Glycine is a non-essential amino acid. It is one of the simplest amino acids and one of the most abundant amino acids in the body. Glycine can be produced by the body itself from the amino acid serine. This process takes place in the liver, where specific enzymes carry out the necessary chemical reactions. However, there are numerous vegan glycine-rich foods that you can find in the glycine table above. The glycine contained in these foods is also the main source of glycine in the body.
The amino acid primarily serves as a building block for proteins and is particularly important for the synthesis and structure of collagen. Collagen is an essential structural protein found in the skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissues.
In addition, glycine acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It inhibits the transmission of nerve signals and can have a calming effect on the brain. Glycine can reduce anxiety and improve sleep. It is also believed to have neuroprotective effects.
It is also involved in the synthesis of hemoglobin, the protein that transports oxygen in the blood. Glycine supports the formation and maturation of red blood cells and contributes to maintaining normal blood production.
Furthermore, glycine is involved in the regulation of glucose and fat metabolism and can support energy balance and optimize metabolism.
Difference between Glycine and L-Glycine?
Glycine and L-glycine are synonymous terms and refer to the same amino acid. The letter "L" in L-glycine stands for the left-handed configuration of the molecule, which is the natural form of glycine. In many dietary supplements, L-glycine is commonly used as an ingredient.
In addition to L-glycine, there is another form called D-glycine, which is right-handed. D-glycine is less common in nature and is usually not used in proteins.
There may be an increased need for glycine in a few groups, although the body can produce glycine on its own. The list reveals which groups:
- During growth, children and adolescents require more glycine as it is important for the formation of collagen and other structural proteins.
- In certain diseases or after injuries, the body may have an increased need for glycine to repair damaged tissues and support the healing process.
- Athletes or individuals engaged in regular intense training may have an increased glycine requirement. Intense muscle activity can elevate glycine consumption as it plays a role in energy production during exercise. Vegan glycine-rich foods can be an option in this regard.
- In stressful situations, the body may have an increased need for glycine, as it is involved in regulating the nervous system and can have a calming effect.
- In liver diseases such as cirrhosis, glycine metabolism can be impaired.
- Certain genetic metabolic disorders can affect glycine metabolism.
- In chronic inflammations such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel diseases, the need for glycine may be increased due to heightened protein turnover and increased repair and healing demands.
Glycine Foods - Sources
Glycine is an amino acid found in protein-rich foods. Significant amounts of glycine are also present in plant-based foods. The list showcases good to excellent glycine food sources within each food group:
- Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, black beans, peanuts, kidney beans, green peas, soybeans, mung beans, and black beans are rich in glycine. These versatile protein sources not only provide a significant amount of glycine but also fiber. Soy products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame are rich in plant-based protein and also contain glycine. You can find the table with glycine content in legumes here.
- Whole grains and pseudocereals such as oats, quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, barley, brown rice, and spelt also contain glycine. These grains can be used as the main component of meals or as a side dish. If you're interested in glycine in grains, use this table.
- Nuts and seeds are a good source of glycine. According to the table, examples include almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, all of which have a high glycine content.
- Seaweeds like nori and wakame, as well as sea vegetables like spirulina and chlorella, are not only rich in various minerals and trace elements but also provide a sufficient amount of glycine.
- Vegetables can contain glycine, although in smaller amounts. Better examples include kale, spinach, shallots, broccoli, asparagus, lamb's lettuce, cauliflower, leeks, and parsnips.
- In comparison to the other groups, fruits are not among the best sources of glycine. Low glycine levels can be found in avocados, oranges, jackfruits, kiwis, persimmons, apricots, and bananas.
Some foods can lose their glycine content when excessively processed. Therefore, prefer fresh, natural foods and minimize consumption of heavily processed products that may contain less glycine.
Vegan Glycine Diet
You can incorporate glycine-rich foods into your diet in various ways. Here are examples of vegan recipes that contain glycine:
- Green smoothie with spinach, banana, and oat milk
- Quinoa salad with chickpeas, cucumbers, and tomatoes
- Vegan bean burgers with oats and spices
- Vegetable soup with carrots, celery, and potatoes
- Lentil curry with coconut milk and spices
- Quinoa bowl with avocado, tomatoes, and arugula
- Vegan chili sin carne with kidney beans and corn
- Sweet potato soup with ginger and coconut milk
- Bean salad with black beans, corn, and bell peppers
- Vegan sushi rolls with vegetables and avocado
- Couscous salad with grilled vegetables and herbs
- Tomato salad with fresh herbs and olive oil
- Vegan protein bars with oats, nuts, and dates
- Whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and roasted chickpeas
- Broccoli arugula salad with walnuts and cranberries
- Vegan banana pancakes with oats and flaxseeds
- Zoodles (zucchini noodles) with basil pesto and pine nuts