By Joel Brind
In one of my earlier posts on this blog, I discussed the largely reciprocal nature of the amino acids glycine and methionine. Specifically, too much dietary methionine depletes glycine, because your body uses up glycine in order to get rid of the excess methionine. This is a common condition these days, because the typical diet is high in methionine-rich muscle meats, but low in glycine-rich bone and connective tissue. Many are waking up to the benefits of getting more glycine by eating more wholesome meats by supplementing with bone broths, or gelatin (collagen) products. (I take the easy way out, by simply supplementing with the glycine product “sweetamine” which I formulated and sell myself.)?
The key to understanding the complex relationship between glycine and methionine is to be aware that, in addition to the role of both of them in serving as protein building blocks, they also both have many critical metabolic and other roles as free amino acids. As free amino acids?which are small, water soluble molecules?both glycine and methionine cycle very quickly through the body in a matter of hours, compared to the weeks-to-months turnover time of protein molecules.?
The key difference between glycine and methionine which has been the traditional focus of nutritional and metabolic research, is the fact that methionine is essential, i.e., you’ll eventually die if you don’t get adequate dietary intake, because your body cannot make it from simpler materials; but glycine is non-essential, i.e., your body can make it from simpler compounds. Hence, the importance of glycine in the diet has been largely ignored.?
Methionine?when activated to form S-adenosylmethionine, or SAMe?is the universal methyl donor. As such, it performs the critical function of adding one-carbon methyl groups, an operation necessary to form and modify DNA bases, detoxify drugs, and make certain key molecules like the hormone adrenalin, to name a few examples. Since methionine is so important, the body?mainly the liver?has a number of pathways to reuse, regenerate and recycle methionine. Best known is the methionine cycle, whereby the methyl group?once donated by SAMe?gets added back to the “spent” SAMe (the amino acid homocysteine) to reform methionine. The result of all these pathways is to render the minimal methionine daily dietary requirement very small, i.e., a few hundred milligrams; more like a vitamin than a protein amino acid.?
But the dark side of methionine?long ignored?is that too much is toxic, so that after eating that methionine-rich steak, your liver is not operating the methionine cycle to conserve methionine, but rather, getting rid of it as fast as it can. To do that, the liver needs to use up glycine. Therefore, the more methionine in the diet, the more glycine is needed to help get rid of it.?
Although glycine is non-essential, your liver can’t make an unlimited amount, and the typical diet usually comes up short 8-10 grams of glycine per day. Meanwhile, glycine has critical functions in the body only recently discovered. Most relevant to human diet and health is the fact that glycine is the most important endogenous regulator of inflammation. In fact, I’m convinced that glycine deficiency lies at the core of most conditions that make people sick and die these days, from diabetes and arthritis to heart disease and cancer. That’s because they’re all traceable to chronic excess inflammation. If you are glycine-deficient, it will show up as chronic inflammation sooner or later, one way or another.?
So that’s why I have been quick to say that most people eat too much methionine, and really should avoid supplements such as SAMe, TMG, etc, which boost methylating power. But in one of the comments after one of my posts on this site a few months ago, the suggestion that some people are “under-methylators” prompted me to have another look at what is going on. After all, it is well known that mutations of the gene for the enzyme MTHFR?which is critical for the regeneration of methionine from homocysteine?are quite common in all human populations (between 10 and 20%). People with defective forms of MTHFR do not regenerate methionine efficiently. Consequently, during periods of fasting (or even shorter periods of say, 4-6 hours between meals), they may actually be somewhat methionine-deficient, precisely because excess methionine is so efficiently removed after absorbing a meal’s worth of high protein.?
Therefore, such people may endure chronic health problems by being both glycine AND methionine-deficient! So as a simple, harmless experiment, I suggested that one could eat a rich natural source of methionine for a snack between meals. Brazil nuts are the perfect such snack, comprised of 1% methionine by weight. That means a snack of 3 Brazil nuts provides about 100mg of methionine.?
Then I looked further into the topic of “under-methylation” and realized that one of my own daughters fit the profile perfectly: prone to hypoglycemia between meals and always needing a high-protein snack to tide her over, and more seriously, suffering from recurrent bronchitis?a borderline asthmatic since childhood. Of course, being my kid, she’s been taking her sweetamine glycine supplement for a couple of years now, and although feeling somewhat better, the respiratory problems persisted.?
So I suggested she try a few Brazil nuts as a snack between meals. The first sign that this suggestion was on the right track was the fact that she has always loved Brazil nuts (Talk about intuitive eating!), but had avoided them because they are relatively expensive compared to other high protein snacks (peanuts, string cheese, etc.).?
But the most encouraging sign of spring (literally), is that for the first time I can remember, my daughter has gotten through a northeast winter (and this year was the worst in a long time) without a single major respiratory infection!?
So at this point, my working hypothesis seems to be gathering some evidence for the advantage ?at least for undermethylators?of supplementing with both glycine and methionine, starting the day with the former and taking Brazil nut snacks for methionine in between meals. (And btw, Brazil nuts are also a rich source of usable selenium, in the form of the rare but also essential amino acid, selenocysteine. Selenocysteine is essential for the formation of glutathione reductase, the enzyme which regenerates the key anti-oxidant glutathione.)?
Finally, since I first made this suggestion on this blog, I’m very curious to know if anyone else has taken it up, and whether it has helped. Do tell.?
About the Author
Joel Brind, Ph.D. has been a Professor of Biology and Endocrinology at Baruch College of the City University of New York for 28 years and a medical research biochemist since 1981. Long specializing in steroid biosynthesis and metabolism and endocrine-related cancers, he has specialized in amino acid metabolism in recent years, particularly in relation to glycine and one-carbon metabolism. In 2010 he founded Natural Food Science, LLC to make and market glycine supplement products via http://sweetamine.com , which includes his own blog HERE.
First! I live in Thailand where people still use the entire animal. Easy to find food rich in glycine here.
Dear Dr. Brind,
Thank you so very much for your informative blog on glycine and methionine. Your daughter will never have any bronchitis or will be prone to it. Never! Give her a homeopathic remedy, Kali Mur 30C and she will be permanently cured! My nephew used to have a recurrent serious bronchitis every winter. I gave him one dose (4 pellets) and he expelled so many phlegms that he almost choked, but he never, ever, never had the bronchitis again. God bless you,
I am surprised this homeopathic BULLSHIT is not blocked from this site.
Nothing is blocked from this site. Ever. Unless it’s obviously SPAM.
No surprise, gabriel: Just about everywhere in the world where they eat meat, they have always used the whole animal. The idea of eating meat, fish or poultry every day, coupled with not using the bones, is a very recent phenomenon in the Western world. I have had students come up to me from backgrounds in far flung places from Peru to Eastern Europe, telling me how their grandparents were still working the old farm into their 90’s, while their parents–who have lived in America for a couple of decades–are in their 50’s or 60’s and can hardly even walk, for the arthritis and other problems. It’s all about glycine deficiency, in my view.
Do you think light exposure, unsaturated fat consumption, nutrient density, overall life-stress, general major dietary differences, and other factors could have played a role as well?
I’m compound heterozygous for the MTHFR mutation: C677T and A1298C.
I usually mix pea and rice protein 50/50, but for a while I was using just rice protein, which is higher in methionine than pea protein. I haven’t experimented enough to see how much of a difference it all makes but the high protein smoothies in the morning (OJ, banana, rice/pea protein, some cocoa powder, sometimes some coconut butter too) definitely help me.
If I don’t get protein in the morning I’m pretty much dead in the water. I work in manual labor and I did notice that it wasn’t sugary snacks that would pick me up when I felt dead, but beef jerky with cheese. The store nearby sells beef jerky sticks with cheese and once in a while I’d pick one of those up on my break and it would bring me basically back from the dead.
I thought it had mostly to do with the high salt content but the protein very well could have just as much to do with it.
I might try the Brazil nut thing sometime. But I’d be interested if anyone has any opinions on pea protein vs. rice protein. From Wikipedia:
“Rice protein is commonly mixed with pea protein powder. Rice protein is high in the sulfur-containing amino acids, cysteine and methionine, but low in lysine. Pea protein, on the other hand, is low in cysteine and methionine but high in lysine. Thus, the combination of rice and pea protein offer a superior amino acid profile that is comparable to dairy or egg proteins, but without the potential for allergies or intestinal issues that some users have with those proteins. Moreover, the light, fluffy texture of pea protein tends to smooth out the strong, chalky flavor of rice protein.”
I have some Great Lakes collagen hydrolysate and for a while was mixing all 3 protein powders together in a plastic tub, and would use that as my main protein source, blended into smoothies.
I might get back into blending the collagen hydrolysate into the mix. They’re three very good protein sources and I think they would provide an excellent balance of amino acids.
I definitely get brain fog at work, and the unmistakable ‘dead’ feeling. I feel like I’m going to pass out and usually when I get home that’s what I do — lie down and nap, sometimes these days for 3+ hours because I’m so tired.
I think a lot of that has to do with working 5-6 hours straight without taking a break doing manual labor. Snacks definitely help, and optimizing what snacks to eat could help me a LOT.
So Brazil nuts I’ll have to give a try. But I do know that meat and cheese help as much as anything I’ve tried, the Slim Jim style things being the best.
I usually don’t have much time in the morning because I work so early. The smoothies are all I have most of the time. The rice/pea protein that I started trying several months ago (or somewhere around there) definitely made a noticeable improvement. And for the past month or two all I’ve been using it straight rice protein and have been having good results with that.
This amino acid stuff is incredibly fascinating. Just like how all fats aren’t the same. I haven’t been having gelatin in my diet at all for quite a while now, but these articles always make me want to start adding it back in on a regular basis. I think the pea/rice/gelatin protein blend is a very good idea and I’ve done well with that as a regular protein source before.
Pea protein being a legume is considered to have a negative impact on pancreatic enzymes and s source of pancreatic stress. See Gerson.org for more info.
I use 2Tbs HealthForce Warrior Food, made from sprouted brown rice protein blended with hemp protein, which is complete and unique in its Edestin content. I also use 3Tbs blended Spirulina, Chorella and Klamath Lake Algaes for protein, minerals and unique neuropeptide content (KLA). With a teaspoon of true cinnamon for blood sugar control and flavor balancing. 2Tbs HF VitaMineral Green rounds out the vitamin mineral profile and 3Tbs GL Collagen to bring Glycine levels up. Throw in 100 billion probiotics and shake up in pure water, no blender needed.
My sugar cravings are much improved, I am losing weight and have less food sensitivities presumably from healing leaky Tight Junctions in my gut. My seasonal allergies are also 95% improved.
I started adding 1Tbs GL collagen Jan 2013 to smoothies,increased to 4Tbs Aug 2014 by putting it in coffee and green protein shakes. Increased to 9Tbs Feb 2015 by putting 3Tbs in each of two mugs of coffee every morning with 3 more in a green shake, hot tea or cup of hit cocoa.
Sleep, hair, nails all noticeably improved as well.
I just noticed this earlier comment of yours, Janet: Wow! 9 tablespoons of GL gelatin is about 108 grams, which is about 24 grams of glycine (and about 3 servings of my sweetamine)! No wonder you are having such benefits!
You were the one that inspired me to increase collagen to 9 Tbs a day. I used your figure of 15 g of glycine to address insulin resistance and calculated the amount of GL Collagen that would be needed to get that much glycine each day.
It is just part of my grocery budget to buy one pound per week. I do buy cases of 12 from GL so that helps lower the cost some. Anyone can buy cases, and if you are a reseller you can buy wholesale and save even more but you need to be reselling. I resell to consultation clients for human and pet needs.
Please feel free to email if anyone is interested in a consultation. I am a neuropharmacologist certified in Applied Clinical Nutrition by Texas Chiropractic College.
FYI, beef gelatin is available by the pound at Natural Grocers for about $5
How is everyone taking these doses without feeling HIGH or drugged? I can’t take more than a gram without feeling out of it!
I take collagen, which is 29% Glycine. It is a slower release form and has synergistic amino acids, than synthetic isolated Glycine. I also benefit from the protein. It is good in coffee and in herb teas. I can put 4 Tbs in a mug and find that it actually improves the flavor by debittering.
Joel, she said she takes GL Collagen and not GL Gelatin.
9 tablespoons of GL Coollagen is 54 grams of Collagen Hydrolysate, that is 49.5 grams of protein (29% Glycine).
So 9 tablespoons of GL Collagen is about 13.86 grams of Glycine, and not 24 grams.
I would really like to know more about safe amounts of glycine when taken isolated and what the possible symptoms of too high an take might be?
I experience improvements at around 15 grams a day, will even higher amounts be ok if the rest of the diet calls for it?
I have breast cancer, low blood pressure and low body temp 96.4-97.6 my doc tells me to stay low methionine cuz it’s a cancer excitotoxin. How can I test my levels of glycine – methionine and what is optimal for cancer to go into remission?
I am now also a vegan due to higher survival rates amongst cancer patients, though I was not one before my diagnosis.
Interesting but… rice proteins tend to be high in arsenic.
Pea and rice protein is one of those variants on the beans and rice diet (more generally, any legume and any cereal grain. Even Cracker Jacks make a good snack, amino acid balance-wise, as a mixture of popcorn and peanuts) that most of the world has survived on for millennia. But once you add daily meat into the mix for your main meals, adding the collagen source is a good way to balance the methionine with adequate glycine. Without it, you might be noticing signs of inflammation–like more aches and pains from that physical activity. It looks like you’ve got a pretty good handle on what you need.
Brazil nuts are great but can’t be eating liberally as snacks as it’s possible to get too much selenium.
Very informative article!
Very interesting, i have been diagnosed as an undermethylator and unsure what to do. Would TMG work as well as the brazil nuts? I have plenty of it still but had stopped using it again! Not good intuitive eating skills here. :(
The genetic SNPs related to poor methylation are just a partial snapshot of your methylation status. Please be aware that testing Whole Blood Histamine or the more difficult to find test SAMe:SAH Ratio are the only accurate assessments of methylation. When WBH is high this indicates undermethylation, low indicates overmethylation and normal WBH indicates normal methylation. This test is commonly available.
See the work of William Walsh PhD for more info. You Tube videos posted 2014 by Walsh detail this.
I would think the sort of metabolic measurements you suggest–like SAM/SAH ratio–will vary tremendously throughout the day, based on nutritional status (What is WBH, btw: whole blood homocysteine?), whereas SNPs will indicate if one has defective methylation capacity, and these are constants.
WBH + Whole Blood Histamine
The issue with testing for methylation defects is that you do not know the balance of the some 2000 SNPs that we all have and what the sum total is, because no one is testing for all of them and some of them may affect over methylation and some may affect undermethlyation.
WBH tells you the level and that is a reflection of you methylation status.
Check out William Walsh PhD for more detail. He has been teasing out these issues for over 40 years.
The Role of Methylation and Epigenetics in Brain Disorders
And the more recent:
The Five Biotypes of Depression and Advanced Nutrient Therapies
For a list of Walsh Trained Physicians:
It is interesting that Walsh’s “common denominator” in nutrient over/under supply and their relation to mental disorders is that all such nutrients are related to the synthesis of neurotransmitters. He also uses the relationship of such nutritional status to normal ranges. In this context it’s worth noting that “normal” levels of glycine–a neurotransmitter as well as a universal cell membrane voltage regulator (and hence, a key regulator of inflammation and other important processes)–are really too low for proper health. I can’t tell from what I’ve seen and read so far of Walsh’s work, if he’s looked at glycine levels and/or intake.
It’s also worth noting that he says that 80% of highly successful people–corporate CEOs and professional athlete’s are “under-methylators”. Could it be that “normal” methylation levels are really too high, and that some degree of “undermethylation” is really optimal?
Some fascinating new questions!
BTW, Janet, thanks for the suggestion of Bill Walsh’s work. I was not familiar with him and have now checked out a number of his videos. He is clearly a serious man who has done lots of good work. I will check out more of it.
William Walsh has a great book called Nutrient Power, be sure to buy the latest edition as there have been significant updates.
He is indeed an authority on nutrition and metabolic testing approaches for mood and other disorders.
I have been following Dr. Walsh’s work and Dr Pfeifer before him for a while now. Recently confirmed- Im a major undermethylator via the WBH test, although Dr Walsh told me based on my symptoms that I had a 90% chance of being undermethylated before I took the test.
The issue is that Sam-e or Methionine with co factors are the treatment of choice. 3-4 grams daily of Methionine for example If Meth./Same depletes Gylycine how much Glycine should be supplemented for each gram of Methionine , and should they be taken separately- do they compete for absorption? Thanks! Simon
Janet, there is a much better diagnostic for under methylation.
1) Take homocysteine value in plasma in fasted state
2) Take an oral dose of 2500 mg of methionine
3) Wait four hours, no additional food
4) Take homocysteine value in plasma
And under methylator taking this test will have normal homocysteine going into the test and will have homocysteine either at or over the high end of the defined test range at the end of the test.
The problem with whole blood histamine – aside from cost and potential error collecting sample – is that there is not good double blind research to verify that method. In my own testing, my histamine determination was at the very low end of the range. In Walsh’s diagnostic that makes me a fast methylator, but that contradicts my SNPs and more importantly it contradicts the results of the simple challenge test method above. In my case, I started the challenge test with homocysteine at 7.9, and I ended the challenge at homocysteine of 15.1. It is completely impossible to generate the homocysteine of 15.1 unless you are not methylating properly.
Yes, TMG provides an alternative source of recharging the methylation system–a redundant system to the methionine cycle that depends on the action of MTHF. It’s effect is more immediate, since, unlike the methionine in Brazil nuts which is part of protein molecules, it requires no digestion and is absorbed directly. I only suggest Brazil nuts because they are more of a natural food that happens to have a particularly high methionine content–1% weight–and other key nutrients, like selenocysteine). TMG is a natural metabolic intermediate, however. If you find that TMG works for you, that’s great. (I assume that if you “have plenty of it still”, that you have tried it, right?)
We supplement 2-4 brazil nuts for selenium per day, not least to support thyroid and hormonal health (and my wife has the MTHFR mutation). But we should avoid more than that, no? My understanding is that it is toxic if you get much higher. It would be good to get a sense how many brazil nuts are too much, based on a rule of thumb or symptons. Are there other good sources of methionine for snacks?
I wasn’t suggesting the sort of snacking on Brazil nuts like one would eat peanuts! They certainly are more like “nutraceuticals”, that one might take 2-3 of, once or twice a day as snacks. Other high-protein snacks like string cheese and beef jerky are also good sources. Of course, if the total consumption of methionine is high (which it is for most people), one needs to be sure to avoid glycine deficiency as well.
The selenium content in brazil nuts apparently varies quite a bit depending on soil conditions, as much as 10-fold if memory serves. I eat 2 per day and I figure over time the variability averages out close enough.
Do we have to take for all of our life the daily dose of glycine? I started with 8-10 gr daily since October 2014, because I had some aches in my fingers (in the morning I had much pain opening/closing my fist) and under my right knee, but after 3 weeks of glycine the pain disappeared. So that was nice.
I also hoped to lose my last 4 kg of babyweight (you mentioned loosing some water weight after resuming inflammation), but this didn’t happened. Last week I also tried the potato hack diet (my first diet after a lot of time), but I didn lose an ounce!!!
I also hoped to see improvements of the nails, which crack very easily and are very fragile, or the hair to stop falling so much. Not to talk about my sculp that is very dry, as is my entire skin actually, but not so much as on my head.
I breastfed my baby for 23 months and we stop last February, so 3 months ago and maybe a lot of my issues are connected to some imbalances that breastfeeding generated, but I really hoped that glycine would have normalized a lot of them, but at this point I don’t know if it’s worth continuing or do I have to up my dose or what?
I’m eating a whole food diet, with a little bit of everything because I’m trying to give a good example to my two years old baby girl and also doing 2-3 times a week of Pilates, but generally I feel very tired during the day and not sleepy at all in the evening.
So I’m at a loss here
Without more information it is impossible to say, although I prefer glycine to be obtained from a food based source like collagen because of the many additional amino acids it gives you. Dry skin and scalp are pointers to nutritionnal or hormonal imbalances and require some testing. Thyroid can be low, Zinc is a problem at times, Magnesium can affect Thyroid as can perchlorates, Fluoride and Bromine.
If you would like to contact me privately please feel free to email: Janet.r.Perry at gmail.com
Congrats on breastfeeding for two years. That is a real gift to your child!
Thank you very much for your appreciation on our breastfeeding. I really wanted to do it since I always believed that a lot of my health problems may come from the fact that I wasn’t breastfed. But now I think that I am paying a little price for this prolonged activity, seeing some imbalances in my body
One of my suspects was the thyroid, so I did a blood test and I got a “normal” Tsh (3,8500 mUI/L in a lab range of 0,2700-4,2000) and a low FT4 (0,89 mg/dL in a lab range of 0,93-1,70), but my family doctor said that since the Tsh is normal, I don’t have to do anything else. Of course now my problems are small (dry skin, difficulty loosing the last 4 kgs of the pregnancy, feeling tired especially in the afternoon, having sleep issues during the night waking up at 4 am) and I hope to find the way to address all of those issues one day without the help of the traditional medicine, since the normal doctors believe that they have to act only when the damage is done
Roxelle, the nature of your question reveals a common misconception about glycine, i.e., you speak of a “daily dose of glycine” as if it were some sort of drug. In fact, it is not a drug of any kind: just food–a bulk nutrient, and one in which most people are deficient.
The very fact that your symptoms (of inappropriate inflammation) went away by supplementing with glycine is merely proof that they were due to glycine deficiency in the first place. Sure, you can use natural, biological sources of glycine–like gelatin–but you need to get it somehow! Consider also the fact that the excess and/or inappropriate inflammation from which you had been suffering in your fingers and your knee, may only be outward signs of what may also be happening in places like your brain and your arteries.
That being said, you are likely deficient in more than glycine, so I would not suggest upping the glycine. For hair and nails, a good supplement of biotin (start with 5 mg.) may do the trick. Also, for dry skin and scalp, your adrenals may well not be producing enough DHEA. DHEA supplements are also very cheap and easily available at grocery and drug stores. I would recommend the smaller tablets (25 mg), which you can easily break in half and just take 12.5 mg. per day.
Hi dr. Brind. Thank you very much for your very clear answer, and excuse me for the inappropriate use of words talking about a daily dose of glycine! I do know that this is not a drug, but since it’s something that I take everyday, I didn’t think that those words where not ok to use like this.
That being said, I would like to ask you if you can elaborate what did you mean by saying that the symptoms I had in my fingers and knee could have been signs of inflammation happening in my brain or arteries? How can it be investigated? My father had a 3 bypass intervention on his heart 3 years ago after a life of high blood pressure and lately he was diagnosed with senile dementia. Instead I have always had low blood pressure and I didn’t notice yet nothing to wary about my brain function. So, besides continuing with the glycine, is there anything else I can do?
Another question (that may seem a little bit strange), is this: today I discovered that I got chickenpox (a little bit frustrating at 36 years old, and I didn’t got it from my little girl, so I believe she is next in line to get ill), but the strange thing is that the only place that itches is my scalp and not on other parts of the body. I believe that this is because of my long known problem of dry skin of the scalp, and the underneath problem of DHEA. Do you believe that taking now DHEA supplements can help alleviate this disturbing sensation?
Thank you very much for your kindness in responding to everyone
Thanks for your kind comments. I do not mean to be critical in calling the use of medicinal terms to talk about food: It’s just that that is a pervasive way of thinking in our culture, and it helps to shape the way be think about our own bodies and how we feed them. And if we don’t eat food every day (outside of limited fasting periods), we die. And if we are ill in any way for want of basic nutrition, these are properly called deficiency diseases.
In fact, my point about one’s brain and arteries, etc., is that I have become convinced that most of what people get sick and die of are really various forms of glycine deficiency disease. Medical science has so far caught up with the fact that cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease (to name most of them) have chronic inflammation as their common denominator. What they have yet to catch up with is why chronic inflammation is so rampant in our society now.
That is because they are laboring under two false assumptions:
1) A complete complement of the essential amino acids (such as in muscle meats) provides complete protein nutrition. It does not, because it leaves out the glycine that is thrown away with the bones and connective tissues on the one hand, and because it depletes glycine due to the need for utilization of glycine to get rid of the excess methionine on the other. And glycine, though nonessential because the body can make it from simpler compounds, is needed in most diets in some measure to make up for the body’s limited capacity to make it.
2) They believe that inflammation is a natural response to tissue injury: It is not. Inflammation is only for fighting infection, period. It is only generally seen when tissues are injured because of a deficiency of glycine, glycine being the main endogenous regulator of the inflammatory response.
My point about brain and arteries is that inflammation in those organs is invisible, whereas in joints, it is obvious. But as we all know, it is ultimately much more dangerous in the circulation and the brain.
In my last response to you, Roxelle, I only talked about glycine, but let me address the other stuff you mentioned. I suspect the dry skin is likely low DHEA (a good blood workup should also include DHEA-sulfate, the predominant circulating form of this adrenal secretory product). Your own constitution may have you on the low end of this scale to begin with (I bet you never had any trouble with acne, right?), but also, normal aging is involved. By age 35, most women complain about dry skin. This is because your natural skin moisturization system (sebaceous glands) is dependent upon DHEA from your adrenal glands, the secretion of which goes down with age. Men don’t have this problem because testosterone provides the hormonal basis to support the sebaceous (oil) gland function. So DHEA is one of those supplements you should also be taking for the rest of your life, especially later on, after the menopause (as all the women in my life do). You should notice a big difference in terms of skin moisturization 1-2 weeks after starting daily DHEA. Biotin is also an essential nutrient, and brittle nails is the classical sign of a mild biotin deficiency.
As for your hairloss, that is a natural consequence of pregnancy and lactation, and it should resolve by itself. Also, a certain amount of hair shedding is normal in general, and it peaks during the late fall and winter.
Also, having a baby and breastfeeding does take a lot out of you, especially at 36, so some of what you are experiencing will naturally resolve itself as you recover (except that you now have a two-year-old to deal with:-).
But chickenpox? That’s a real mystery. Except you may actually have had chickenpox years ago that is just mildly recurring now (better than shingles!). But that’s a medical issue your doctor is the one to talk to about.
Hello again dr. Brind. I just want to ask you one more question about the DHEA you suggested to me to take. Since I’m forced to stay locked in my house these days because of the varicella (which by the way is not mild at all, is full blown varicella and I never got it before now), I sent a friend to buy the DHEA supplements and she came back with some pills of wild yams, which is said to be a precursor of DHEA, but googling I found out that this is BS. So my question is am I right about wild yams being a waste of money?
I know I said I was asking only one more question, but I try to ask you one more. It’s about circulation. These days I continued having bouts of fever (around 39 C), but my hands and feet remained iced cold for long time. So I’m having a bad circulation. Is there anything to do to make it right?
Thank you very much for all you work
Just curious how much DHEA would you recommend for a male that has those symptoms. Even though I am in my mid-30s now, I have had them for many years after taking Accutane as a teenager.
Hi M. Brind,
Just a little question regarding glycine.
I know you suggest 8-10g a day, but for someone who hasn’t really eat anything collagen/glycine related in years, maybe decades (except maybe chicken skin once in a while) would you advise to start at a lower dose and bring it up (by the week maybe) up to the recommended level?
Thanks in advance!
As I noted earlier, glycine is just a bulk nutrient–the most abundant amino acid there is, in fact, in our bodies. There is always a high concentration of it in our blood and body fluids (yours too!)–just usually not high enough to keep inflammation from occurring when and where it is not needed.
Those who have been deficient in glycine for a long time often suffer symptoms such as painful joints. The more serious and long-standing the deficiency, the quicker the relief when you add it to your diet. I formulated sweetamine so you can just use it as you would a packet of any sweetener, e.g., in tea or coffee, with one serving providing a whole 8 grams. Occasionally, some people report some stomach upset taking the whole 8 grams at once, so they divide the serving into 2 or 3 servings during the day.
But the short answer to your question is no–the sooner a deficiency is corrected, the better.
Thanks a lot M. Brind.
Just a few other things while I got your attention.
I don’t want to abuse since it’s kind of off topic, but?
First, do you believe that prolonged use of ?high? doses of glycine could alter or limit the ability of the body to produce it, as it often happen with other non-essentials ?nutrients?? (e.g.: testosterone, not a nutriment and thus not the best example I know, but I guess you understand what I mean)
Second, would you say that resolving a deficiency in glycine could help in any way regarding skin conditions like psoriasis and/or other kind of mild to intense skin rash? And could it interfere with other kind of medication?
Thanks again and don’t feel bad if you don’t want or can’t answer these questions, it’s really appreciated that you already did for the previous one.
Actually, John, your questions are not off-topic at all. What you are really asking about glycine is a perfectly good question, since many hormones–from testosterone to thyroxine to cortisol–act just this way. Specifically, taking these substances exogenously causes feedback suppression of endogenous production. But for glycine, the answer is no. It is such a fundamental metabolic intermediate, that glycine will always be produced, just as sugar will always be produced when in short supply. It is just a matter of making sure that there is more produced + eaten than what is utilized.
The answer to your second question is definitely yes. I know of at least one case of psoriatic arthritis that resolved with glycine supplementation. Any condition at all that is a consequence of inappropriate and/or excess inflammation is likely a manifestation of glycine deficiency. Therefore, there is an excellent chance that glycine supplementation will clear it up.
To the second part of your second question, the answer is no–glycine will not interfere with any medications–but it may render them unnecessary!
Thanks a lot again M. Brind, for your fast answers of course, but also for your researches.
I might start looking a little more into glycine/collagen for myself and my family.
By the way, do you have any plan to publish more on the subject in the month to come? Be it peer reviewed studies or more articles on this blog, those are always really enlightening.
I write about glycine all the time, but I’m not sure I’ll be coming out with anything within the next month. Thanks for the kind words, though.
Sorry for the typo, I meant “in the months to come” as in sometime between now and the end of the year.
No problem for the kind words. With all the thing that can go bad with health, knowing that people continue to make research to help the most and having a chance to talk to one of them feels great. Continue the good work Dr.
My pleasure, John. To me, being a medical researcher (which I decided to be when I was 10 years old) means to be a professional learner–and I learn a lot from these online dialogues. They are so much more free and open than the stiff and formal process of peer review. We are all asking questions and thinking out loud together. I’m sure I’ll be writing plenty more in the coming months. (I even have a couple of formal research projects on glycine in process.)
Sorry it took so long for me to respond this time–your comment got sort of buried hi up on the string. Yes, the wild yam stuff is worthless. You see, a species of wild Mexican yam is used as a raw material to make all steroid supplements and medications, from hydrocortisone to DHEA to birth control pills. So the simple extract from the yams is worthless. I forgot to mention, though, that DHEA is often unavailable outside the USA. So if you live in the USA you should be able to get it at any pharmacy for sure (Several brands are typically available at CVS, for example.)
As for your circulatory problems, I would suggest consulting your physician, as I am not familiar with that sort of symptom’s being the consequence of any aspect of diet, and am not a physician myself.
Hi, Dr Brind.
I have a question for you regarding acne. My son has got acne. The acne developed during this winter. Do you think he would benefit from supplementing glycine? My son has had a rapid growth in length during the last 2 years, averaging about one cm per month, a growth that halted during this winter about the same time as the onset of the acne. Is it possible that the sudden stop in growth also means that he needs less methionine in his diet? From what I have read acne is developed in adolesence when less methionine can be utilized to build a bigger body.
Good questions, Martin! It never occurred to me that there might be a connection with the END of the adolescent growth spurt and the onset of acne. It is known that acne is related to the increased secretion of androgens (testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, or DHT) in those years. My thoughts on their relation to glycine are that acne represents not only activity of the sebaceous (oil) glands, but also inflammation in the form of a reaction to harmless bacteria in those glands (Corynebacterium acnes, to be specific). So I have thought that glycine supplementation would help, however my experience is limited: I have had two students with acne using sweetamine daily for a month, one (male) with mild acne and one (female) with severe acne. The mild acne disappeared, but the severe acne did not improve, according to the patient. So I would certainly thinks it’s worth a try, especially considering that most people are glycine deficient anyway.
I have tried glycine (anywhere from 2 to 8 grams in the morning) but for some reason it causes me horrible insomnia. Any idea why or how to combat this? I like how my joints feel when taking glycine but can not live with the insomnia.
That is a bit unusual, since glycine is often recommended–due to its action as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain–to HELP you sleep! I have heard of some people in whom it seems to cause insomnia, but I’m surprised that that occurs if you take it in the morning. You might just try taking your glycine in the form of collagen, e.g., Great Lakes collagen: 3 rounded tablespoons gives you about 8-9 grams of glycine, and it enters your system more slowly, since it needs to be digested first. It should work just as well on your inflamed joints, however.
Same here. I get insomnia and my heart starts pounding really hard (but not high pulse), almost like I jumping up and down in the bed and hear my pulse in the head.
This is really interesting, as it seems that insomnia from glycine is not all that rare. My first hypothesis would be that a certain sub-population has more NMDA receptors in the brain. Glycine is a co-activator of these excitatory receptors. It is clearly not a question of inadequate glycine clearance (a rare genetic disorder in which the body cannot get rid of glycine adequately), if supplemental glycine is needed to keep down inflammation, as in the joints. But just in case glycine clearance is at least part of the problem, a dietary regimen such as the Atkins diet might help (aka ketogenic diet). When talking about ketogenic diets (high protein and fat; low carb), nutrition researchers seem to ignore some of the basic biochemistry, probably because glucose goes way down. However, the body’s own manufacture of glucose goes way up, precisely because it is not being taken in from the diet. In order to do that, the body needs to turn simple amino acids–like glycine–into glucose, so glycine goes down. I wonder if a ketogenic diet that is lavishly supplemented with collagen (gelatin, bone broths, etc) might be a way to keep glycine adequately high, but flowing optimally through its biochemical pathways. As I suggested earlier, just the substitution of collagen as the glycine source–instead of the free amino acid–might also do the trick.
I too experienced insomnia when I first started supplementing with glycine, together with a constant hyper-alert feeling. However, I carried on taking it and these symptoms disappeared after a couple of weeks.
I’m still taking glycine and the insomnia hasn’t returned (even if I forget to take it for a week or two).
It’s helped my arthritic knee (the same goes for several members of my family) so I’d say it might be worth persevering for a while if you think you have symptoms of inflammation. Perhaps starting on a lower dose and increasing gradually would help?
Thanks for cutting through all my complicated theorizing, Heather: It’s nice to know that good ol’ perseverence helps! (perhaps through some brain remodeling, so it can adjust to the substantial change in the concentration of a key neurotransmitter).
Thanks for sharing! Good to know that you were able to work through it.
I tried a collagen supplement a few times which gave me very bad insomnia, glycine supplements on the other had help me sleep.
Good Morning Dr. Brind,
I am enjoying this discussion very much and find the information your research is elucidating on Glycine deficiency as an underlying cause of inflammation compelling. Thank you for your work and continued willingness to explore in these online formats.
I wonder if you can comment on the rare individuals who experience swelling below the knee when taking even a small amount of collagen. I know of at least one person, male, age 61 who has experienced this within a short time of taking NeoCell chicken collagen capsules. It is mentioned as a rare but known side effect of collagen on Web MD.
Do you think this is related to the condition Scleroderma? This person had no outward signs of the disorder but I wonder if it might be an early sign of such a condition developing.
Any insights are much appreciated!
This side-effect of collagen is brand new to me. So a number of possibilities come to mind. First of all, is it collagen per se, or glycine or any other amino acids abundant in collagen, e.g., proline, lysine? Is it just chicken collagen or any species of collagen?
If I had to bet on a cause, I would suspect some form of collagen allergy. Collagen allergy is not that rare, especially among people who have been treated with injectable collagen (usually bovine) for cosmetic skin treatments. Some surgical suture material is also made of natural collagen (so it is naturally resorbed and need not be removed after the surgical site heals.)
The first thing I would try is to supplement with free glycine (e.g., sweetamine), which has no animal proteins or other animal-derived materials in it.
This looks interesting about swelling ankles and collagen:
Thanks for bringing that up. I have had mysterious swelling below knees for a while now which could easily be tied to collagen supplementation but it never occurred to me that’s what was causing it, so many other things are going on, menopause etc.
“This” being this site:
I couldn’t get it to show up before, hopefully it does now…
Do you have any thoughts on why some people need more glycine to keep inflammation in check? I personally seem to need 20+ grams of glycine every day to really keep inflammation at bay (mainly in joints). My methionine intake is not particularly high. And do glycine levels generally decrease with age?
Generally, I do not think glycine production decreases with age. Even if your metabolism were slowing down generally, I would expect that your clearance of ingested glycine would also slow down. On the other hand, I would expect that a high rate of metabolism would clear glycine more rapidly, so you would need a higher intake. I would also expect glycine to be cleared more rapidly if you were on a low-carb diet, as your liver would turn more of the glycine into glucose, to use as fuel. But if the bottom line is that 20 grams of glycine per day is optimal for you–and it does the trick–so be it!
Thank you for the response! I’m not on a low carb diet nor do I think my metabolism is particularly high, but 20 grams of glycine per day is working wonders, so I will definitely keep it up. The reason I asked those questions is because I’m curious as to why some people develope severe inflammatory diseases from glycine deficiency, e.g. arthritis, while others don’t (that is, if glycine deficiency really lies at the core of most inflammatory conditions), as well as how glycine deficiency relates to aging-associated diseases (I guess it may have something to do with the cumulative damage from chronic glycine deficiency over a lifetime).
So Kris, I’m curious, you say, “I personally seem to need 20+ grams of glycine every day to keep inflammation at bay…”. I assume you’ve taken less at some point to know you need 20 grams but my question is, what did that feel like at less than 20? Can you give details about how it feels at 20 and at less? I’m trying to decide if it’s worth experimenting with higher than the 8 grams Joel Brind recommends for the typical person. Thanks for any info you can give!
Dr. Brind your articles are always interesting and well written. I’ve been using glycine since your first article and like you will swear by it! Thanks for your contributions to Matt’s blog!
CG, thanks for the kind words and you are most welcome:-)
Yes, at first I experimented with the recommended 8-10 grams, and while I saw some benefit, I continued to experience symptoms of inappropriate inflammation. For me that manifests itself mainly as joint pain, excessive soreness after exercise, and bleeding gums. It wasn’t until I started experimenting with even higher intakes of glycine, in the range of 20-40 grams, that all those problems went away. If you still have symptoms of inflammation at 8 grams, I definitely think it is worth a shot to experiment with higher intakes. The only negative in my experience is some GI discomfort. If it wasn’t for that, I would probably go even higher, as it does seem the higher I go, the better I feel, although there are diminishing returns (English is not my native language, so I’m sorry for any mistakes.)
My thinking is that glycine deficiency manifests in different ways in different people, depending upon their particular constitution and vulnerabilities. That is, inflammation sometimes shows up ultimately as diabetes, or heart disease, or Alzheimer’s disease or cancer. Actually, all of the disease processes likely go on in one body, and it finally shows up as one or more of them. In my case, for example, I noticed that with glycine supplementation I no longer developed inflammation as a result of blunt trauma, then, no longer as a result of sunburn. Then I also noticed I no longer had periodontal inflammation, which caused my mouth to be a bloody mess whenever the dentist cleaned my teeth. But internally, silently–showing up only on blood tests–I was developing insulin resistance that was just tipping into diabetes. But that was 7 or 8 years ago. Now, my fasting glucose is pretty stable between 100 and 120 (a bit high, but not diabetic). I suppose that I would have developed more severe diabetes and likely heart disease or cancer before too many more years.
So I think that ultimately, everyone who is truly glycine deficient suffers from some sort of disease consequence. But again, note that the sort of inflammation passes for normal–like after blunt injury or sunburn–isn’t really normal, but a sign of a deficiency disease.
Very interesting, thank you! And thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience through this blog, I hope to see more from you. :-)
This is a repost of a comment I posted in response to yours of April 29, and it ended up getting posted far from your comment in the string. So, to make sure you can find it, I’m reposting it as a current comment:
Sorry it took so long for me to respond this time?your comment got sort of buried hi up on the string. Yes, the wild yam stuff is worthless. You see, a species of wild Mexican yam is used as a raw material to make all steroid supplements and medications, from hydrocortisone to DHEA to birth control pills. So the simple extract from the yams is worthless. I forgot to mention, though, that DHEA is often unavailable outside the USA. So if you live in the USA you should be able to get it at any pharmacy for sure (Several brands are typically available at CVS, for example.)
As for your circulatory problems, I would suggest consulting your physician, as I am not familiar with that sort of symptom’s being the consequence of any aspect of diet, and am not a physician myself.
Hi again dr. Brind.
Thanks a lot for your kind reply. Actually I live in Europe, Italy, so I just found out that here is not so simple to find the supplements you recommended (DHEA and biotin) in the health stores, but maybe only at a farmacy with a medical receipt. Of course it’s possible to order online, but I don’t know who to trust :((( I have to do some research and we’ll see what comes out. I really can’t stand it anymore this itchy and dry scalp that drove me insane during these days with varicella
Anyway, once again, thank you very much for all the info you provide!
Hello Dr. Brind,
I very much appreciate your work. I find it quite fascinating. In regards to DHEA, do you recommend it over a natural progesterone supplement for menopausal women?
I apologize if this is a redundant question, but would significant swelling in the lower extremities due to lymphatic sluggishness (so I’ve been told) be helped by glycine/gelatin supplementation. Gelatin does SEEM to help (when I remember to do so, I make a shake of 3T. Great Lakes gelatin, scant 3 T. sugar [coconut/sucanat] in about 1 cup of raw milk), but is the benefit due to the protein in the milk or the natural sugars instead? This swelling and my lower back being “out” even after a year’s worth of chiropractic care are really hampering my ability to get around, which is hampering my ability to get better metabolically ala Matt Stone style — I’ve already done the eating part for about a year and half now (the swelling began within a couple months of starting that) but I’d really like to move on to the moving around part. Any insight you might have would be greatly appreciated.
Glycine improves my hypoglycemia and my post workout aches BUT it makes me incredibly out of it…even at 3 grams a day. I feel way too doped up. Any idea why?
I’ve never heard that one before, Kass. It also seems odd, in that I would think hypoglycemia would make you feel “incredibly out of it”, yet you say that condition has improved. I suppose you might be supersensitive to a spiking glycine level, so you might benefit by dividing the servings, or getting your glycine from a protein source like gelatin. Since proteins have to be digested before absorption, they make for a naturally slowly more absorbing form of the amino acids. Alternatively, you might just stick with it for a while, and your body may get used to the new regimen of nutrient flux.
Hi dr. Brind,
thanks for your very interesting articles on glycine and your frequent commenting.
Would it be possible for you to present a list for us of what you consider the most important published research regarding glycine, your own published research and others?
Let’s see, my own research is basically in progress, the only published piece being an abstract on glycine supplementation in rats published in 2011. I think the best thing I can do for you is to suggest you read the recent review of Wang W, et al. Glycine metabolism in animals and humans: implications for nutrition and health. Amino Acids 2013;45:463-477. The Wang paper has an exhaustive list of references. It will keep you busy for quite a while!
that Wang paper seems to be hard to come by unless you have access to some research database. Has anybody come across this paper in its entirety?
The paper in question:
Wang W, et al. Glycine metabolism in animals and humans: implications for nutrition and health. Amino Acids 2013;45:463-477
I’ve enjoyed your articles on glycine, and it’s made me focus a bit more on gelatin and glycine. Biggest thing I’ve noticed- I used to be sore for days when I did a weight lifting workout at the gym. Now, I feel great the next day. I’m thinking that was inappropriate inflammation.
One question though- I’ve noticed everyone seems to say that red meat is methionine rich. Yet when I looked at amino acid breakdown on nutritiondata.self.com, the cuts I looked at had a ratio of 3:1 glycine to methionine. That’s about on par with scallops, which have been recommended. However, milk and eggs were closer to 1:1.
So what’s the deal? Is there some other factor in play? Is it more important to balance out milk and eggs than meat? Is the database incorrect, and if so, do you have better info? What am I missing here? Regardless, I will continue with both the glycine and gelatin.
Newbie here–found this site by way of a zero-carb/carnivore/all-meat diet search (low carb is no longer working for us). Question: could the methionine overdose risk from eating too much meat too often be the reason behind all this plant-based-diet advocacy, and the recommended downplaying of meat in our diets..or is that just a “back to Nature” food purity movement?
No, there is great legitimacy behind the advocacy of eating a diet low in animal protein.
Where does a vegetarian get adequate glycine in their diet, what foods specifically? If we need 8 grams a day for maintenance and health and up to 15 grams a day if we have leaky gut and insulin resistance I am having a hard time imagining that that is achievable day in and day out on a low animal protein diet, but I admit I am not up on all the balances of nutrients in a vegetarian regimen. Would love to know more Matt, as to why low animal protein might be good for you re: Glycine deficiency?
Thanks for your insights Matt (or anyone else who might want to chime in).
Joel Brind said: “some people are ?under-methylators? …
Doc… You do realize that you have no idea what you are talking about? … Have you even READ Ray Peat doc? Methylation of genes is what causes the degenerative changes seen in aging, cancer, brain diseases… Brazil nuts are high in PUFAs and fiber, irritating the intestines creating serotonin. Your daughter is probably feeling better because of the increased serotonin, temporarily creating excitation. A little amphetamine would do the same.
Your recommendations of glycine supplementation is also stupid, since synthetic amino acids are toxic. Gelatin bone broth would be better way to go.
Pratt: Could you please give us some references to back your general statement that synthetic amino acids are toxic? I’m very interested in this topic.
Whether you care or not (most likely the latter) people take you much less serious when you start name calling the blog poster and informing them about their daughter’s health (someone you’ve never even met). I might have actually considered your comment to be logical but seeing as how rude you like being I’ll just dismiss your input.
I’m wondering if YOU ever read Ray Peat. Here is a quote on pure glycine from his article on gelatin- “Although pure glycine has its place as a useful and remarkably safe drug, it shouldn’t be thought of as a food, because manufactured products are always likely to contain peculiar contaminants.”
Did a simple search and found this pdf. It is, however, talking about soil supplementing. Skimmed through it,if I remember correctly (synthetic?) glycine is claimed to have toxic effects at a 3000mg/kg dose.
Either way, still curious about Pratt’s sources to his claims and of course dr Brind’s take on it, since he has been researching it for a number of years :)
If anyone can help, I just started taking 3G free form Taurine and 1G free form Glycine a day 4 days ago. The Taurine seems to be helping but I swear I think the Glycine makes me feel stressed at even just a low dose. How is this happening and will my body get used to it so I can up the dose over time?
I am 35 with two kids and have my entire life had anxiety issues and blood sugar drops between meals making me shakey and iritable; I have read Matts book on hypoglycemia. I am now finally starting to think I am an adrenaline type and wonder if it started because I had a father who constantly harassed the family so I always felt fear growing up, so I think my body thought that was a permanent state. I ate tons of food and was always under 120 for 5’7. Any thoughts?
I ate Atkins style starting in 2009 (which helped those blood dugar drops go away) and migrated to Paleo in 2011 so my husband and I are both realizing our error of ‘healthy eating’ due to the usual cropping up of health issues we didnt originally have. But I am now back to having to manage the shakes again.
Interesting that people have mentioned pea protein v. rice protein.
I often use rice protein and/or hemp protein as part of breakfast, and feel it does me good.
Not long ago, my husband bought pea protein instead of rice protein, I used that in the same way (a morning protein shake) and on the third day became really unwell. I had headache, dizziness and nausea and was bedridden for 3 days! I haven’t dared to touch pea protein ever since.
I don’t have an answer as to why you can’t tolerate the glycine supplement – it could be that your out of balance with other nutrients. One thing that I think would be safe for you to try for anxiety is transdermal magnesium flakes, like those from ancient minerals. Just about everyone is lacking in magnesium and it can be hard to absorb it if you have a compromised digestive system. I follow Dr. Garrett Smith – he posts a lot of good information on his facebook page.
I take glycine and it helps me sleep and keeps inflamation down. Magnesium has also helped me sleep better too. I can’t tolerate Great Lakes gelatin which many people recommend getting glycine from but maybe you can. You could also try getting glycine from select meet cuts like oxtail. Getting glycine from food is difficult in our society now so I am grateful for Dr. Brind’s information here.
Hey guyz!!!!! Do any of you guyz know why raypeatforum.com is down at the moment???? I love that place. Like It’s soo good. It’s cos there they discuss real stuff that matters. Not meaningless stuff like this blog. Here you only learn to stuff your face with food then take lame glycine supplements. Where’s the stuff about progesterone and pregnenolone? Why hasn’t matt tried taking progesterone and written about his experience? He seems to be becoming more peat oriented anyway. He didn’t like coffee and fruit juices first but now loves it. It will be the same with progesterone and pregnenolone. He will be 100% peat in a few years!!!!
Everyone’s opinions change overtime, Ray Peat included.
Matt. Bro. 180degreehealth started with a blog, written by you. It was such a beautiful experience, it was like a piece of art. Now, the blog is rarely updated. This post is from April, and it’s now August. Not only is it from August, but it’s not even written by you. You have other writers write in your blog. All you do is push your ebooks. Is it just to make money? It started with a free mindset, where you posted at your heart’s will and desire, freely, like a beautiful bird. Now, I feel the corporate interest in your website. You used to comment daily on your blog, replying to and helping people. Now you are rarely around. What has happened? Are you dead? Did you get another job? Are you living off the money the website and blog are making you? Maybe you should shut this blog down, since it has no real direction any more, and you’ve changed your mind a million times on things like sugar, fruit, coffee, foods.. Now all the posts pretty much add up to: don’t exercise TOO Much, eat a bit MORE, take some weird ass supplements that this ‘doctor’ guy is pushing (glycine). oh and then a finish guy is pushing thyroid meds, all based on things he read on pubmed, without even having tried them. Sad. Just sad.
Well it’s not to make money Lydia, that’s for sure. I used to make $15,000/month, and now make $2,000/month. I lost interest. Completely. Tired of fucking theorizing and mentally masturbating about the fine details of diet, lifestyle, and nutrition. It all seems like a zero sum game.
However, after trying hard to just “eat normal” and not think about what I’m eating. Eating intuitively, yada yada…. I feel downright terrible. I’ve been forced recently to think about nutrition and health and take action once again. After all, being sick from eating and living normally is what compelled me to take interest in the subject in the first place. It should come as no surprise that reverting back to how I ate and lived in childhood made me a sick bastard like I was as a kid.
So perhaps there will once again be a resurrection. We shall see. I’m certainly not withholding anything from anyone in terms of keeping the answers to myself, lol.
Could you give us an idea about the general foods you eat? I had been getting the impression you were having lots of fruits, fruit smoothies/juices etc. (not to necessarily imply they’re healthy no matter what). What do you have these days when you eat intuitively?
Matt. Bro. Even your response to my message was just downright sad. I mean, it’s that “on the fence” type of mentality, which just doesn’t say anything clearly, or get your readers anywhere. You’ve been experimenting with diets, read dozens probably hundreds of books, theorized and analyzed, and came to to the conclusion to just eat “intuitively”. Now.Your health has been declining, and you realize your realization was useless. So you are yo-yo’ing, taking your readers along with you, into a path of … nothingness. Peat has been eating they way he has for decades. He doesn’t change his mind about coffee or milk every year or two. He’s someone who is stable. Unlike you.
You made $15,000 a month on this blog and selling ebooks??? that’s impressive. It’s impressive you are still making $2,000 from this place which seems like a ghost town. If you’ve realized that biochemistry matters and that diet matters, why haven’t you tried taking thyroid and pregnenolone and those youth hormones you claim are so important in one of your youtube vids??? Why complicate things with diet and perfect timing of foods and over-analyze??? Your on the fence type of behavior may in fact be a sign of bad health???
It’s not on-the-fence behavior. I just don’t rush to conclusions like I did when I was younger and dumber. Don’t want to take anyone down any more dead end rabbit holes. For the first half decade of this site, I was basically a extreme diet yo-yo enabler tossing out wild ideas and doing extreme things such as milk fasts and zero carb stints.
And I don’t believe eating intuitively is useless. For many it’s obviously not. For the eating disordered, it’s a grand revelation. And I may be dead wrong. For all I know it’s lack of eating intuitively, or belief that all health matters are related to food when they aren’t, that have gotten my health to a place of mediocrity. I was staying up until 4am every night working in front of a computer and spending 14 hours a day sitting when my health started to deteriorate. Can’t exactly blame that on cheeseburgers.
Also, I’ve probably misrepresented what intuitive eating should probably be. For me, “eating intuitively” usually meant eating what was fast, cheap, and convenient. That’s not intuitive eating. That’s just laziness. I make all my food at home once again and eat what I like and what makes me feel good. That’s probably a lot more intuitive than just ordering pizza. I don’t even really like the pizza where I live, but it was the only food I could have delivered without leaving the house, lol.
As for Peat, Peat’s work is full of wild contradiction. The fact that he has eaten the way he has for so long without deviation is a very bad sign, not a good one. A sign of rigidity in his beliefs, if anything. I mean, the dude is all about keeping methionine, tryptophan, and PUFA low but recommends eating ice cream, coconut oil, shellfish, liver, and a whole effing quart of milk every day! But don’t eat above-ground vegetables? Come on. It makes no sense.
Like I’ve said in the past, I very much agree that Peat has identified the primary pillars of disease causation: low metabolism, inflammation, oxidation, and stress.
But his information about diet is where a lot is lost in translation. Recommending the taking of hormones like they are vitamins is even scarier.
Fact is, Durianrider and Freelee are probably on more of a Peat diet than Peat is, lol. Considering the stated objectives of the diet.
Anyway, we’ll see what the future holds eh?
Matt. You just dont offer people more besides the “eat home-cooked meals, eat things you like, have a comfortable life, follow your instincts, don’t undereat” to-avoid-disease philosophy, that even a third grader should know about. Peats practical recommendations might not be perfect and work for everybody. But he offers some good things for sick people, who actually have an illness. Your readers are like yourself, yo-yo dieters.
Why do you consider it a bad sign that Peat hasnt changed his way of eating?? He has tried other diets decades ago (he ruined his teeth with a diet of wheat germ) but he found something that works. Why change something if it isnt broken??? Your yo-yo dieting seems much less stable to me. Its like a man who has been married to the same woman for 40 years. Or a man like yourself who gets a new girlfriend every month. Who is more healthy??? Who is more mentally stable???
This blog would be much more interesting if you would try to back up your own theories with some practical insights. Take some thyroid!! Take some DHEA!! Eat brazil nuts every day!! Tell your readers how it works out!!! you talk about youth hormones so much in one of your videos… you start sounding like Suzanne Somers… only difference is she actually puts her money where her mouth is and takes hormones… you just say they are anti-aging health hormones. Dont talk about something which you dont know anything about??
My days of playing guinea pig are over. And you’re unlikely to catch me taking hormones. When I talk about hormones I’m talking about endogenous production, not taking them willy nilly like they are vitamins.
And you’re right. My yo-yo dieting was very unstable, back when I used to try things out and report how it worked out. That’s why I don’t do it anymore. It did a great deal of damage. I think any consistent diet is likely to outperform inconsistent eating patterns, which is why I’m confident that Don Gorske will live just as long and prosperous of a life as Ray Peat or anyone else for that matter.
Matt- perhaps you started feeling terrible because your income dropped by 13K per month?
Haha. No, I make a lot more than that now. I run several businesses now besides 180D.
Matt, I appreciate all the effort you’ve put into researching health, and waking me up to all the destructive diets out there. I got carried away with low carb at the worst time: Pregnancy and breastfeeding. My poor little baby only had bowel movements once every 3 or more days. He was so uncomfortable. Looking back on the situation I feel horrible that I was so blind and he was the one to suffer for it. The first day I gave up low carb he had two BMs and we’ve never looked back. That was 2 years ago. Now we eat mostly whole foods and feel great.
Don’t beat yourself up too much, man.
Matt. Bro. Are you censoring comments now??? I posted responses to your response. You decided to censor them. Not let them be seen by your audience. That’s just sad Bro.
Nah, just haven’t gone in and approved comments in a couple weeks. Sorry.
Matty: “When I talk about hormones I’m talking about endogenous production, not taking them willy nilly like they are vitamins.”
Matt. Bro. I really think you should remove this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKhX6Adf618 .. You are doing your readers a disservice. How do you know its increased pregnenolone, DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, that are responsible for a longer and healthier life span??? Really?? I’m gonna quote yourself on this one: “This rigid, dogmatic reply is fucking annoying.”. You really are just vomiting up what some of those anti-doctors are saying. Did you know that high DHEA is associated with dementia in several studies???? High testosterone is associated with some increased risks of diseases too. There is really no conclusive evidence which shows that having high DHEA or thyroid levels leads to long life or health. Just because young people have higher levels of some these hormones doesn’t really mean the goal of a diet is to keep them increased!! Younger people also have higher levels of estrogen. I’m not saying it’s either way but it’s just really annoying when you talk about something like that. Eat for heat is one thing. Eat for increased thyroid DHEA youth hormones is garbage talk.
You are done experimenting. We get that. Sick people are not done. They have cancer and things you didnt have. Should they just have a regular eating pattern??? Will that solve their extreme diseases????
Dude, I’ve already unpublished 7 books. At one point I pulled down all of my blog posts. There is plenty out there, by me, that is partial or total horseshit. I used to be the biggest dogmatic idiot of them all. Takes one to know one.
As for “youth hormones,” they are synonymous with a higher quality of life, but not necessarily longevity. But longevity in and of itself is a foolish pursuit. Quality is better than quantity. It’s like a law of the universe of all things.
So now you want me to create a dietary formula for curing cancer? No wonder you are so susceptible to guru-ism.
And yes, all sick people should have a regular eating pattern. A regular sleeping pattern, among many other fundamentals of health that are rarely followed in the modern world.
Without going into anything else I have a very simple question for you.
Do you still believe in keeping PUFA/omega-6 low in the diet?
If there is anything I learned from you and 180 degree health but in the day that really stuck with me,it’s been that.
I’m not healthy nut anymore but I still eat very low pufa/omega-6 which doesn’t even require any will power anyways since there are tons of tasty and delicious foods to eat and I feel really good.My health is in good shape.
So what are your thoughts man?
Do you still believe that keeping pufa/omega-6 low for the most part is important in having good health?
Yes, absolutely John.
I must simply must vehemently disagree that in all cases it is a health advantage to keep Omega 6 low … there are definite situations where Omega 6 needs to be in a ratio of 4:1 with Omega 3. Primary among these is anyone who is not eating the SAD. While Omega 6 may be as high as 20:1 with Omega 3 in the SAD, most of here are not eating the SAD. Humans require a 4:1 ratio. Check your diet and your blood levels. ~25% of the population has deficiencies in the Delta 6 Desaturase enzyme that converts Omega 3 and Omega 6 to the next step in their respective pathways. Because Omega 3 has a greater affinity for this enzyme it has the effect of reducing the conversion of Omega 6 to Gammalinolenic Acid (GLA), which causes a deficiency in Archidonic Acid. We need a certain amount of this intermediary, not too much not too little, as in everything in the body Homeostatsis is the word. All things must be in the correct balance for the body to function optimally. Do not mistake excess for balance, nor deficiency. Know what the real pathways are, not just what one group tells you is THE way. There is no one size fits all … it is determined by multiple factors including your current physiological state, expression of your epigenetics and your current nutritional balance. For more information please join my Facebook Group.
This rigid, dogmatic reply is fucking annoying. No truly science-minded individual communicates in absolutes like this. If you feel like there is a widespread AA deficiency, then present us with the evidence that MAY suggest it to be a possibility. Otherwise this just comes off like arrogant know-it-all bullshit.
“Humans require a 4:1 ratio.”
Sounds a little overly specific to me. And how do you know that’s better than 3:1, 2:1, 1:1, etc. If so, how can you be so sure?
Hey Matt… dunno if AA deficiency is widespread or not, but I do know it happened/happens to me. Eating a decent, clean, lowish fat (not SAD) diet, I had too many omega 3 and virtually NO omega 6. I was not eating any PUFA of any kind, nor trans fats. I lived through the time when we were told all fat was bad. Boy, did I learn a hard lesson…. it ruined my gut. D6D is nutrient dependent just like anything else in the body. I was depleted of nearly all B vitamins. This showed on Nutreval testing. And boy was I sick. I don’t know what the correct ratio is, but I learned the hard way that it IS possible to be deficient in omega 6. Funnily enough, I craved butter…. could have eaten 1/2 a stick at one sitting…. it was awful.
Hey Matt, this guy is on to something, and his name is hilarious:
The writers you have who are writing for your blog are a total joke. Dr Joel Brind recommends eating brazil nuts. Scott Abel recommends testosterone replacement therapy on his own blog if your T levels are low. Hahahahaha. What a joke
I recently tried glycine on three consecutive days. Taking one gram right before bed. I progressively woke up feeling more tired and exhausted than I ever have in my life. During the day I experienced fatigue and intense brain fog. I stopped and the symptoms persisted for over a week. After they finally subsided, I figured I would attempt again, this time taking one gram on an empty stomach in the late morning. Within a half hour it made me very groggy and disconnected mentally. Why could such a low dose have such a profound negative effect on me while others seem to be able to tolerate mega-doses or at least the therapeutic amount?
I noticed an earlier post on this thread in which a person commented that they were unable to take anything over one gram without feeling high and sedated.
I am very disappointed as I was very excited to make glycine a regular part of my protocol for the anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects. I am 40 and fit.
I’m including a link that states high doses would leave someone unable to perform daily tasks.
I would like to know how to overcome this as I wish to continue with glycine but it leaves me groggy, foggy and completely disconnected from reality. Please advise.
Don’t take glycine supplements. Eat foods high in gelatin/collagen if you want to get more in your diet.
quite a general sweeping statement there without any real information.
I am seriously interested in glycine supplementation versus a diet high in gelatin. Please elaborate on why one should not take glycine supplements, preferably in solid scientific terms.
Supplements are risky. Purity, imbalance, missing co-factors, etc. all come into play whenever you take an isolated compound. I think the better question is, when real foods are available that contain the nutrient you are looking for, AND they taste good, why would you choose to supplement? People on the internet will spend a lot of time convincing you of the value of supplements (especially if it will make them money), but I think the risk probably outweighs any potential benefits.
Hi Matt. Wow! May I say that I LOVE your recent comments. This kind of transparency is so rare and precious.
A refreshing change!
I have no problems with your change of frame of mind. I am 6 months into eating for heat and am still folling the youreatopia website after doing Atkins and Paleo for 5 years and thoroughly screwing myself up. I began following the Ray Peat crowd a couple months ago and stopped because they felt like another diet cult making me crazy again. I’m sticking with Gwynith Olwyn. I have gained 25 lbs but who gives a shit. I feel so much better and it will all even out when the body is done healing. I am on the Fuckitdiet.
Dr. Carl Pfeiffer who founded the Brain Bio Center at Princeton proposed various biotypes for mental illness among which was Histadelia, pertaining to people with abnormally high blood histamine levels. For histadelia he prescribed methionine 500 mg twice daily, calcium 500 mg twice daily, manganese 5 to 50 mg daily and Zinc 10 to 30 mg daily. This protocol was not a cure-all for histadelia as he mentions those who required additional experimentations with exercise (can itself raise histamine levels) or vegetarianism.
With the goal to normalize histamine levels in histadelics by using methionine, this seems like a possible double edged sword. Granted, methionine is involved in lessening or regulating excess histamine, but there must be some other mechanism to regulate or normalize histamine than by stressing with methionine, wouldn’t you think?
Dr. William Walsh, who took up Pfeiffer’s work preferred to categorize the low/high histamine phenomenon as rather low/high methylation.
Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of Excitoxins: the Taste that Kills, explains most mental disorders being related to excess glutamate. Whereas glutamate is the main neurotransmitter in the brain, excessive amounts cause inflammation particularly of the microglia. A main focus of Blaylock in treating Autism and Schizophrenia is to reduce inflammation by various and multiple dietary and supplimentary means.
There have been adjunct studies using glycine for schizophrenia, which lead me to find Dr. Brind’s video in Youtube. Dr. Brind, what does glycine have to do with regulation of histamine? Does glycine affect microglia inflammation? Thanks
Well Matt, I too appreciate your honesty.
I am part way though the 90 day course and reading EAT FOR HEAT and an e book of yours about the Paleo equation. I am trying to figure out from your experiences what is best for me. I do feel better most days and really like paying attention to different stresses and trying to sooth them one way or another. I did not read though all the comments above, but after reading Janet, the health Nazi’s comments went right to sign up for GL collagen, I already had the gelatin which I stopped using for some forgotten reason which offers the same benefits, but much harder to mix up, and I stumbled across a bevy of bad reviews, often backed up by checkable facts on google. In short GREAT LAKES collagen now comes from factory cows, not finished on grass and has a lot of lead in it. You can read these negative reviews in the gelatin version of the product, which GL says has the same benefits as the pricier green labeled product, just cannot be mixed as easily. Just wanted to warn people. And I have yet to fine out what is in Joel’s product, which is also pretty pricy. Thanks again Matt for your refreshing “the emperor has no clothes policy”
People with high total cholesterol levels live longer than those with low total cholesterol levels!
How do you find out if ?under-methylation? is an issue?
Hi Dr. Joel, and thank you for your informative contribution to a very important subject. Regarding your working hypothesis that supplementation with glycine and methionine may be helpful to undermethylators, my daughter is highly OVERmethylated. which means she already plenty of SAMe/methionine and would be very adversely affected by more. But she definitely benefits from glycine (broth, gelatin, collagen)supplementation. So, it would appear that glycine is helpful to both biotypes, those that naturally produce metionine/SAMe and those that get it by supplementation. The challenge may be to figure out correct dosing and sourcing (supplements vs. natural food sources). I also strongly second the recommendation that you familiarize yourself with the work of Dr. William Walsh.
Dr Brind, you indicate that glycine is the rate limiting factor for disposal of methionine. Can you describe in more detail what that disposal pathway is? This disposal is not methylation, but is some way of getting rid of excess methionine before it ever gets used in methylation?
As far as under methylators during a fast, you make the point that during the fast they will be short of methionine. Doesn’t that forget that the body goes into autophagy during about the 14 to 18th hour of a fast, cannibalizing existing misfolded cell proteins to manufacture new ones? I am an under methylator – shown by both my SNPs and the diagnostic I gave in an earlier reply. About 13 hours into a fast my homocysteine was at a normal value, indicating that I must have had some amount of methylation going on at the time? If the body were in a stark methionine shortage, wouldn’t homocysteine values go below the low end of the scale?
Matt, I want to offer you my support and thanks for your transparency in the comments above.
As someone who has written a book on the subject of health myself and been confident I was eating a “healthy” diet I have recently been diagnosed with cancer.
So, like you, I am going back to the drawing board to find the real truth.
Life is all about learning. We will come out of these lessons stronger.
Hi. I found your blog while trying to figure out if I should keep supplementing with Sam-e. I have a gene variance report from both Livewello and genetic-genie, yet finding physicians who are knowledgeable in the area of genetic deficiencies is problematic at best. My doctor is forward thinking but is not comfortable interpreting my results.
I am severely hypoglycemic and dyslexic compounded with having Bipolar II disorder. If I may be so presumptuous as to list the gambit of my +/+ results and what I have been doing for the past six years prior to being tested, I would very much appreciate any advice or suggestions you may have. Or possibly a physician in the San Diego area that you suggest.
These things help:
Self injections of 1ml each – 1000mcg/ml – Methylcobalamin and Hydroxycobalamin daily.
Six small meals a day.
A mostly vegetarian diet – protein from beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
15,000mcg Folate as (65)-5-Methyletrahydrofolate.
Thorne B-Complex #12
1.5 grain Nature Throid.
Adderall 10mg morning and noon.
Blood labs consistently indicate:
Gene Variances +/+: LIVEWELLO
Gene, rsID, Minor Allele, Genotype, Phenotype +/+
ATG16L1, rs429358, T, TT, ++
SOD2, rs2758331, A, AA, ++
SOD 2, rs4880, C, TT, ++
MAOB, rs1799836, C, C, +
MTHFD1L, rs17349743, C, CC, ++
MTHFR C677T, rs1801133, A, AA, ++
CBS, rs2851391, T, TT, ++
COMT H62H, rs4633, T, TT, ++
COMT V158M, rs4680, A, AA, ++
FLOR2, rs651933, G, GG, ++
IL5, rs2069812, G, GG, ++
IFIH1, rs1990760, T, TT, ++
IGF1R, rs2229765, A, AA, ++
CYP1B1, RS1056836, C, CC, ++
CTLA4, RS231775, G, GG, ++
Gene Variances +/+: Genetic Genie
Only list one Alleles
COMT H62H, rs4633, TT, ++
MAO-A R297R, rs6323, TT, ++
MTHFR C677T, rs1801133, AA, ++
Any suggestions such as Brazil nuts, TMG, etc would be invaluable. I know you are not an MD and not allowed to prescribe.
Your diet of beans, grains, nuts etc are probably the source of many of your problems. I am ++ for COMT, and heterozygous for MTHFR C667T & MTHFR A1298C. I don’t tolerate ANY grains, beans, nightshades, dairy, sulfured foods, nuts & seeds, and I also need a low fructan/fructose diet. The fructans (mostly garlic & onions) are worse to tolerate than the fructose. I also have take many supplements to compensate for my pathetic body’s inability to function properly. I don’t know if any of this is of use to you or not, but maybe it can at least point you in a helpful direction. I have been at this for over 20 years now, and finally the last 10 years have been making great strides on my health with inflammation, digestive issues (leaky gut), dry skin, brittle nails, etc.
I have been reading that GLYPHOSATE (main chemical in ROUNDUP herbicide) is stealing our Glycine receptors sites in our body!! Could be another reason you suspect or are seeing Glycine deficiencies. I have seen #SterlingHill post this on Facebook before and on her professional wall #MthfrSupport.
I took an organic acid test and found that I most likely suffer from a Glycine conjunction pathway defect. My benzoate was off the charts while my Hipperate was nonexistent, showing that my Glycine pathway was blocked. I started supplementing a small amount but itch every time I take it. Also when I took a urine neurotransmitter metabolite test my Glycine was very high. So it seems like it’s just not getting used? I also have MTHFR and have not been able to tolerate any methel donors or any B vitamins. Maybe since I have Side effects from both glycine and methyl donors because my detox pathways have been blocked for so long that I need to ease into it ? All I know is if I take Methionine or B vits I’ll get depressed or extreme anxiety and I feel like a crazy person. I might try the collagen powder again to get glycine in my daily diet Though. Thanks for the article I found it very interesting!
Very interesting article…thanks.
I had been supplementing with glycine for about 3 months at a dose of 4g and doing fine. I wanted to experiment as, prior to this I had taken a marine collagen supplement and improved my gut/food sensitivities a lot. The glycine gave me much improved sleep quality.
I took a short break from the glycine and then started again at double the dose, i.e. 8g. (just to see!) After a week I developed aching/pain in my thigh muscles which felt very heavy; similar to after a heavy gym session! I immediately stopped the glycine and one thigh pain disappeared in 48 hours. The other thigh remains sore a week later. Anyone any ideas as to whether this is a glycine overdose reaction?
Eating excessive amounts of Brazil nuts can cause Selenium toxicity. It doesn’t take that many nuts to cause selenosis. Symptoms can include breathing problems, heart attack, and kidney failure. If your daughter is having breathing problems you might try to rule that out.
The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not fail me just as much as this particular one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I genuinely believed you would have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you could fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.
If you want to be on a high protein diet (~1.2 grams of protein per kg of body weight), what is the formula for the amount of glycine that would balance that amount of methionine?
How does glycine get used up discarding methionine? Is this just about glycine getting rid of excess methyl groups, or is there an additional use for glycine there?