The human brain is one of the most complex organs of the human body. It is like the headquarter of the human nervous system, which receives signals from the body’s sensory organs and outputs information to the muscles.
A healthy brain to keep functioning efficiently and for regular maintenance needs to produce various neurotransmitters, for which it needs proteins as a fuel. Though carbohydrates and some other nutrients are also as vital as protein for the cellular repair, Protein plays the role of a starter in the process. The protein we are going to discuss in this article is Collagen, and get a better understanding of the amino acids glycine which makes up this protein.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that is found in large quantities within your body, accounting for about one-third of the total protein composition. an important part of the connective tissue, it provides structural and functional support to your organs and other tissues. It also plays a key role in regulating your body functions, especially the neurotransmissions and signaling, that can maintain repair damage and tackle inflammation.
Collagen can be obtained by consuming important nutrients like Glycine, Proline, Vitamin C, and copper, which are also the main components of this protein.
Let’s get an overview of what collagen is all about, and how is glycine, help the protein perform functions of your body more effectively.
Let’s have a look at the four main types of collagen and their key roles:
Type I. – for structuring your skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
Type II. – is the main collagenous component of cartilage, and works as a cover for your joints and nerves
Type III. The main component of the reticulate fibers acts as a support structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.
Type IV. forms basal lamina, the epithelium-secreted layer of the basement membrane
Neurons in the brain are rich in collagen, hence by increasing intake of your collagen-based foods like Bone broths, chicken, egg white, citrus fruits, berries, you can effectively protect your brain.
The collagen triple-helical structure extensively comprises of the three vital amino acids, Glycine, Proline, and Hydroxyproline. Each amino acid is assigned with a specific function, and make up the characteristic structure Gly-Pro-X, where X would be any amino acid.
What Is Glycine?
Glycine is a non-essential amino acid produced by the body naturally. It is one of the 20 amino acids in the human body that synthesize proteins and hence plays a key role in the creation of several other important compounds and proteins. the chemical structure of glycine represents a side chain with an H atom, making it the only one that makes way into the three-stranded helix.
Glycine is used in protein synthesis. It is also essential for the healthy development of muscles, tissues, and skeleton. Glycine is classified as a non-essential amino acid, as it can be synthesized from serine.
It works as a neurotransmitter. Glycine both stimulates and inhibits cells in the brain and central nervous system, which affects your cognition, mood, appetite, digestion, immune function, pain perception, and sleep activity.
How Does Glycine in Collagen Work?
Collagen has a high content of glycine. In fact, a major portion of the collagen in your body comprises glycine. This high content of glycine in the collagen is important for the stabilization of the collagen three-stranded helix. With the help of glycine collagen fibers within the molecules have a close association. We can also use glycine for sleep, as it is very helpful for healthy sleep
Glycine transmits the chemical signals in the brain; hence it can help in schizophrenia and good memory.
How Does Glycine Help Brain Functioning?
As A Neurotransmitter
Glycine is beneficial in accomplishing several functions as a transmitter in the nervous system. While working as a neurotransmitter, it helps in motor and sensory signals, that permit movement, to process. This participating action of glycine is moderated by a glycine receptor, which is strychnine-sensitive. This activation produces inhibitory post-synaptic potentials. Glycine also releases with GABA, an amino acid neurotransmitter.
Glycine also regulates excitatory neurotransmission by boosting the glutamate action, at NMDA, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors.
Regulates Your Sleep Efficiency
Glycine effectively decreases your body temperature, which improves the quality of your sleep. Glycine activates N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors present in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, SCN, which leads to a better thermoregulation and circadian rhythm. But the exact mechanism is still under research and is updating with time.
Increases Serotonin Levels
Glycine helps in elevating serotonin levels, thus reducing the symptoms of insomnia, further improving your quality of sleep. Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter, that is responsible for regulating your moods, sleep quality, pain sensations, and calming your mind.
Benefits in Schizophrenia Treatment
Glycine is beneficial in increasing NMDA receptor intervened neurotransmission. Glycine is taken well during both long-term and acute, administrations, which is why it is highly probable that it can serve effectively to treat neuroleptic-resistant in schizophrenia.
The receptor N-methyl-D-aspartate functions include learning activities and memory tasks. The binding ability of glycine on the NMDA receptor complex boosts its activity levels, thus improving your learning and memory. This fact is equally applicable to both animals and humans.
Protect Brain Against Alzheimer’s
As discussed earlier the collagen type IV is helpful in protecting brain cells that are attacked by amyloid-beta proteins. Amyloid-beta is that type of amino acid that accumulates together to form a patch, which is widely found responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.
It is effective in preventing the onset of the disease at the very beginning.
Glycine has significant anti-anxiety properties. The receptors for glycine that are found in the vertebrate central nervous system, the spinal cord is distributed uniformly throughout the tissues. The most prominent aspect of glycine’s function is the action it has to do with its presumed dissension of the Norepinephrine NE.
NE is the chemical secreted in the body that acts as both a neurotransmitter and a stress hormone. This chemical is released when a person experiences anxiety, which creates a feeling of panic. Glycine prevents the release of NE, thus weakening the anxiety and panic feelings.
Even though glycine is known as the simplest amino acid, it has a complex formation of functions and effects on the body. While it can hinder certain neurotransmitters that are able to improve certain psychological conditions, it can also excite neurotransmitters that cause muscular convulsions and potentially fatal brain hyperexcitability.
It is safe to consume as a dietary supplement in appropriate doses, both for short- and long-term health benefits, however, the body will usually receive the right amount of glycine from a healthy diet. It is extremely beneficial for the bones, tissues, muscles, and central nervous system, and as such is one of the most important non-essential amino acids in the body.