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Glycine: A Miracle Amino Acid?

I will try and keep this as concise as possible, but holy cow.

For some time now (years) I have struggled with recovery relative to what I once was able to tolerate training-wise. Over the past two weeks I have started taking 5 g glycine on an empty stomach about 2 hours after my post workout meal and I can feel a discernible state of “mental relaxation” set in in less than 20 minutes of consumption. For the first time in I can’t remember how long, I am not having nearly as much trouble falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night. I am waking up refreshed, without brain fog, and noticeably less irritable in the evenings. Even some nagging injuries seem to be making marked improvements in a short time-frame.

I went from struggling to recover from low to moderate volume/intensity 3 days per week, to having trained 6 out of the last 8 days and currently feeling 100%. I actually had to talk myself out of going today to not push my luck.

I have a couple hypotheses as to why it has helped, but wanted to get CT’s opinion on the possible mechanism(s), and whether or not he has seen such a radical improvement with any of his clients after the addition of glycine?

Some potentially relevant background info:
-Your neurotype questionnaire has me as a Type 3
-Type 3 description fits with a lot of my personality traits, but not at all with the way I like to train
-I can pinpoint, almost to the day, when my recovery tanked some years ago after a “stressful life event”
-No other changes in diet, training, life, etc.

I’ve been talking about glycine for years. It is one of my favorite amino acids. The reason why is does what it did for you is as follow:

Glycine is an inhibitory amino acid, it acts a lot like GABA in that it decreases neural activity. It calms your brain down by having your neurons firing slower. It helps put you in parasympathetic/rest and recover mode.

It will thus decrease anxiety as well as facilitate recovery from training, mostly neurological recovery.

The problem with neurological recovery occurs when your neurons keeps firing super fast for hours after your workout. During the session your nervous system is firing on all cylinders, especially if the lifting is heavy (or explosive, or high skill). Which is needed to perform. But if it stays that way for hours and hours after your workout you risk what we call “CNS fatigue” (which isn’t really CNS fatigue). I explained this in depth in a previous “Question of Strength” column. But most of the time"CNS fatigue" is a temporaty resistance of the adrenergic receptors from being overstimulated (they are kept turned on when the nervous system stays amped up for hours) making you resistance to your own adrenaline thus having less energy, drive, motivation, confidence, etc.

The faster your can “shut down” your brain after ypur workout, the less negative impact it will have on the nervous system.

Glycine will put you more easily in parasympathetic mode, decreasing adrenaline levels and also cortisol levels. All of that helps your recover, allows you to maintain higher testosterone levels over the long run, build more muscle, retain less water,etc.

On top of that glycine is, with leucine, the amino acid that has the greatest impact on mTOR activation. Activating mTOR is the key to trigger muscle growth, the more you can activate it during and after your workout, the more muscle you can build.

So yes, glycine is an awesome amino acid, and one I have been using for over 13 years.

HOWEVER in about 15-20% of the population it can have paradoxical/opposite effects. In individuals with too much glutamate (very emotional people, with tons of mood swings) glycine becomes excitory instead of inhibitory.

As a type 3, especially one who likes to lift heavy, glycine will be the best supplement. Because type 3’s main problems are an overactivity of the CNS along with excess cortisol production. They also recover badly from heavy workouts. Glycine will help with all of these.

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Do you have any recommended supplements for people with high glutamate?

Could you recommend a protoc for glycine for a 2A/2B?
After workouts and before bed?

CT,

Why some people have truble with sleep (insomnia), when they get glycine before bad?
How to use the benefits of glycine? Maybe after trainig or through the day? Maybe instead glycine use GABA?

Thanks.

HOWEVER in about 15-20% of the population it can have paradoxical/opposite effects. In individuals with too much glutamate (very emotional people, with tons of mood swings) glycine becomes excitory instead of inhibitory. - ct half page up

I mentioned it in the post. In people with high glutamate level, glycine is excitory not inhibitory

Just type “2a glycine” in the search bar. I found some stuff pretty easily where ct recommends:

“Finally 3-10g of glycine post workout would help by calming down the CNS, reducing anxiety and cortisol release.”-CT

Yes, but there are still people 2A type, with high glutamate, and for them glycine is not good.
I think, people want to know, what to take if the glycine is not doing for them.

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Wow…I was not expecting this in depth of a response, so thank you, sincerely!

A couple quick follow-up questions if you have the time:

Do you know if the glycine is acting sparingly to GABA, allowing me to attain more efficient natural sympathetic inhibition over time?

If not, do you recommend glutamine supplementation to help boost GABA?

Lastly, being an amino acid, I wouldn’t think a tolerance or resistance would develop towards glycine, but do you think I can pretty much stick with the same dose and be fine?

Coach, for folks constrained by late evening workouts, is there any value to consuming this near the end of the workout itself?

is it better to use it 2 hours after a workout ? or immediately after the workout ? what is the difference ?

As soon as you calm down CNS, that’s better.

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I know this is an old thread but I want to say thank God for glycine. I’m an anxious guy with a stressful job, I’d have a lot of trouble sleeping even if I ended my lift at like 6:30 and went to bed 4 hours later. Popped glycine an hour before bed, no more issues.

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The sooner the better, unless you will need to stay emped up for work or something important right after your workout.

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Any negative consequences to long term glycine use? You mention it increases mTor. In previous threads you mention mTor can accelerate the aging process. And if I’m not mistaken you structure your training in a way that minimized mTor?

I do not… if you do that you will not build much muscle. You need to trigger mTOR during the workout to stimlate maximum protein synthesis.

IMHO in this case it is really majoring in the extremely minor stuff. The benefits far . outweight the potential drawbacks. There is a lot more problems regarding systemic mTOR from the overconsumption of high glycemic carbs.