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Glycine May Help With Insomnia

Having trouble sleeping? You aren’t alone! Roughly 30% of Americans suffer with some degree of insomnia. When you look at those over the age of 60, the number goes up to 40-60%. One option for people with insomnia and is glycine. It not only improves sleep but also improves daytime alertness.

Glycine is an amino acid that is the smallest of 20 amino acids commonly found in proteins. In 2007, research showed that glycine, when 3000 mg were taken before bedtime, caused volunteers to fall asleep quicker and to enter into a deep sleep significantly faster. They also reported less daytime sleepiness, improved performance on tasks that require memory, and improvement in fatigue, liveliness and peppiness! Researchers still don’t know how glycine helps with sleep except that it functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain and nervous system, carrying messages between cells. It is predominantly an inhibitory or calming neurotransmitter. This may be how it promotes sleep. It is also known that glycine reduces core body temperature and increases blood flow to the skin. Normally in humans, at the onset of sleep, there is a decrease in core body temperature, which is maintained during sleep.

Our modern diet no longer contains many of the foods that are high in collagen, and therefore glycine. Foods high in collagen/glycine would include oxtail, joints, chicken gizzards, calf trachea, chitlins, tripe and the skin of animals. There is one way you can increase your glycine intake through food. Unflavored gelatin (not jello that is sweetened and flavored) provides a naturally derived source of collagen and contains glycine along with several other amino acids for a balanced intake of the essential amino acids (except tryptophan). You probably don’t want to eat unflavored gelatin, so find ways to use it in recipes, such as making pudding from milk and stevia along with chocolate, vanilla or thawed berries.

With the exception of those who have cancer (colon, ovaries or melanomas), glycine appears to be very safe. Advance Health has glycine in 500 mg capsules, which would require you to take 6 capsules at bedtime to get 3000 mg.