Amino acids are the essential components for all metabolic activities and life processes of human beings. Glycine is one of the simplest kind of amino acid occurring in nature.
It is one among the list of 20 amino acids, which are important to human life. Glycine has a chemical formula C2H5NO2. It is the smallest of all the amino acids and consists of a side chain along with a hydrogen molecule as shown in the figure below.
Glycine was isolated in the year 1820 from a substance called as gelatin. Later it was discovered by a French chemist and pharmacist named Henri Braconnot. He obtained Glycine by boiling the gelatinous material with sulphuric acid.
Glycine exhibits various characteristic features as given below-
- It is highly soluble in water and is said to be a polar molecule.
- It appears as a colourless crystalline solid having a sweet taste.
- It is said to be hydrophilic in nature due to the minimal side chain having one hydrogen atom.
- This acts like a buffer solution at a pH 6.00 due to its acidic nature
- It helps in the building up of proteins in the body and when mixed with carbohydrate, it improves lean growth and provides good recovery.
Glycine is one among the lists of non-essential amino acids present in mammals. They can also be synthesized from amino acids, such as threonine and serine and also from other sources. They do not require any kind of dietary sources.
Glycine is a part of daily foods, such as protein-rich foods that include fish, meat, dairy products, legumes etc. Some of its uses are-
- It is used in the treatment of stroke, schizophrenia, benign prostatic hyperplasia along with some other rarely inherited metabolic disorders.
- This crystalline solid is also used as a sweetener or a taste enhancer. Some food supplements and various protein containing drinks have glycine.
- Certain formulations of the drug include glycine, which helps in improving gastric absorption.
- This acts as a buffering agent in analgesics, antacids, antiperspirants, cosmetics, toiletries, etc.
- It acts like an intermediate in the process of manufacturing of different chemical products and also used in manufacturing herbicide glyphosate.
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