Methionine And Glycine: Understand Their Effect On Your Body

Methionine and glycine are two types of amino acids. Methionine is relatively present more in the muscle meat as compared to glycine. There have been a lot of assumptions that a lower level of glycine along with a higher level of methionine can increase the risks of various diseases. This article composes a detailed description of the effects caused by methionine and glycine on our bodies. 

What are methionine and glycine?

There are many types of amino acids. Out of which are methionine and glycine. 

Methionine can be found in many proteins, including that in food as well as in tissues and organs of the body. They form the fundamental building blocks of proteins and have many health-related benefits. 

They are also responsible for the process of making new proteins inside a cell. They also repair the damaged muscles after the body work-outs. 

The presence of methionine speeds up the chemical reactions in a body. Due to this reason, it is known as a “methyl donor”. 

Methionine can be found in the following foods (100 grams each):

Methionine
  • Tuna fish – 0.9 grams
  • Dried egg whites – 2.8 grams 
  • Chicken breasts – 0.9 grams
  • Bacon – 1.1 grams
  • Dried spirulina – 1.2 grams
  • Parmesan cheese – 1.0 grams
  • Lean lamb – 1.1 grams
  • Lean beef – 1.1 grams 
  • Brazil nuts – 1.1 grams

Glycine is used by the body to make proteins that are required for the development and care of the tissues. It is mostly produced by our bodies from the amino acid serine. It is also responsible for making hormones and enzymes. 

It can easily be found in foods such as protein-rich ones and also in dietary supplements such as collagen. A rich glycine source is gelatin. It is a substance made from collagen and is mostly used as a gelling agent in producing foods. 

In foods such as gummy bears, cheesecakes, cream cheese, and ice-creams, gelatin can be found in large quantities. 

Below are given the foods (per 100 grams) that are a rich source of glycine: 

  • Lean lamb – 1.8 grams
  • Dry gelatin powder – 19.1 grams
  • Cuttlefish – 2.0 grams
  • Pork skin snacks – 11.9 grams 
  • Low-fat sesame flour – 3.4 grams
  • Lean beef – 2.2 grams
  • Chicken skin – 3.3 grams
  • Bacon – 2.6 grams
  • Dried egg whites – 2.8 grams 

Methionine vs. glycine                                        

Methionine can be found in high amounts in muscle meat. This can be converted into another amino acid, homocysteine. Homocysteine cannot be found in foods. When methionine is metabolized, it gives rise to homocysteine. 

When methionine is consumed at a high rate, it gives rise to high blood levels of homocysteine. 

Methionine

The presence of excessive methionine in the body has adverse effects on the functioning of the blood vessels. Here, homocysteine is highly responsive in the body. A high level of homocysteine in the blood levels can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart attack

Supplements such as folate or vitamin B can help in reducing the homocysteine level. 

How to balance homocysteine level? 

There are three nutrients available that will help your body to keep homocysteine levels within a range. They help by recycling the excessive homocysteine and convert them into amino acid cysteine or methionine. 

Below are given the three ways in which the body can decrease the level of homocysteine: 

  1. Folate-dependent Remethylating

This method lowers the level of homocysteine by converting them back into methionine. For this conversion to be successful, it requires the following nutrients: 

  • Folate: this comes under the vitamin B category and forms the core nutrient for maintaining homocysteine levels within a healthy range. 
Methionine
  • Vitamin B12: To achieve this vitamin, one needs to consume animal foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk. Vitamin b12 is usually low in people who are vegetarians or vegans.
  • Riboflavin: riboflavin can be found in organ meats such as liver and kidneys, eggs, cereals, grains, and green vegetables. 
  1. Folate-independent remethylating 

This converts homocysteine back to dimethylglycine or methionine and helps in keeping it at a safe level. The nutrients that should be present in the body to make this method work are: 

  • Trimethyl glycine or choline: this nutrient is also known as betaine and can be found in many plant-based foods. It can also be developed from choline. 
  • Serine and glycine 
  1. Trans-sulphuration 

Trans-sulphuration is such a process that lowers the homocysteine levels by converting them into amino acids cysteine. The nutrients required in this process are: 

  • Vitamin B6: even a low dose of supplement vitamin B6 can help in significantly reducing the homocysteine level. This is suitable for those people whose bodies are deficient in folate and riboflavin. 
  • Serine and glycine: these two nutrients effectively reduce the level of homocysteine after meals. 

The effects of glycine? 

Consuming meals high in proteins can lower the homocysteine level as well. Though, not many studies have been done about the relationship between a high level of glycine and levels of homocysteine. 

Besides this, glycine can be helpful to our bodies in other ways too. It is evident that it lowers the oxidative stress in older aged people and it also improves the quality of sleep. 

The bottom line 

Until now, this is no beneficial explanation for the comparison between methionine and that of glycine. The level of homocysteine varies from person to person and so is the body’s reaction to it. 

Glycine can lower the risk related to a high level of homocysteine but this fact also remains unclear. So, the best way to keep homocysteine level under regulation is to consume the various nutrients mentioned above. At least, this will ensure the right level of glycine and methionine in our bodies that can deal with various homocysteine levels. 

You are free to consume meat and other foods rich in glycine and methionine. But make sure you keep it under moderation. Excess of glycine and methionine can cause spiking levels of homocysteine in the body. 

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