Glycine: A Natural Approach to Anxiety

Glycine is one of the 20 amino acids in the human body. It has a calming effect on a person’s brain which helps reduce anxiety and help someone fall asleep.

Woman with anxiety and alone in the dark

Glycine is one of the 20 amino acids in the human body. The body needs it to make antioxidants, which help to protect the body from illness and disease. It’s the main amino acid found in collagen, which is needed to keep skin soft and stretchy. It might also help with heart health and type-2 diabetes. Another possible benefit is glycine for anxiety. Some studies show that the dietary supplement might help with sleep quality in particular. It’s important to note that researchers are still studying the possible benefits of this amino acid. However, results show that it might help with certain conditions like anxiety disorders and problems not getting a good night’s sleep.

What’s the big deal about glycine? The amino acid has a calming effect on a person’s brain. This can help to reduce anxiety and help someone fall asleep and get more shut-eye by lowering the core body temperature. It might also help people to stay more alert during the daytime.  Fun Fact: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports over one-third of US adults regularly don’t get enough sleep. There’s often a link between anxiety and insomnia because worrying about things in your life can keep you from getting enough shut-eye.

What Is Glycine?

All amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 of them in the human body. Glycine is one of the 11 “non-essential” amino acids. What does it mean? You don’t have to get the stuff from food and supplements since the body produces it. However, this doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need it. It’s still important and sometimes you’ll have to boost your levels due to factors like health conditions.

In fact, we also get glycine from our daily diet. The average amount is 2g every day. The main sources are high-protein foods like fish, meat, beans, and dairy.

Glycine is used to treat many conditions including:

  • Sleep problems
  • BPH (enlarged prostate)
  • Stroke
  • Schizophrenia

The supplements are also used for other purposes. They include protecting the liver from the dangerous effects of heavy alcohol-drinking. It’s also used to protect kidneys from possible side-effects of some prescription meds. Glycine is also used to boost memory and prevent cancer.

You can take glycine in different ways. They include over-the-counter (OTC) dietary supplements you can get at drugstores and health food stores. It can also be applied topically to the skin in order to treat conditions like leg ulcers.

Like other amino acids, the human body uses glycine so it can build proteins. It also has several other functions. For example, scientists think it might help with cancer prevention since it seems to block oxygen from getting to cancer tumors. The amino acid is also involved in sending/receiving chemical signals within the brain. This can help to improve memory and treat schizophrenia.

Studies also show that placing glycine underneath the tongue might help to reduce brain damage resulting from the most common kind of stroke. This should b done within 6 hours of the stroke.

Glycine might also help with leg ulcers by decreasing pain and speeding up healing.

Glycine for anxiety

Glycine for Anxiety

Another possible use of glycine is to treat anxiety. But does glycine for anxiety really works? This is mostly based on studies that show the amino acid might help to improve the quality of sleep.

When you lie down to sleep at night the goal is to experience REM (deep) sleep. There are four stages that you go through several times during the night. Stage 4 is the deepest type of sleep.

Sometimes different factors like loud noises or worry/anxiety can prevent you from going through the normal cycle of Non-REM to REM.

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. It can be caused by different factors like drinking coffee before bedtime, jet lag, illness, or drug side-effects. Stress can also cause insomnia. This could be a stressful situation that happens at nighttime or things you’re worrying about.

There are different things you can try to fall asleep better. They include drinking a glass of milk, counting sheep, and relaxation techniques. 

Some people try sleeping pills. However, they often contain strong chemicals that can help you sleep yet also cause unwanted side-effects.

A natural remedy is glycine supplements. Studies show they can provide various benefits that can help you fall asleep and get more REM. They include lower core body temperatures and brain-calming.

Studies show the ideal dosage is 3g of glycine just before bedtime. This seems to help people fall asleep faster, get better sleep quality, and experience less daytime drowsiness during the day.

It’s worth noting that the best approach is to deal with the anxiety itself. If something is causing you stress at bedtime then deal with it as well as you can during the daytime. Worrying will just make matters worse because then you’ll also be dealing with insomnia.

In fact, there’s nothing “magical’ about glycine. It’s one of several natural remedies that can help calm your mind and help your body shut down properly for the night. That brings us to…

Other Natural Anxiety Remedies

Here are some other natural remedies for treating sleeping disorders:

1. Herbal Teas

Several herbal teas can help people reduce anxiety and sleep better. This herbal beverage produces different benefits for some people.

Herbal teas, in general, can cause a calming effect on people. However, it seems that certain blends might affect the brain in ways that help people experience less anxiety and more sleep. 

2. CBD Oil

This oil is made from the marijuana plant. However, it doesn’t contain THC, which causes people to have a “high.” You can find several over-the-counter (OTC) CBD products in health stores. Some studies show that CBD is effective in treating anxiety/panic.

3. Aromatherapy

This practice dates back to ancient times and is an effective way to treat stress/anxiety. Not all plant-based scents are effective for this purpose so try doing some experimentation to find the ones that work best for you.

Lavender is easily one of the best options. In fact, a 2012 study showed that lavender seems to provide a short-term lower heart rate. This can provide long-term help with sleep issues.

4. Herbal Supplements

These products can have the same effect as some herbal teas However, there are a few caveats. There’s less scientific evidence for herbal supplements than herbal teas about their effectiveness for treating anxiety.

Another issue is supplements have a less natural form than herbal teas and especially when you steep fresh herbs. Supplements are more processed so they’re less “natural.” This also increases the chance of problems like bacteria and toxins getting in the product.

Another issue is you should check with your doctor before taking any new supplements. That’s because they might cause “interactions” with other OTC/Rx medicines. In some cases, this could cause serious symptoms. If you avoid them you can avoid tossing and turning all night like glycine for anxiety.

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