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Posted by: Trevor
July 18, 2020
Glycine is an amino acid. Your body can produce up to around 2 grams of glycine per day on its own, which it synthesizes from other biochemicals, but you need about 15 grams per day, so your body has to make up the difference by getting glycine from foods.
The richest sources of glycine are animal products, particularly meat. This is because meat (especially bone joints and tendons) contains collagen, and collagen is high in glycine. Extraordinarily high.
That's why bone broth is, in my opinion, the ideal source for glycine. When bone broth is made from large amounts of collagen-rich materials (such as bones and tendons) it results in exceptionally high glycine levels.
Glycine helps your body produce serotonin, which affects your sleep. Research shows that when you ingest glycine prior to sleep, serotonin levels increase, insomnia is reduced, and sleep quality is improved. It also improves the quality of sleep cycles.
Glycine helps people and animals get a good night's sleep (image courtesy Wikimedia)
Does that mean collagen supplements (such as collagen pills and collagen powders) are a good way to get glycine? Yes, but no. Collagen powders and pills don't normally contain tryptophan, which your body uses to assist in the production of serotonin. So if you supplement with collagen pills but you aren't getting the tryptophan, you may actually reduce your serotonin levels, not increase them. This is one reason I usually prefer whole foods over supplements.
Bone broth not only contains collagen but (if made properly) also tryptophan because of the meat on the bones (meat contains tryptophan). When we make our bone broth, there is still plenty of meat on the bones, resulting in a food that is balanced.
What really helps me the most is glycine's thermoregulation of my core body temperature. When I ingest glycine before bed, it reduces my core temperature and promotes longer periods of deep sleep. The glycine interacts with my brain's circadian rhythm system, helping it produce the conditions necessary for a full night of rest.
Research has shown that ingesting glycine prior to sleep is associated with reaching deeper sleep, faster, and also reaching the deepest sleep stage.
In another study, glycine was found to reduce symptoms of fatigue, coinciding with greater mental clarity and energy upon waking. Unlike other sleep aids, glycine doesn't make people groggy.
In other words, glycine has been shown to not only improve sleep, but also to help people wake up feeling refreshed.
In my own life, I find that a cup of bone broth before going to bed helps me sleep much better.
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