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What Is L-Glycine?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 18 April 2014
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L-glycine is one of 12 non-essential amino acids. It is used by the body to build protein. While l-glycine is produced naturally by the body through other amino acids, it is also found in protein-rich foods and is consumed by some people in supplement form.

As an amino acid, l-glycine provides several benefits to the body. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and also encourages the production of essential neurotransmitters and enzymes needed for proper brain functioning. In addition, it slows down the muscle degeneration process and helps to maintain the body's thymus gland, spleen, bone marrow, and white blood cell levels.

Neurotransmitters are responsible for sending and receiving messages within the brain. Amino acids are directly involved in this process, helping to facilitate the communication with nerve cells located in other parts of the body. Since l-glycine helps the body to produce essential neurotransmitters, it has been used to relieve mood disorders such as depression.

Some amino acids also pass through the brain's barrier, directly affecting its chemistry and processes. Certain ones, including l-glycine, are thought to help reduce stress, anxiety, frustration, and feelings of being overwhelmed. One of the benefits is improved cognitive flow, which allows the brain to smoothly transform thought into action.

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L-glycine has also been used to treat hyperactivity and manic depression, and to prevent epileptic seizures. In addition to its soothing effect on the brain, exposure to this amino acid helps to calm the body's central nervous system. Supplements of l-glycine may be used to treat hyperactive disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in conjunction with traditional medicine.

Protein is essential to the body's muscle building and repair process, and protein-building amino acids can enhance the effects of vitamins and minerals. L-glycine is among the amino acids that provide the human body with the chemicals necessary to synthesize proteins, enzymes and hormones. These acids also directly affect the metabolic rate that is attained when an individual participates in strenuous physical activity.

For the majority of individuals, l-glycine is produced naturally in the body. Those with a low level of serine, another non-essential amino acid, may find that they need to increase their dietary intake of l-glycine through high-protein foods or supplements. Natural food sources include proteins like meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs, as well as a few plants and vegetables. Supplements are a good alternative for those who follow a vegetarian diet.

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