Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Glycine metabolism

with 2 comments

I haven’t been keeping this blog up to date. There’s so many things I need to blog about, but I just don’t have time! Hopefully this post will plug a few gaps for people.

Glycine is essential for the synthesis of nucleic acids, bile acids, proteins, peptides, purines, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), porphyrins, hemoglobin, glutathione, creatine, bile salts, one-carbon fragments, glucose, glycogen, and l-serine and other amino acids. Glucagon is a hormone that causes glycogen (stored in the liver) to convert to glucose which is needed by the body for energy. Glycine increases the release of glucose into the blood stream by stimulating the glucagon hormone. Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, especially in the spinal cord. Glycine systems may be important in controlling epilepsy and other CNS disorders. Glycine also enhances the activity of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain that are involved in memory and cognition. Glycine may be indicated to help alleviate the symptoms of spasticity. Glycine is an inhibitory amino acid with important functions centrally and peripherally. Molecular analogs and precursors can be used to augment these systems. The charged species have difficulty passing the blood-brain barrier and must be carried by transport pumps. Glycine helps convert many potentially harmful substances including toxic phenolic materials such as benzoic acid (sodium benzoate) into harmless forms. Vitamin Supplements

Glycine, along with Coenzyme A (derived from pantothenic acid) are required for salicylate detoxification through the amino acid conjugation pathway. This might be why I was dependent on pantothenic acid for a long time in order to feel normal, though it eventually threw my system so out of balance that it made me worse. However, glycine doesn’t seem to do much for me, which is why I’ve not bothered blogging about it. But trimethylglycine (betaine) does help a bit, especially with brain fog. As I am not protein deficient, I am producing enough glycine every day to meet my needs. For this reason I haven’t tried glycine on particularly bad reactions, or in really big doses, favouring TMG instead. I’ve only taken 500mg tablets of glycine in the past since I generally have a low tolerance of amino acid tablets. Glycine tablets tend to make me feel very depressed. It’s actually almost as though I’m having a glutamate reaction – probably because although glycine often antagonises glutamate in the brain, glycine also agonises glutamate on some receptors.

Vitamin B6 converts certain amino acids (glutamic acid, aspartic acid, glycine) to energy. This allows the body to process all dietary protein, even when the dietary protein is in excess of the body’s needs. Vitamin B6 also allows the body to synthesize certain amino acids. For example, if the diet is deficient or low in certain amino acids, such as glycine or serine, vitamin B6 enables the body to make them from sugar. Vitamin B6 is used also for the synthesis of certain hormones, such as adrenaline. enotes

B6 generally helps me a tiny bit when I am reacting, but it can make me feel worse if I take it every day.

Vitamin B-6 deficiency has been shown to increase urinary oxalate excretion. This represents the body’s inability to convert glyoxalate to glycine, which is necessary to synthesize glycine and serine. Springerboard

It’s interesting that a B6 deficiency causes a deficiency of glycine and an increase in oxalate production. I can see from this how prolonged, genuine B6 deficiency, OR a genotype/phenotype based low production of the enzymes involved, could cause hyperoxaluria in combination with a low tolerance for pharmaceutical doses of salicylate or benzoate.

The quantity of endogenous oxalate produced in these experiments must be related to the amount of oxalate precursors ingested and the degree of vitamin B6, deficiency produced. It appears from this study and that of Calhoun et al. in vitamin B6-deficient rats and the work of Archer et al. and Scowen et al. in cases of primary hyperoxaluria, that a considerable amount of urinary oxalate may be of endogenous origin and derived in great part from glycine. Oxalate has been shown to be formed from glycine via glyoxylic acid (10, 11) and inhibition of the system described by Cammarata and Cohen (12), i.e. glyoxylic acid plus glutamic acid, glycine plus a-ketoglutaric acid, could result in an accumulation of glyoxylic acid with increased oxalate formation. Endogenous Oxalate Synthesis and Glycine, Serine, Deoxypyridoxine Interrelationships in Vitamin B6-deficient Rats [pdf]

This is why glycine supplementation makes me very nervous, like everything else it can backfire and make things worse, and eventually it distorts something else. Unless you know exactly where the problem lies and what’s causing it, the odds are against you getting it right. This is why I don’t supplement regularly with anything anymore.

The body normally has plenty of glycine going spare – it is given to patients suffering from aspirin toxicity, but there is no evidence that someone who experiences side effects from the tiny quantities of salicylates in food (say, 1mg or so) would require supplementary doses of glycine. I think the human body would simply stop working if natural levels of glycine were so low they couldn’t soak up that little salicylate!


Written by alienrobotgirl

7 January, 2007 at 10:46 am

Posted in Don't Do This

2 Responses

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  1. Your articles are great, but when you refer to let’s say, Glycine, can you refer what foods would be best to consume that has Glycine? It would be very beneficial to one who is a first time reader, like myself, and learning from your marvelous articles! :)Thank You!Jane Mac


    24 January, 2007 at 12:18 pm

  2. Hi Jane!Chicken stock and gelatine are very high in glycine. Stock can develop amines and glutamates quickly, unless you are very careful. Put the stock on immediately after cooking a chicken, only cook for 1-2 hours, and eat straight away.I am currently doing a trial with commercial gelatine, which is supposed to be allowed. So far, it gives me a bit of a foggy brain for an hour or so after eating, but then it goes away again. It seems to make me do very big wees, and that could be a bad sign or a good sign! I haven’t figured it out yet!

    Alien Robot Girl

    25 January, 2007 at 9:51 pm

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