The Mental Health Benefits of Glycine

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any question you may have regarding dietary supplements.

What Is Glycine?

Glycine is a naturally occurring amino acid involved in various biochemical processes in the body, including the synthesis of DNA and RNA, the production of enzymes, and the metabolism of fats.

Glycine can be found in foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, as well as some plant-based foods, such as beans and legumes. Glycine supplements are made from pure glycine that has been extracted from these foods.

Glycine also plays a role in cell signaling and is involved in the regulation of muscle contraction. The chemical structure of glycine makes it a versatile molecule that can bind to other molecules, including proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. Glycine can be produced naturally by the body or obtained through the diet or in supplement form.

Mental Health Benefits

Glycine has been shown to have various mental health benefits. Below is a brief list of some of the ways glycine can improve mental health:

  1. Glycine can help to improve sleep quality. For example, one study found that taking glycine before bed improved the quality of sleep in people with insomnia.
  2. Glycine can help to improve memory and cognitive function. Research shows that taking glycine improved memory and cognitive function in people with age-related memory decline.
  3. Glycine can help to treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For example, one study found that taking glycine improved ADHD symptoms.
  4. Glycine can help to treat symptoms of schizophrenia. A study found that taking glycine improved symptoms of schizophrenia, including positive symptoms (e.g., hallucinations and delusions) and negative symptoms (e.g., social withdrawal and apathy).

If you are interested in trying glycine for yourself, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider to see if it is right for you. Glycine is generally considered safe, but there is always a risk of side effects when taking any supplement.

In addition, it is important to be aware that the research on glycine's mental health benefits is still in its early stages, and more research is needed to confirm its efficacy. Nevertheless, glycine shows promise as a natural treatment for various mental health conditions.

Possible Side Effects

Glycine is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. However, some people may experience side effects, such as abdominal pain (generally reported when taken on an empty stomach) and soft stools. If you experience any of these side effects, please consult with your healthcare provider.

Glycine may also interact with certain medications, so it is important to be aware of these potential interactions before taking glycine. For example, glycine may increase the effects of antipsychotic medications. Therefore, it is important to speak with a mental health professional or physician if you are taking any medication before taking glycine.

Dosage and Preparation

Glycine is available in supplement form and can be taken orally. The dosage of glycine may vary depending on the condition being treated. For example, the recommended dosage for improving sleep quality is 3 grams before bedtime. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking glycine to ensure you are taking the appropriate dosage.

Glycine is also sometimes used as an intravenous (IV) infusion. This means that the glycine is injected directly into the vein. The IV infusion may be used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia and sleep disorders.

What to Look For

When purchasing glycine supplements, it is important to choose a product that is high quality and from a reputable source. Look on the label to make sure the product contains 100% pure glycine.

In addition, it is important to choose a product that has been third-party tested for quality and safety. Foods that naturally contain glycine include meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. Glycine is also found in some plant-based foods, such as beans and legumes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is glycine the same as glutamine?

    No, glycine and glutamine are two different amino acids. Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, while glutamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter. Glycine supplements may be beneficial for conditions such as insomnia, stress, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Glutamine supplements may be beneficial for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and OCD.

  • Can glycine be taken with other supplements?

    It is important to speak with your healthcare provider before taking multiple supplements to ensure they are safe to take together, as every body is different.

  • Can glycine be taken with medication?

    As mentioned previously, taking glycine with antipsychotic medication may increase the effects of the medication. This may also apply to other medications you may currently be taking, so it's best to seek advice from your healthcare provider.

A Word From Verywell

Glycine can be a helpful supplement for people who are struggling with conditions such as insomnia, stress, anxiety, and schizophrenia. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking glycine. Glycine may not be appropriate for people who are taking certain medications.

10 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  7. Heresco-Levy U, Javitt DC, Ermilov M, Mordel C, Silipo G, Lichtenstein M. Efficacy of high-dose glycine in the treatment of enduring negative symptoms of schizophreniaArch Gen Psychiatry. 1999;56(1):29-36. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.56.1.29

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By Arlin Cuncic
Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety."