagen, it helps skin to keep its elasticity and is needed for the healing process.
Although it can be synthesised within the body but good sources of glycine are fatty fish, meats and diary.
The benefits of using Glycine
Glycine has many formidable and sometimes hidden uses; it is a very underestimated but important amino acid.
The following are some essential and additional uses of glycine:
- Reduces anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder
- Enhances attention, memory, focus and mood
- Reduces ailments associated with fatigue
- Reduces back pain which has been attributed to its collagen/wound healing properties
- Helps with skin issues e.g. eczema
- Has a calming effect can be used to aid sleep (sleep is very important to aid muscle growth and recovery)
Using Glycine as a supplement for muscle growth
Research has indicated that there is little evidence for the use of glycine as a supplement to be used on its own.
However, there is evidence to suggest that when glycine is consumed with glucose, blood glucose levels were suppressed by around 50% when comparing the results to consuming glucose on its own, with no significant differences in the body’s insulin levels.
This mechanism was attributed to improved insulin sensitivity which was connected to glycine’s role in enhancing the removal of blood glucose.
Therefore, glycine definitely has a key role in increasing the physiological impact of insulin and this is vital in muscle growth.
The role of insulin
A reminder, insulin helps to store glycogen within the muscles and liver, it also helps to convert the excess into fat and decrease the body’s fat burning potential.
Another important role of insulin is that it increases the amino acid uptake within the muscle, which is extremely important for muscle growth and recovery.
This process occurs via insulin promoting protein synthesis through the stimulation of the RNA translation mechanism.
Much of the early research based around glycine concentrated on its ability to improve muscle strength.
However, more current research has documented that glycine supplementation of 7 grams, significantly increased growth hormone levels 3-4 hours post exercise, and this was attributed to its stimulatory agents acting upon the pituitary gland.
When combined with a high intensity resistance program, glycine supplementation does increase growth hormone levels which is excellent news when trying to build muscle mass.
The role of growth hormone
Growth hormones are potent anabolic agent which facilitates muscle growth and hypertrophy.
They also preserve lean body mass and this is essentially for keeping the body’s metabolism high. It also aids in the release of stored fat for energy and enhances cellular repair.
In addition, increased GH levels delays the onset of cortisol; which a hormone used in the storage of belly fat and stops its catabolic actions on using muscle proteins as fuel.
Another benefit of having elevated growth hormones levels is that liver glycogen is sparred and this enables you to train for a longer duration, at a higher intensity.
Therefore, less glycogen from carbohydrate is being utilised, more body fat is being burnt off and energy is boosted.
This equates to gains in strength and muscle growth, as resistance training on its own raises GH levels. You get the double impact off this anabolic hormone, if supplemented and used in the correct manner.
Stacking Glycine with other supplements
When stacked with L-arginine, glycine can reduce fatigue levels.
Valid research has backed up this statement and over a 25 day period when stacking with both supplements, there was a 30% reduction in fatigue levels and a 10% increase in workload.
Therefore, the results indicated that by stacking with these two supplements you can exercise for longer, especially at higher intensities.
This would impact on your strength gains and increase your muscle mass potential. This is all good news, when you are on your muscle building journey.
Glycine is one of the important amino acids that are required for the biosynthesis of creatine.
Creatine provides the muscles with an excellent energy source and is a catalyst to help build muscle mass and strength.
Creatine uptake is controlled by glucose and insulin and by adding glycine definitely increases creatine absorption into the working muscles.
The recommended amount to use is 1 gram of glycine to every 5 grams of creatine.
In addition, consuming glycine with glucose post exercise would aid glycogen retention, optimise insulin sensitivity and promote muscle growth and recovery.
Therefore, by adding glycine to your glucose or creatine in between work outs will allow you to recover quicker, to train harder and build muscle a lot quicker.