As a nonessential amino acid, glycine is naturally produced by the body. It is also found in protein-rich foods and in dietary supplements. Glycine supplements are claimed to be useful for treating several conditions, such as schizophrenia, strokes, memory problems, and an enlarged prostate. Even though it is a "natural" product, the supplements can cause side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness.
What Is Glycine?
Glycine is a nonessential amino acid. This means that it does not need to be obtained from dietary sources (although it is found in many foods); the human body can make glycine using serine, another amino acid. It is also used in dietary supplements and is claimed to be useful for a variety of different conditions, such as:
- Memory problems
- An enlarged prostate (also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BHP).
(Click Glycine Benefits for more information on these and other uses.)
Glycine is an amino acid, which is important for building proteins. For most people, the body can make its own, although glycine is also found in protein-rich foods. In addition to its use as a building block for making proteins, glycine works as a neurotransmitter in the brain, stimulating NMDA receptors. "NMDA" stands for N-methyl-D-aspartate. Some of the symptoms of schizophrenia may be related to problems with NMDA receptors.
Glycine may be useful for schizophrenia treatment in certain situations, and it may also be effective at limiting the effects of strokes (if taken shortly after a stroke) and for treating leg ulcers (when applied to the skin). It is not known if the product is effective for other uses.
(Click Does Glycine Work? for more information.)