Neurotransmitters are a collection of chemicals that neurons in our brains and the rest of our nervous system use to communicate with each other.
However, not all neurotransmitters have the same effect on our body or on the cells and organs that make it up. For example, the neurotransmitter known as glycine has specific effects on specific receptors, while other substances, such as dopamine or serotonin, affect other regions and produce other psychophysiological repercussions.
In this particular article we will see what is glycine and what are its peculiarities of this neurotransmitter and amino acid.
What is glycine
As much as the human brain is the set of organs from which derives the ability to think rationally, the truth is that its functioning is not at all rational. For example, neurons, which are perhaps the most important cell type in this part of the body, are powered by neurotransmitters. chemical particles that usually circulate throughout the body completely uncontrollable.
In all this neurotransmitter chaos, our bodies are able to minimize the effects of unpredictability and take advantage of the existence of cells that react when a certain amount of a type of neurotransmitter hits them, whether it was or not generated up close. away or if it has always circulated in the nervous system or if it has been outside of it.
Glycine, for example, is a neurotransmitter thanks to which neurons can communicate with each otherBut it is also an amino acid from which proteins are created. Without changing shape and properties, this element can be used both to help create and regenerate tissues or cellular components and to act as a chemical communication bridge between nerve cells.
as amino acid
In its facet as an amino acid, glycine is the smallest amino acid of which can be found throughout the human body.
Its structure is very simple, and in fact can be synthesized by the organism itself, which is not the case with essential amino acids. It is not necessary to ingest doses of glycine by incorporating foods that contain it in our diet.
as a neurotransmitter
Glycine is released into the bloodstream and begins to flow through this medium until it crosses the blood-brain barrier and it accesses inside the central nervous system. It is in this space that his work as a neurotransmitter takes place.
Once against the backdrop of the nervous system, glycine circulates until it is inserted into certain receptors. This combination causes glycine to act as a “key” that triggers certain biological processes. But … what exactly is the mechanism of action of this substance?
Mechanism of action
Glycine has a specific class of receptors that responds only to the presence of this substance. This is the GLyR type receptor. Once this adjustment is made, several valves of the neuron in which the receptor is located begin to function so that chloride ions get inside this nerve cell.
This generates a chain response which, depending on the circumstances the neuron is in, either causes or does not occur a depolarization step, which causes an electrical impulse to pass through the cell until its effects reach others. synaptic cracks (the spaces in which neurons communicate with each other).
The functions of glycine
As for the different processes that glycine performs on neurons, the main ones are as follows.
1. Regulation of engine behavior
Glycine, along with other neurotransmitters, is involved in regulation of movements promoting the maintenance of muscle tone and that muscle groups can be coordinated to perform consistent actions.
2. Regenerates tissue
Glycine is for practically the whole body contributing to the development and regeneration of cell tissues thanks to its action as amino acid.
3. It has inhibitory effects on the brain
Like other neurotransmitters like GABA, glycine works in certain areas of the brain by helping us enter a state of relative calm, that is, the absence of stress. Thanks to this effect, glycine makes it relatively difficult to enter a state of nervous hyperactivation.
However, that does not mean that wisteria puts us to sleep.
4. Contributes to the fluidity of cognition
It is believed that the secretion of glycine it helps cognitive functions to develop more efficiently. For example, remembering or making decisions becomes more spontaneous and easier to achieve, perhaps in part because the absence of undue stress makes it easier to plan when orienting these functions.