Supplementation with 10 grams of glycine per day makes your joints stronger
Athletes can protect their joints against wear and injury by supplementation with about 10 grams of glycine per day. The same regime can accelerate the healing of injured joints. These expectations are expressed by Spanish researchers in an in vitro study published in Amino Acids.
The researchers experimented with chondrocytes. These are the cells that you find in cartilage. Chondrocytes produce type-2 collagen, the most important collagen type in cartilage structures.
When the researchers exposed their cells to various amino acids at a concentration that is a factor of 3 above the concentration that you find in average people's blood, especially glycine stimulated the growth of type-2 collagen.
In another experiment, the researchers exposed their chondrocytes to different concentrations of amino acids for 15 days. Proline maximally stimulated the production of type-2 collagen at a concentration that can still be found in average people. The concentration of lysine that stimulated collagen production maximally was just above it.
The maximal stimulation of the production of collagen by glycine outperformed the effects of proline and lysine. However, this required a concentration that can only be achieved in practice by supplementing with doses of 10 grams of glycine per day. Or higher.
"An important key to understanding these results is the fact that glycine, the most necessary amino acid for collagen synthesis, is highly essential so it must necessarily be incorporated into the diet as a nutritional supplement", write the researchers. "This need is general in all animals from approximately 30 kg of body mass and increases with body weight."
"In a 70-kg human being, this glycine deficiency is approximatel 10 grams daily - probably the highest of the essential amino acids, according to our previous results."
"Increasing glycine in the diet could be a possible way of contributing to fight and prevention of osteoarthritis to improve cartilage regeneration by means of enhancing collagen synthesis", write the researchers. "It may be that the deficiencies mentioned above are not the only cause, but it is certainly a feasible place to start."
"To this end our results suggest a viable strategy through increasing the amounts of these amino acids (glycine especially) in the diet."
"As these deficiencies will obviously affect other connective or mechanical tissues, such as bones, tendons, ligaments and skin, we would like to remark that this conclusion might also well be applied in the treatment of [...] conditions such as osteoporosis."
Amino Acids. 2018 Jul 13. doi: 10.1007/s00726-018-2611-x. [Epub ahead of print].
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