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Laboratory, Endocrine, & Neurotransmitter Symposium
February 7-9, 2020
Las Vegas, NV
Speakers include Pam Smith MD and Brandon Lundell DC. Early bird registration available until January 7 - register today!
Gain additional clinical insight and treatment considerations to evaluate some of the most prevalent and challenging conditions that patients present with, including depression, anxiety, altered mental focus and stamina, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, addictions and dependencies, weight management, and chronic disease. Register today!
Dr. Kara Fitzgerald's Functional Medicine Clinic Immersion for Practitioners
Third Generation Microbiome Laboratory Analysis: Clinical Implications
Joel Mortensen PhD
January 15, 2020
Dr. Kara Fitzgerald hosts Joel Mortensen PhD in a discussion about the latest, state-of-the-art GI panel: the GI360™ by Doctor's Data. Dr. Mortensen will highlight the key points of the new profile, including the relevance of PCR technology to assess GI microbiome bacterial abundance and diversity, as well as the ability to compare normobiotic vs. dysbiotic GI profiles. Patient case studies will be addressed. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with Dr. Fitzgerald and Dr. Mortensen in a Q&A session.
Neuroendocrine Testing and Patient Support: Frequently Asked Questions
By: Heather Hydzik ND
December 4th, 2019
Join Labrix clinical staff and special guests on the first Wednesday of every month at 9:30 AM and 12:00 PM PST. This free, live webinar series will cover a variety of neuroendocrine topics that will enhance your knowledge, with clinically applicable testing and treatment considerations. 1 CE credit available from the OBNM.
In this month's webinar, you will obtain the answers to frequently asked questions about salivary hormone testing and urinary neurotransmitter testing and treatment of imbalances. Attendees will also gain a better understanding of proper collection of saliva and urine samples to help their patients.
Las Vegas, NV:
December 13-15, 2019
We will be in fabulous Las Vegas this month for the A4M conference. Learn about the new GI360TM profile and how our testing can help your practice.
Glycine: Another Tool for the Hormone and Sleep Balancing Kit
By Krista Anderson Ross, ND | December 3, 2019
Glycine is an amino acid important for muscles, metabolism, brain health, bone density, gastrointestinal health and even sleep. It’s also a neurotransmitter, increases the antioxidant glutathione and has anti-inflammatory effects. Despite its important roles, glycine has received very little attention until recently. Glycine is a “non-essential” amino acid, which means that it can be made by the body, versus “essential” which must come from the diet. Mild deficiency is not harmful, but severe shortage may lead to failure of immune response, slow growth and abnormal nutrient metabolism.
As a neurotransmitter, glycine has both excitatory and inhibitory capacities: it serves as agonist for excitatory NMDA receptors in the brain; and increases the inhibitory neurotransmitter serotonin. Because serotonin is a precursor to melatonin, increased levels of both as a result of glycine supplementation can reduce insomnia and improve sleep quality. 1
Glycine supports sleep via multiple additional mechanisms besides its impact on serotonin. First, glycine increases blood flow to the extremities, thus reducing core body temperature, an important signal for initiating sleep. Then, glycine increases the amount of time spent in REM sleep. Finally, it inhibits the stimulatory orexin neurons, responsible for arousal and reward-seeking, which can contribute to night wakings. 2
Glycine has beneficial cognitive effects. Research has shown that a low (3mg) dose of glycine at bedtime reduces sleepiness and fatigue during the following day in individuals with insomniac tendencies or restricted sleep time. This same research revealed that glycine helped study participants score higher on daytime cognition tests. Supplemental glycine has also been shown to improve memory and attention in young adults, which has contributed to scientists’ interest in pursuing the use of glycine in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimers. 3,4,5
With estrogen-like osteoprotective effects, glycine supplementation can be beneficial to menopausal women. In an animal model, glycine increased 17 B-estradiol levels leading to significantly enhanced bone mineral density, trabecular number and connectivity density in ovariectomized mice. The authors of this research were so impressed by glycine’s protective effects that by the end of the research they recommended the use of glycine in menopause. 6
Furthermore, glycine supplies muscles, bones and connective tissues with collagen. As we age, collagen levels in the body naturally decrease. Supplemental doses of glycine have been shown to strengthen bones and joints and may help prevent arthritis. 7
Glycine is a key scavenging antioxidant that opposes the proinflammatory signaling of hydrogen peroxide, and is one of three amino acids used to produce glutathione in the human body (in addition to glutamate and cysteine). Glycine supplementation has been shown to increase endogenous glutathione levels in both human and animal studies. Glycine also provides protection from the adverse metabolic impacts of a high fructose diet in rats, exerting favorable effects on insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, serum free fatty acids, and intraabdominal fat stores. In a research study where patients with metabolic syndrome were administered 15g glycine daily, glycated hemoglobin fell significantly. As well, glycine supplementation was associated with significant reductions in systolic blood pressure and plasma markers of oxidative stress. Decreased levels of glycine have been linked to type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and other metabolism-related disorders. 8,9
Another fascinating effect of glycine is its cytoprotective effect on the liver and gastrointestinal tract. Glycine facilitates the conjugation of bile acids, playing a crucial role in the digestion of lipids and the absorption of lipid soluble vitamins. In alcohol-induced hyperlipidemia, glycine has been shown to reduce alcohol levels in the blood and optimize or reduce lipid levels by maintaining integrity of membranes. It has also been shown to reduce the harmful metabolic by-product of alcohol, acetaldehyde. Glycine protects the stomach and intestines from damage by maintaining enterocyte integrity and preventing apoptosis, as such has shown promise for both treatment and prophylaxis of gastric ulcer disease. 10
In humans approximately 45g of endogenous glycine is synthesized by the liver, and 3-5g comes from the daily diet. Which foods contain glycine? Think animal foods high in protein such as gelatins from animal sources (including bone broths), beef, pork, lamb, poultry, shellfish, and wild game, as well as tuna, seaweed, seeds, soy, nuts, eggs, and lentils. 11
Glycine has a very sweet taste and can be dissolved in water and taken before bed for those experiencing insomnia and/or night sweats. With its myriad beneficial uses ranging from antioxidant to bone health, expect to see more of glycine in the popular press in the near future.
Curious about your patient’s glycine levels? Want to evaluate the balance between inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters? Consider ordering a NeuroBasic Profile or a Comprehensive Neurotransmitter Profile by Labrix/Doctor's Data.
1. Bannai M, Kawai N, Nagao K, Nakano S, Matsuzawa D, Shimizu E. Oral administration of glycine increases extracellular serotonin but not dopamine in the prefrontal cortex of rats. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2011;65(2):142-9.
2. Okuro M, et al. The sleep-promoting and hypothermic effects of glycine are mediated by NMDA receptors in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015;40(6):1405-16.
3. Kawai N, Sakai N, Okuro M, et al. The sleep-promoting and hypothermic effects of glycine are mediated by NMDA receptors in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015;40(6):1405-16.
4. File SE, Fluck E, Fernandes C. Beneficial effects of glycine (bioglycin) on memory and attention in young and middle-aged adults. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1999;19(6):506-12.
5. Griffin JW, Bradshaw PC. Amino Acid Catabolism in Alzheimer's Disease Brain: Friend or Foe?. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:5472792.
6. Kim MH, Kim HM, Jeong HJ. Estrogen-like osteoprotective effects of glycine in in vitro and in vivo models of menopause. Amino Acids. 2016;48(3):791-800.
7. Li X, Bradford BU, Wheeler MD, et al. Dietary glycine prevents peptidoglycan polysaccharide-induced reactive arthritis in the rat: role for glycine-gated chloride channel. Infect Immun. 2001;69(9):5883-91.
8. Mccarty MF, O'keefe JH, Dinicolantonio JJ. Dietary Glycine Is Rate-Limiting for Glutathione Synthesis and May Have Broad Potential for Health Protection. Ochsner J. 2018;18(1):81-87.
9. Díaz-flores M, Cruz M, Duran-reyes G, et al. Oral supplementation with glycine reduces oxidative stress in patients with metabolic syndrome, improving their systolic blood pressure. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013;91(10):855-60.
10. Razak MA, Begum PS, Viswanath B, Rajagopal S. Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:1716701.
Introducing the new GI360™ Profile from Doctor's Data, offering extensive assessment of the gastrointestinal microbiome
GI360™ is a powerful tool to profile the microbiome and compare results to a published normobiotic reference population. Identify gut pathogens to aid in diagnosis and guide selection of treatment. Identify risk profiles for major diseases and chronic conditions
The GI360™ Profile includes:
- PCR Analysis for the Abundance and Diversity of Key Bacterial Populations of the GI Microbiome
- PCR Detection of Pathogenic Bacteria, Viruses and Parasites
- Comprehensive Parasitology by Microscopy
- MALDI-TOF ID of Cultured Bacteria and Yeast
- Broad Range of Stool Chemistry Markers
- Standardized Susceptibility Testing of Isolated Bacteria and Yeast