Glycine : The amino acid that is necessary for central nervous system function and a healthy prostate.

prostate_cancer
prostate_cancer (Photo credit: enochchoi)

Glycine  is a sweet-tasting, non-essential amino acid that can be produced from serine and threonine, which means that it is manufactured  in the liver; it does not have to be obtained directly through the diet. Glycine was first isolated in 1820 from gelatin and is also found in good quantity in silk fibroin. Glycine is required to build protein in the body. It is required for the synthesis of nucleic acids, the construction of RNA as well as DNA and synthesis of bile acids and other amino acids in the body. Glycine is also found to be useful in assisting with the absorption of calcium in the body. It helps in retarding degeneration of muscles as it helps to supply extra creatine in the body. Glycine is important in the body’s manufacture of hormones responsible for a strong immune system.

 

 

 

 

Glycine is the simplest amino acid and is the only amino acid that is not optically active (it has no stereoisomers). This amino acid is essential for the biosynthesis of nucleic acids as well as of bile acids, porphyrins, creatine phosphate, and other amino acids. On a molar basis, glycine is the second most common amino acid found in proteins and enzymes being incorporated at the rate of 7.5 percent compared to the other amino acids. Glycine is also similar to gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamic acid in the ability to inhibit neurotransmitter signals in the central nervous system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only the L form of amino acids are constituents of protein. Glycine is an important part of GTF (glucose tolerance factor). The prostate gland produces fluid that contains glycine and researchers think that it may have a positive influence on normal prostate function.  It is present in considerable amounts in prostate fluid. Glycine may play a role in maintaining the health of the prostate, since a study of 45 men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) found that 780 mg of glycine per day for two weeks and then 390 mg for the next two and a half months, taken in combination with equal amounts of the amino acids, alanine and glutamic acid, reduced symptoms of the condition. This effect has been reported by others. Glycine also enhances the activity of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain that are involved in memory and cognition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Function and Benefits of Glycine

  • Glycine is used by the nervous system and functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which makes it important to help prevent epileptic seizures
  • Glycine is also used in the treatment of manic depression and hyperactivity
  • Glycine also participates in the major energy producing biochemical processes in the body
  • This amino acid is also found to be produce in prostate fluid present in males so it is considered to be important for prostate normal functioning.
  • Glycine is the part of glutathione which is a coenzyme involved in many biochemical reactions. The important function of glutathione is that it helps in the maintenance of the cell integrity by protecting –SH group of hemoglobin, catalase and lipoproteins of the cell membrane. So glycine has an important antioxidant action.
  • Glycine is necessary for central nervous system function and a healthy prostate.

Deficiency Symptoms of Glycine

Few people are glycine deficient, in part because the body makes its own supply of the non-essential amino acids, and because it is abundant in food sources.

Rich Food Sources of Glycine

Glycine is mainly found in protein rich food.

  • Animal sources: Fish, dairy foods, meat, cheese etc
  • Plant sources: beans, soybean, spinach, pumpkin, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, burdock root, cucumber, kiwi , banana, etc
  • Glycine is a nonessential amino acid, which means that it is manufactured from other amino acids in the liver; it does not have to be obtained directly through the diet.
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Glutathione: The amino acid that prevent oxidative stress in most cells and helps to trap free radicals that can damage DNA and RNA.

Glutathione is actually a compound classified as a tripeptide made up the amino acids gamma-glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine and is also known as gamma-glutamylcysteinylglycine or GSH.  Like carnitine, glutathione is not technically one of the amino acids. It is a compound classified as a tripeptide, and the body produces it from the amino acids cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. Because of its close relationship to these amino acids, however, it is usually considered together with them.

The primary biological function of glutathione is to act as a non-enzymatic reducing agent to help keep cysteine thiol side chains in a reduced state on the surface of proteins. Glutathione is also used to prevent oxidative stress in most cells and helps to trap free radicals that can damage DNA and RNA. There is a direct correlation with the speed of aging and the reduction of glutathione concentrations in intracellular fluids. As individuals grow older, glutathione levels drop, and the ability to detoxify free radicals decreases.

Supplemental glutathione is expensive, and the effectiveness of oral formulas is questionable. To raise glutathione levels, it is better to supply the body with the raw materials it uses to make this compound: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. The N-acetyl form of cysteine, N-acetyl­cysteine (NAC), is considered particularly effective for this purpose

Function and Benefits of Glutathione

  • Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifies harmful compounds in the liver, which is then excreted through bile.
  • Glutathione is also found in the lungs and the intestinal tract. It is needed for carbohydrate metabolism and appears to exert anti-aging effects, aiding in the breakdown of oxidized fats that may contribute to atherosclerosis.
  • A significant component of the collective antioxidant defenses, and a highly potent antioxidant and antitoxin in its own right.
  • Glutathione is a very important detoxifying agent, enabling the body to get rid of undesirable toxins and pollutants. It forms a soluble compound with the toxin that can then be excreted through the urine or the gut.
  • Glutathione is required in many of the intricate steps needed to carry out an immune response. For example, it is needed for the lymphocytes to multiply in order to develop a strong immune response, and for ‘killer’ lymphocytes to be able to kill undesirable cells such as cancer cells or virally infected cells.
  • Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is produced in the liver. The largest stores of glutathione are found in the liver, where it detoxifies harmful compounds so that they can be excreted through the bile. Some glutathione is released from the liver directly into the bloodstream, where it helps to maintain the integrity of red blood cells and protect white blood cells.
  • lutathione is the major antioxidant produced by the cell, protecting it from ‘free radicals’ (‘oxygen radicals‘, ‘oxyradicals’). These highly reactive substances, if left unchecked, will damage or destroy key cell components (e.g. membranes, DNA) in microseconds. Glutathione recycles other well-known antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E, keeping them in their active state.

Deficiency Symptoms of Glutathione

  • A deficiency of glutathione first affects the nervous system, causing such symptoms as lack of coordination, mental disorders, tremors, and difficulty maintaining balance. These problems are believed to be due to the development of lesions in the brain.
  • A study sponsored in part by the National Cancer Institute found that people with HIV disease who had low glutathione levels had a lower survival rate over a three-year period than those whose glutathione levels were normal. As we age, glutathione levels decline, although it is not known whether this is because we use it more rapidly or produce less of it to begin with. Unfortunately, if not corrected, the lack of glutathione in turn accelerates the aging process.

Rich Food Sources of Glutathione

avocado, watermelon, asparagus, grapefruit, potato, acorn squash, strawberries, orange, tomato, cantaloupe, broccoli, okra, peach, zucchini, spinach and walnut