Glycine – Effects on ketogenesis and potential of increased lipolysis in ketogenic dieters

Glycine is an amino acid that seems to have some interesting effects.

It seems to have a huge impact on glucagon secretion when taken in isolation from food. See study below. It had some interesting impacts on blood glucose and insulin levels as well but my primary focus was on glucagon secretion and the added fat burning and ketones it can generate.

I found a study on the effects of glucagon infusions from the 70s. It showed that in Type 1 Diabetic people high glucagon levels increased both lipogenesis and ketogenesis but in non diabetics it had the opposite effect. It stopped both processes and dropped ketones. I tested this on myself and found I had the same reaction to ketones as the Diabetics in respect to ketones increasing. Furthermore I had another person try this and they had the same result. Increased ketones. Mine went from 1.4 mmol/L to 2.9. The other person went from 1.6 mmol/L to 2.7. That is a significant rise in only 60 minutes. Better even then those touted by exogenous ketone companies.…/P…/pdf/jcinvest00157-0198.pdf

I went digging to figure out why it completely dropped the ketones in the normal people in the study but raised them for me. What I found was that the people in the study were not ket or low carb so they would have glucose stored in the liver and muscles. So when they had the glucagon spike the first thing it would do is dump all of the glucose from these stores causing an insulin response. The diabetics don’t make insulin so they saw a rise in glucose but no decrease in fat burning and a rise in ketones. This was the beauty and danger simultaneously of the 70s. They could do something like this even though it was clearly dangerous. The Diabetics where dangerously close to ketoacidosis as their ketones and blood glucose was rising at the same time. It was dangerous but what insight it gives.

Where we differ from both of these situations is that we don’t have any stored glucose. Being keto we don’t consume enough carbs to have any. Because of this when we take the glycine, the resultant glucagon spike can’t dump glucose and can’t spike insulin. Thus we get a rise in ketones and increased fat burning. 🙂

I tested this by trying the glycine after I went to the gym. After an intense workout I have very high blood glucose due to gluconeogenesis. This glucose gets stored in the liver and muscles. This was demonstrated by the FASTER study by Phinney and Volek. They tested muscle glycogen after an intense workout and found it was as high in low carb athletes as it was in carb fuelled athletes. When I took the glycine after my workout, my ketones dropped dramatically. This is because I had stored glucose that the glucagon could dump to the blood thus causing an insulin spike. This mimicked the results the normal people in the study had to the glucagon infusion further confirming my theory that if you have no stored glucose you will have the ketone and lipolysis increases as the diabetic people from the study.

There are so many intricate facets to the physiology behind everything we do. It is pretty amazing. How we can better utilize various compounds to effect fat burning and ketogenesis needs to be further investigated but it is fascinating none the less.

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

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11 Replies to “Glycine – Effects on ketogenesis and potential of increased lipolysis in ketogenic dieters”

  1. Would this effect also happen with collagen and not just glycine by itself?

    Also, re having more ketones in the blood, would this correlate woth faster weight loss?

    1. I am not sure about collagen but I doubt it. Glycine is a precurser to collagen but it also has many other functions. HIgher ketones can correlate with faster weight loss but not necessarily. It is very theraputic though. If you take gycline fasted and with depleted glycogen like most ketogenic people are you should be increasing lipolysis which would correlate with faster weight loss.

  2. Would this help burn more fat during an extend 5 day water fast? If so how much per dose would be advised and when, in your experience?

    1. I don’t recommend fasting beyond the occasional 24 hour fast without professional supervision. You can easily develop metabolic acidosis while fasting which can be deadly.

      1. Could you take glycine after 8 hrs in a 16hr fast? And would this cause more fat loss?

        1. You can. It is unlikely to increase lipolysis at this point as you should be at max level at this point.

          1. I also read if you take it after you’ve been sleeping for 180 mins (3hrs) you get the best results from taking glycine because it would start fat burning sooner/faster within a 16 hr fast.

            Also is it better to take it sublingually?

            Thank you again for taking the time to answer 🙂

  3. I’ve been taking magnesium bisglycinate every morning for a few weeks (3g worth of glycine attached to 300mg of magnesium). I take it in the morning, before food. Now I am starting keto for the first time (health reasons). Do you think I should switch to a different mag? I don’t want to take any risks.

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