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Glycine for sleep?

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Altostrata

A sleep medicine specialist suggested I take glycine for sleep. He said it diverts cortisol to more constructive purposes than alerting, among other things. I've been taking 500mg for more than a month; it doesn't seem to having much effect, good or bad. Perhaps it takes a few grams.

 

J Pharmacol Sci. 2012;118(2):145-8. Epub 2012 Jan 27.

New therapeutic strategy for amino acid medicine: glycine improves the quality of sleep.

Bannai M, Kawai N.

Source

 

Frontier Research Laboratories, Institute for Innovation, Ajinomoto Co., Inc., Japan. makoto_bannai@ajinomoto.com

 

Abstract and free full text at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22293292

 

Glycine is a non-essential amino acid that has indispensable roles in both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission via N-methyl-D-aspartate type glutamate receptors and glycine receptors, respectively. We recently reported that glycine ingestion before bedtime significantly ameliorated subjective sleep quality in individuals with insomniac tendencies. Oral administration of glycine to rats was found to induce a significant increase in the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid glycine concentrations and a significant decrease in the core body temperature associated with an increase in cutaneous blood flow. The decline in the core body temperature might be a mechanism underlying glycine's effect on sleep, as the onset of sleep is known to involve a decrease in the core body temperature. Moreover, a low core body temperature is maintained during sleep in humans. Pharmacological studies investigating the mechanisms of glycine on sleep were also performed. In this review, we will describe both our recent findings regarding how and where orally administered glycine acts and findings from our rat study and human trials.

 

 

Front Neurol. 2012;3:61. Epub 2012 Apr 18.

The effects of glycine on subjective daytime performance in partially sleep-restricted healthy volunteers.

Bannai M, Kawai N, Ono K, Nakahara K, Murakami N.

 

Source

 

Frontier Research Labs, Institute for Innovation, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Kanagawa, Japan.

Abstract and free full text at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22529837

 

Approximately 30% of the general population suffers from insomnia. Given that insomnia causes many problems, amelioration of the symptoms is crucial. Recently, we found that a non-essential amino acid, glycine subjectively and objectively improves sleep quality in humans who have difficulty sleeping. We evaluated the effects of glycine on daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and performances in sleep-restricted healthy subjects. Sleep was restricted to 25% less than the usual sleep time for three consecutive nights. Before bedtime, 3 g of glycine or placebo were ingested, sleepiness, and fatigue were evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS) and a questionnaire, and performance were estimated by personal computer (PC) performance test program on the following day. In subjects given glycine, the VAS data showed a significant reduction in fatigue and a tendency toward reduced sleepiness. These observations were also found via the questionnaire, indicating that glycine improves daytime sleepiness and fatigue induced by acute sleep restriction. PC performance test revealed significant improvement in psychomotor vigilance test. We also measured plasma melatonin and the expression of circadian-modulated genes expression in the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) to evaluate the effects of glycine on circadian rhythms. Glycine did not show significant effects on plasma melatonin concentrations during either the dark or light period. Moreover, the expression levels of clock genes such as Bmal1 and Per2 remained unchanged. However, we observed a glycine-induced increase in the neuropeptides arginine vasopressin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide in the light period. Although no alterations in the circadian clock itself were observed, our results indicate that glycine modulated SCN function. Thus, glycine modulates certain neuropeptides in the SCN and this phenomenon may indirectly contribute to improving the occasional sleepiness and fatigue induced by sleep restriction.

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Georgia

It may have been the glycine in magnesium glycinate that caused problems for me when I tried magnesium. Glycine may have different effects in withdrawal than in the healthy subjects tested. The study is very interesting to me, though, because the SSRI withdrawal left me feeling chilled during rest or sleep, and magnesium glycinate worsened my withdrawal-related sleep problems.

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Altostrata

Interesting, I didn't think of that effect. Maybe it does cool me down, which is a good thing because often when I wake up, I'm very hot.

 

Lower body temperature is supposed to be good for sleep. But maybe it was too much for you, Georgia.

 

If I didn't have all that mag citrate, I might get mag glycinate.

 

What was the dosage of mag glycinate you took? Maybe the mag part caused the paradoxical reaction.

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Altostrata

From an interesting article on sleep at http://holisticprimarycare.net/topics/topics-o-z/vitamins-a-supplements/1249-a-new-approach-to-promoting-healthy-sleep-

 

....

Glycine: A New Drug-Free Option

 

Glycine, a naturally-occurring non-essential amino acid, is a new addition to the spectrum of non-pharmaceutical options for people with disordered sleep, especially those prone to waking up in the middle of the night. In high concentrations, it promotes the prolongation of stage 3-4 sleep in the first sleep cycle and prevents sleep fragmentation, without sedative or hypnotic effects.

 

....

When someone is hot, he or she tends to run through sleep cycles more rapidly and more frequently than when someone is cool (There's wisdom in the old folklore that it's wise to sleep with the windows open!). Glycine reliably produces this core temperature change in a way that promotes better sleep quality. It won't necessarily get someone to sleep faster, but it will enable him to enter into and stay in the restorative deep sleep phases for longer periods.

 

Ajinomoto's Dr. Bannai, who has been involved in several glycine studies, said that this amino acid has an affinity for the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which is the brain's master circadian switchboard. "By maintaining the low core body temperature during sleep, glycine increases sleep stability, and improves sleep quality. The sleep-restorative effects appear as a tertiary benefit."

 

....

Compared with subjects taking the placebo, those taking glycine had more frequent segments of deep sleep, fewer episodes waking after sleep onset, and shortened time to first appearance of Stage 2 and Stage 3 non-REM sleep. The time of transition from non-REM to REM periods was not altered (Yamadera W, et al. Sleep and Biological Rhythms. 2007; 5: 126-131).

 

Greater Sleep Satisfaction

 

Glycine-treated subjects reached Stage 2 in a mean of approximately 10 min, compared with 25 min in the placebo group; they reached Stage 3-4 within 35 min versus 55 min. This translated subjectively into greater satisfaction with sleep, less trouble falling asleep, and better sleep "efficacy" (amount of total time-in-bed actually spent sleeping). Evaluation of daytime cognitive function showed that glycine reduced sleepiness, and improved performance on memory tasks.

 

The Yamadera study built on earlier work by Inagawa who reported on the effect of bedtime ingestion of 3 g glycine in 15 women (aged 24-53 years). All had histories of sleep problems, and scores of 6 or greater on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. In this protocol, subjects took glycine one hour before bed on Monday-Thursday night, then took nothing on Friday-Sunday. The following week they were given a similarly flavored & colored placebo.

 

Assessment of sleep quality and daytime fatigue showed a consistent pattern of improved energy, greater sense of waking refreshed, and clear-headedness when subjects were taking glycine There were no changes in sleep time, suggesting that the observed benefits reflected better sleep quality. This study did not include polysomnographic evaluation (Inagawa K, et al. Sleep and Biological Rhythms. 2006; 4: 75-77: 20-32).

 

....

Glycine is found naturally in beef, poultry, fish and seafood. The amount in a nightly dose of Glysom is equivalent to that of 10 large sea scallops or shrimps. Though glycine can be absorbed from food, it would be difficult on an ordinary diet to absorb enough to saturate the blood. At saturation levels, glycine readily crosses the blood brain barrier via passive diffusion. A supplemental dose of 3 g before bed readily accomplishes this.

 

There were no adverse effects associated with ingestion of supplemental glycine in either of the two clinical studies. Inagawa's team published a study of 12 healthy volunteers who took as much as 9 g/day (thrice the recommended Glysom dose). There were no serious adverse effects, the most significant being soft stools and minor abdominal pain. Moreover, there was no daytime sleepiness or grogginess (Inagawa K, et al. Seikatsu Eisei Journal of Urban Living & Health Association. 2006; 50 (1).

 

A study by US researchers showed no adverse effects from glycine doses as high as 30 g/day (Garlick PJ. J Nutr. 2004; 134: 1633S-1639S).

 

Because it has an entirely distinct mechanism of action, glycine is not likely to interfere with other sleep aids....

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laineyk

I take mag glycinate 200mgs before bed and sleep good

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alexjuice

I take glycine daily. I am taking it for liver benefits. I also am taking 3mg a day. Ideally I am supposed to take 1mg in the morning and 2mg at bed, which I've not been doing but spacing it 3x daily between meals. After reading this I will try to take a more concentrated dose at bedtime to see if I get a sleep benefit.

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dalsaan

I would be interested to hear how you go with that Alex. I've recently posted that I feel too hot at night and wondered about the relationship with sleep

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alexjuice

I slept well last night after taking 2mg glycine. I was up very late but my sleep schedule has been entirely thrown off. When I went to bed, I fell asleep fairly quickly and slept for about eight hours. I'll try again tonight.

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dalsaan

Thanks for the update Alexe. How does that compare with your usual experience of sleep in terms of quality and quantity?

 

Dalsaan

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alexjuice

Thanks for the update Alexe. How does that compare with your usual experience of sleep in terms of quality and quantity?

 

Dalsaan

 

The up-late part is pretty standard, at least recently. However, usually I lie in bed for a long time before falling asleep. By long time I mean at least 2 hours often 6 or more. So that was the main area of improvement, falling asleep pretty quickly after getting into bed. I usually get resonable quantity of sleep at least 5 or 6 hours, more often 7-8 or more. But I typically have a hard time feeling rested when I do wake and wish I could sleep more. I felt more rested after last night.

 

I'll continue to load the glycine before bed, ideally backing up my bedtime if possible. Since I've been back from Maine I haven't been able to keep a proper sleep schedule. I've had many entirely sleepness nights, nights of very bad quality or very short sleep, whatever. But no matter, if I get into bed at 11pm, I almost always lie there for hours, often with rapid heart rate, waiting for sleep. The dawn comes before I fall asleep often enough. Sometimes I stay up into the afternoon if I have a morning appointment ... So my sleep definitely needs improvement.

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Altostrata

Last night, I was inspired to add glycine to my middle-of-the-night kit -- when I woke up between 3-4 (as usual), I took 1 fish oil capsule, 1 81mg aspirin, 200mg mag glycinate, plus 1 500mg glycine capsule. It did seem to help me get more sleep in the early morning.

 

(I also take 2mg melatonin at nightfall and 2 fish oil capsules, 500mg extended-release vitamin C, 200mg mag glycinate, 100mg niacinamide, and 1 500mg glycine capsule before bed, supposedly to calm my nervous system down.)

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dalsaan

Ok so I got some glycine powder. I took 3grm last night and slept from 11-3.30. Which is pretty big for me. My partner said I was snoring like a freight train

 

But I have a question. The powder I've got is really sweet. Do you think I can dissolve it in water and drink it rather than eat the powder

 

Dalsaan

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compsports

You are motivating me to give this a try. It will be interesting to see if this helps me stay asleep on my apap machine longer than 3 hours. I will keep you all posted.

 

I am glad it has worked for folks and hopefully, your success continues.

 

CS

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Altostrata

That's impressive, dalsaan.

 

Glycine is soluble in water. Like all amino acids, it occurs in foods with water. I would say you can dissolve it and drink it.

 

Although glycine tastes sweet, it may be good for blood sugar control: http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21751

 

Fun facts from http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-glycine.htm

 

Glycine has a number of benefits. In addition to breaking down glucose and fats, some research has shown that it can inhibit the neurotransmitters that cause bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, and seizures. It also plays an important role in the biosynthesis of heme, an important part of hemoglobin. As a result, it plays an essential role in maintaining both a healthy central nervous system and a healthy digestive system. It has also been thought to play an antioxidant role in protecting against some forms of cancer. Glycine’s effects can, however, be blocked with the chemical strychnine. Doing so can result in muscle spasms, arrested breathing, and seizures.

 

While it is essential for a healthy, functioning digestive system, and though it has other health benefits, it’s not an essential part of the human diet. This is because the human body can produce the compound on its own using two naturally-produced chemicals — serine and threonine. Glycine can also be manufactured synthetically, however, by treating chloroacetic acid with ammonia.

 

Dietary sources of glycine include high-protein foods such as meats, fish, dairy, and beans. Synthetically-produced supplements are available in the form of capsules or powders, and have been used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, stroke, memory problems and prostate issues. These supplements are also commonly marketed to treat low energy and fatigue caused by hypoglycemia, anemia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Commercially, it has been used as an animal feed additive, as a sweetener and taste enhancer in food and beverage products, as a buffering agent in antacids and cosmetics, in fertilizers, and in solutions for irrigation.

Also see Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycine

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dalsaan

Thanks Alto, last night wasn't as good but there could have been other factors involved (Like the glass of wine I have with dinner) I will keep trying it over the next week of so and report on how I go.

 

Dalsaan

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peggy

wine really stuffs me up - i can handle one glass (only a small one) but if i go for a second my sleep is really fractured - i feel like i am awake most of the night, but know that i am asleep too because i have weird dreams. I have only just started to recognise the link between poor sleep and wine. I know i should avoid it all together, but it's so hard when the rest of the household are drinking!!!

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compsports

I tried using 2gms to get back to sleep but like alot of other supplements I have tried, it gave me about 45 worthless minutes. Not disappointed because I didn't buy it for that purpose.

 

Still want to try some other things in an attempt to get my pap therapy to work. But at some point, I will try taking it before I go to sleep to see what the results would be.

 

CS

 

PS - It seemed to cause nasal stuffiness so I hope that was just a fluke.

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Altostrata

I believe glycine is one of those things that if you take too much, it is stimulating rather than snoozifying.

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compsports

I believe glycine is one of those things that if you take too much, it is stimulating rather than snoozifying.

 

Thanks Alto.

 

If I decide to try it again, I will take a 1/4 to half the starting dose.

 

CS

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dalsaan

I tried it again last night (without the wine on board). I feel more rested this morning. An obvious improvement in the quantity and quality of my sleep

 

Dalsaan

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peggy

dalsaan, where did you get the glycine from and what was it called?

 

might try some tonight if i can get it

 

thanks

peggy

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dalsaan

Hi Peggy,

 

I just got it from a shop selling vitamins and supplements. I can remember what brand it is, will look tonight

when I get home from work

 

Dalsaan

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peggy

thanks dalsaan, it's Ok, i went to GoVita and they had some - both DH and I took it last night - i still woke up, but went back to sleep fairly quickly. I think DH had less restless legs and probably slept better - i have a cold so its hard to tell how refreshed i feel.

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peggy

2nd night and i think i had a better sleep - but i have a bit of a cold at the moment so that doesn't help. Hopefully this isn't TMI, but i had 'the runs' this morning .... does anyone know if this could be from the glycine?

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dalsaan

now that you mention it, I have had the same thing. I didnt link it to the glycine but I did find a vitamin website that

says its generally tolerated but some people have reported stomache upsets

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peggy

well, i guess that is good, but i have worried a bit today that my morning dose of effexor might have gone all the way through!

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peggy

i am not sure about glycine. So i have taken it for 3 nights - not exactly sure how much, a small teaspoon, so it is probably between 2 and 3gm. It does help me to sleep more deeply, but i don't think i am that refreshed - it could be the cold though. I had some fairly deep dreams as i was waking up this morning and i feel a bit heavy. I might leave it tonight - or maybe take a little less. Has anyone else had this effect

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dalsaan

I didn't take it last night to give my stomached a break. I had a bad night sleep wise. I'm going to take lass tonight to see if I can find a balance

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peggy

i want to persist with glycine, but i think 2gm is too much for me too - it really makes me feel groggy the next day - DH too, but he is definitely sleeping better - which is a big thing for him as he is a dreadful sleeper but it doesn't worry him - he just puts up with it. His poor sleep bothers me more because his legs twitch and keep me awake.

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Altostrata

I'm thinking 500mg is my limit on glycine at night.

 

I was taking 500mg before going to bed and 500mg when I was waking up. My gut was unhappy, but I thought it was the magnesium, which I also take. Last night I skipped the earlier glycine and no cramps.

 

So for me, 500mg glycine a night. I do think it helps my sleep.

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Altostrata

Any more experiences with glycine? I'm thinking of giving it another try.

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Altostrata

I am wondering about the arginine vs glycine competition.  

I looked into glycine for my son for the coldsore virus. L-glycine was recommended for immune/nervous system support and is preventative for coldsores. This might not be completely accurate, so worth checking, but as he is an athlete he has to eat a lot of protein to build muscle. I seem to remember that there is a problem with the action of the L-glygine supplement and arginine - another amino acid that shares a similar pathway - they work against each other in some way. I vaguely remember chocolate containing arginine. Anyway, I do remember that if you take Lycine you need to watch your consumption of arginine or the two work against each other. It also needs to be a good quality supplement and taken in pretty high quantities I remember. Had no idea it treated sleep difficulties. x

Does anyone know more about what happens when you take arginine and glycine together? From a bodybuilding site http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2011/03/arginine-glycine-synergistic-duo-for.html

 

Arginine + Glycine a Synergistic Duo for Gut Health  

Well-written and footnoted from a supplement seller http://www.vrp.com/amino-acids/amino-acids/growth-hormone-amino-acids-as-gh-secretagogues-a-review-of-the-literature

 

Growth Hormone: Amino Acids as GH Secretagogues  

Pop doctor Mehmet Oz likes the combination of glycine, ornithine, arginine, and lysine (GOAL) to increase the production of human growth hormone (hgh) -- a reparative hormone generated during sleep -- and there are a number of supplements providing this, mostly for body builders. http://www.sharecare.com/health/endocrine-system/what-amino-acids-increase-hgh  

 

Nothing that indicates arginine and glycine conflict, although, in sufficient amounts, they both tend to induce gut discomfort. Here, Dr. Oz discusses sleep drugs, sleep hygiene (part 3), and glycine (in gelatin) to reduce body temperature and support sleep (part 4) http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/the-truth-about-sleeping-pills

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compsports

I am thinking of giving this another shot as I continue to struggle to stay asleep on the pap machine. I was going to buy some lactum but since this is already in my condo, I might as well give this a shot. I will start off by using a very small dose when I wake up and can't get back to sleep.

 

To be honest, I don't think anything med or non med is going to work that great until my pap therapy is completely optimized which I feel it isn't. It is just a matter of finding out what is the best solution of out of not too great options.

 

I will keep folks posted.

 

CS

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compsports

Well, I initially tried taking about 1gm of glycine, which is 1/2 starting dose in an attempt to get back to sleep on the machine.  Should have read what I previously wrote :) as that was too activating.

 

As a result, I took an additional miniscule amount of L'Arginine and I got an additional 1 hour of sleep which is equal to what 10mg of ambien gives me. Interestingly, my apnea index was greatly elevated which obviously I can't outrightly blame on the supplements without doing more testing. But if I remember coreectly, I had said previously that glycine caused nasal congestion which can lead to increased apneas.

 

Might try just the L'Arginine tonight if I wake up too early since it was immediately sedating and also see if my apnea index would not rise at the pressure I was using. It will aslo be interesting to see if I can stay asleep longer when I get back to bed.

 

I also might possibly try it before going to sleep.  However, I am concerned that because I fall asleep quickly, that it will be like the other drug and OTC remedies I have taken that seem to have a paradoxical effect of being activating. Stay tuned.

 

I know Alto and other posters stress this but it bears repeating, start very low, particularly if you know you are sensitive to supplments.

 

CS

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Altostrata

Over the last few days, I have gone back to taking 500mg glycine with 0.5mg melatonin at 8 p.m. (plus my nightly fish oil, magnesium, 81mg aspirin, 100mg niacinamide) and, when I wake up, another 500mg glycine with fish oil, magnesium, 81mg aspirin, and a dash of NAC.

 

This seems to be helping me get better sleep. No stomach upset from the glycine so far.

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Alto, is it mag citrate you are taking? If it is mag glycinate, do you account for the amt of glycine in it when you take it at night? And how much do you take when you wake (is it during the night?) I read the article posted above about lycine cooling core temp. I am still getting too hot at night but nowhere near as bad I was. The scalding sweats have stopped but i still get the oven-like heat. I have to choose what covers I use before I fall asleep. It is starting to get hot here and I have to admit I am getting scared that my night waking will get to the point where I won't get any rest at all. Can't sleep when I am too hot and I'd have to put the A/C on 60 deg F to cool down. Can't afford it.

 

Interesting thing is that I feel really cold inside in the morning . I cannot get any more sleep after about 7 am so I have to at least sit up and start my dreadful day of constant SA reading and solitaire playing. Otherwise my thoughts get frantic. But I am cold and when the temps were low here I had to use heat to get my core to finally warm up and it could take a few hours. Being cooler at night might definitely help.

 

Anyone else please chime in.

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