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Unveiling the Hidden Marvels within Your Collagen Supplement: The Glycine Edition

Hack Your Hormones

Unveiling the Hidden Marvels within Your Collagen Supplement: The Glycine Edition

In the complex make-up of our bodies, collagen plays a lead role. Often overlooked, this protein weaves its magic across our bones, skin, teeth, muscles, cartilage, organs, tendons, ligaments, intestines, and arteries, and whilst taking care of your innards is of course important, we also know how easy it is to become distracted by how we look on the outside.  The truth of the matter is, it’s swings and roundabouts!  Liking what you see in the mirror starts with a little bit of internal loving.  

If you’re looking to reverse the signs of ageing and live in a world where wrinkles retreat, joints rejoice and bones regain their strength but are sick to death of fighting your way through the bustling marketplace of anti-ageing elixirs that fail to keep their promise of eternal youth, collagen stands as a quiet legend. Amid potions and promises, this unassuming protein whispers its timeless wisdom. 

Take a Step Back into the Past...

Close your eyes and journey back—way back—to the dawn of existence because four billion years ago, an amino acid found in collagen sparked life on Earth.  Imagine Earth as a cosmic canvas, waiting for life’s first brushstroke. That stroke? Glycine—the unsung hero that shaped our very essence.

Billions of years ago, Earth’s stage was set. Blue-green algae—the pioneers of life—danced in primordial oceans. Their secret? Glycine. This tiny amino acid, like a cosmic conductor, orchestrated the grandest symphony—the birth of biomass. Here’s the cosmic twist: In 2009, NASA confirmed its celestial presence. Glycine isn’t bound by Earth’s gravity. It flits through space, riding comets and meteorites too. Their icy cores—radiated by UV light—held glycine. As they kissed Earth’s atmosphere, they gifted us with an amino acid stardust. Glycine, the cosmic messenger, whispered, “Life awaits.”  That’s not all glycine resides in: deep within Earth’s crust, hydrothermal vents simmered. Here, glycine brewed like a cosmic soup. These vents, like alchemical cauldrons, birthed life’s building blocks. Glycine, the first word in life’s story, echoed through these ancient chimneys. Magic, isn’t it?!

Shine, Glycine, Shine!

Without this amino acid magic, nothing would exist so we think it deserves a little bit of the limelight… before you start reaching for your plant based collagen, know that collagen that derives from animals contains 3-4 more times more glycine, so step away from the vegan alternative - it’s pointless, and here’s why…

Glycine orchestrates our existence.  Glycine isn’t just a collagen sidekick. It’s a biochemical wizard. It weaves proteins, fortifies cells, and dances with biochemical reactions. On its own, it fuels muscle health, insulin sensitivity, and optimal blood glucose control; however, it also supports, and perhaps most importantly, the synthesis of the body’s collagen.  Without Glycine, your collagen depletes at a rate of knots! However, here exists the Glycine paradox: Glycine, deemed “non-essential,” (pah!) defies labels. Our bodies synthesise about 3g of glycine a day, but we need between 10 to 15g of it for it to support the body’s natural collagen production. Until recently, we believed collagen turnover plodded along for years. But surprise! Collagen renewal is a daily affair. Glycine, the timekeeper, ensures our skin, bones, and tendons stay vibrant. Chronic glycine deprivation is why the years roll by far too quickly and our skin bares the brunt. 

Skin

Collagen constitutes a staggering 70% of the protein in our skin, providing the scaffolding for firmness, elasticity, and strength. Beneath the surface, it orchestrates a delicate ballet—repairing, renewing, and maintaining our skin’s integrity. As the years waltz by, collagen slips away. Our skin thins, joints creak, and vitality wanes. Glycine, the smallest amino acid, holds the key. Without it, collagen crumbles, wrinkles deepen, bones weaken, and ageing accelerates.

Bones, Joints and Muscles

Our bones and joints crave collagen. It’s the scaffolding that keeps them sturdy. As we age, bone density wavers and joint lubrication dries up. Glycine wields a double-edged sword. As a key player in collagen, it shapes our skin’s resilience and our bones’ fortitude. But there’s more: glycine moonlights as an inflammation whisperer. When it falters or is deficient, inflammatory storms brew. Osteoporosis, the silent thief of bone strength, often tracing back to glycine’s absence, which is something we are more in danger of post menopause. After menopause, our oestrogen levels are virtually non-existent and oestrogen is a key player in the synthesis of glycine. Taking Oestrogen Support, a supplement which can naturally boost your oestrogen levels could support your production of glycine and therefore collagen production. 

Beyond skin and bones lies a hidden war: muscle loss. After 30, we bid farewell to muscle mass at a rate of 1% per year. By 80, we’ve lost half our strength. But here’s the twist: muscle equals longevity. Greater muscle mass dances with reduced mortality risk. It’s the secret to a longer encore; therefore, supplementing with collagen or our clean protein powders, which is made with bone broth and also packs a glycine punch, could literally extend your life. Talking of longevity…a study was conducted whereby mice were given glycine.  The results? A whopping 30 to 40% increase in their mousey lifetimes. Not too shabby, right?

Oestrogen Boost Supplement

The Brain

Picture your brain as a bustling metropolis, its neurons firing like city lights. Amidst this cerebral hubbub, two unsung heroes emerge: collagen and glycine. Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, calming the stormy seas of neural activity. Imagine it as a lullaby for your synapses, supporting GABA and serotonin levels and therefore sleep, soothing insomnia, headaches, and even convulsions. In addition, Glycine fuels neurogenesis—the birth of new brain cells. When neurons need a pep talk, glycine steps in, whispering, "Grow, little ones, grow!". But wait, there’s more! High doses of glycine might just tame the wild beast of OCD. Behold the magic: reduced OCD behaviour, improved cognition, and a brighter future for those ensnared by the disorder.

The magic doesn’t stop there as it holds the key to soothing the tempest of schizophrenia and psychosis and reducing alcohol addiction. As drug-seeking behaviour wanes, the brain nods in approval. Ethanol, take a step back; creativity and calmness are stealing the spotlight. What’s more, Collagen and Glycine’s Neuro Symphony shouts “Fear not, beta amyloid proteins!” Those pesky proteins play a villainous role in Alzheimer’s disease, but collagen stands guard, deflecting their harmful effects. It’s like a mediaeval knight protecting the castle walls, ensuring the brain’s longevity.

The Gut and the Blood Brain Barrier

Each microbe that lives in the depths of your gut is unique.  These trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses form the gut microbiome—a hidden network that communicates with our brains. It’s like a secret signal highway connecting the gastrointestinal tract to the central nervous system (CNS). And guess what? This gut-brain axis isn’t just a backstage pass; it’s a VIP ticket to our mental well-being.

These gut microbes that make up your gut microbiome identify pathogens, viruses, and shape our immune responses. Up to 70% of our immune system resides in the gut, sending messages to every nook of our body. It’s like a microbial Morse code, whispering health cues to our brains.

Your brain is guarded by the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This cellular fortress separates the bloodstream from the brain, allowing only safe and invited guests. But when the BBB falters—due to intestinal permeability or leaky gut—it’s like a breach in the castle walls. Neuroinflammation, stress, and other unwelcome elements slip through, affecting brain function.

So… How can Collagen, Protein Powder and its Glycine Magic Help? 

Collagen Peptides, especially Glycine and Glutamine (2 of the amino acids found in our collagen peptides and protein powders) as well as Taurine, found in WillPowders’ Brain Powder, repair the tight junctions in the gut lining, sealing the leaks and boosting intestinal integrity.  By bolstering these tight junctions, collagen prevents harmful substances from infiltrating the bloodstream, ensuring your brain’s safety,  inhibiting oxidative stress and reducing inflammation.

Glycine wears multiple hats. First, it teams up with taurine to craft bile salts—the unsung heroes of fat digestion. Without glycine, your liver’s bile-synthesising factory would grind to a halt. Picture bile as the emulsifier, breaking down fats and keeping pathogenic bacteria at bay. No more clostridium or candida parties in your intestines, eradicated further by supplementing with MCT Oil! But that’s not all. Glycine also moonlights as an ammonia scavenger. Ammonia, that sneaky neurotoxin, arises from protein breakdown. Glycine steps in, escorting ammonia out of the building like a bouncer at a rowdy party.

Beware Benzoic Acid

Benzoic acid is a preservative lurking in fruit juices, soft drinks, and salad dressings that can nibble away at your glycine reserves, but fear not! Here’s where collagen swoops in. Add collagen to your coffee, sodas, and sauces, or supplement with our protein powders and watch your glycine levels rise. Collagen-rich bone stocks and gelatine are also your allies in this battle against benzoic acid.

Milk Chocolate Protein Powder

Methionine

Let’s not forget methionine: the villain in our ageing saga. Too much methionine can lead to a recipe for disaster, not only depleting your collagen stores but beware elevated blood lipids, fatty liver, and heart woes. Not to worry! Glycine steps in, like a culinary superhero, balancing the flavours. It even tames the wild beast called homocysteine, which tends to misbehave after protein-heavy meals. You don’t need to swear off methionine or live on kale alone. Instead, create a balanced buffet for your body. Mix it up! Add some glycine-rich proteins to your plate. Think beyond muscle meat—throw in a dash of collagen, a sprinkle of wisdom, as it were. Your gut and brain will thank you.  

The Heart

In the fiery flames of inflammation, glycine whispers to immune cells, “Calm down, my friends.” By reducing inflammation, glycine shields the heart from the tempests of stroke and cardiovascular woes. But that’s not all—it also teams up with glutathione, the body’s antioxidant superhero, to keep oxidative stress at bay.

Glutathione - An Antioxidant Hero

Glutathione is a crucial antioxidant in the body which plays a key role in cellular defence. Glycine is one of the the three amino acids that make up this antioxidant powerhouse, along with cysteine and glutamic acid.  A tiny, molecular superhero patrolling your cells; the unsung champion of your body’s defence system,  tackling oxidative stress, inflammation, and even heavy metals, protecting your heart from the scary stuff. That’s not all, glutathione soothes irritated skin, supports with fatty liver disease and aids sleep.  All more reason to keep you glycine levels topped up to support the synthesis of glutathione, which wanes as we age. 

Imagine the heart as a fortress, guarded by glycine. When oxidised oils threaten to breach the walls, glycine stands firm. It shields against the toxic effects of these oils, preventing bad cholesterol buildup and inflammation. The heart sighs in relief, knowing its defenders are vigilant.

When heart tissue faces injury, glycine dons its healing robes. It promotes collagen synthesis, stitching together wounded fibres. It orchestrates antioxidant defences, ensuring the heart’s resilience. And when wounds mend, glycine takes a bow, leaving behind a stronger, more harmonious heart.

Glycine counters excess fructose intake, preventing cardiovascular discord. Strong, healthy capillaries become the heart’s anthem. And the recipe? Optimal doses of hydrolyzed collagen, vitamin C, copper, and vitamin A. Glycine conducts this symphony, ensuring the heart’s rhythm remains steady and sweet

Supporting Your Collagen Synthesis Further…

Our ancestors, forced to eat nose to tail because nipping to the supermarket for a pack of cut meat wasn’t an option, maintained their collagen stores far better than we do today.  With diets rich in collagen as they chowed down on organ meat and bone broth, they thrived, remained a healthy weight, could weather a cold without taking to their bed all because their world gave them no choice but to sustain their collagen stores.  However, our modern diet often lacks the amino acids and peptides needed for robust collagen production. Our collagen supplement and clean chocolate protein powders can really support your longevity and its efficacy can be super charged when you also nourish your body with…

Vitamin C, Copper, Sodium, Exercise: Collagen’s Muses

Vitamin C helps to orchestrate collagen’s grand performance. Without it, collagen synthesis stumbles. Deficiency leads to an inadequate collagen dance, and scurvy tiptoes in. But here’s the twist: vitamin C and copper work together. Copper shuttles iron, alleviates anaemia, tissue defects, subcutaneous haemorrhaging and ensures collagen’s seamless production. So, remember: vitamin C after copper, 75 minutes apart, for optimal harmony. 

Sodium, often maligned, plays a dual role. It impacts vitamin C absorption and distribution. A low-sodium diet disrupts this delicate ballet, affecting bone health and collagen synthesis. Low sodium diets deplete not only sodium but also calcium and magnesium. These minerals, essential for bone density, work with collagen. When they falter, osteoporosis tiptoes in. So, sprinkle a pinch of salt—your bones and collagen stores will applaud you!

Exercise

In the story of bone health, physical activity takes centre stage. As you move, your bones awaken—activating cells that diligently construct bone tissue. 

After resistance training, collagen peptides go to work and your ingested amino acids peak in harmony.  As you exercise, blood flow surges. The increased blood flow becomes a magic carpet, ferrying collagen peptides to their destinations. 

Taking a collagen supplement an hour before exercise allows the amino acid magic to absorb and then be utilised by the body after a workout - repairing, replenishing and recovering lost collagen. 

Credits

Scientists, particularly Dr James Dinicolantonio and biohacker Siim Land, authors of The Collagen Cure (the book that has been instrumental in the writing of this blog) highlight that people who suffer from inflammation, digestive challenges or injury; pregnant women, growing children, ageing folk or those who participate in high levels of physical activity (so, pretty much EVERYONE), need to supplement with collagen that contains the amino acid, glycine to support their longevity, their inner wellness and their outer glow. So, if you do anything today, pop some collagen in your coffee, sprinkle into your food, make your kids a smoothie with some added collagen peptides because it will be an investment into yours and their future. 

Picture glycine as the fountain of youth—the elixir that defies time, and lucky for you, WillPowder’s Collagen Peptides and Protein Powders have it in abundance. 

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