The brain’s reward system plays a significant role in the development and maintenance of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). The increased release and/or the reuptake inhibition of neurotransmitters like dopamine or serotonin, which help to keep us happy, are associated with the reward system, the excessive intake of alcohol, cravings and relapse. Studies (2006) have shown that the amino acid - glycine, which acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain, and glycine reuptake inhibitors act to reduce alcohol intake in AUD. There are a few mechanisms by which glycine is believed to achieve this reduction.
Glycine reuptake inhibitors increase dopamine release and in doing so reduce alcohol intake. Glycine may substitute for alcohol and/or glycine, by desensitizing glycine reuptake inhibitors, which prevents further alcohol-induced dopamine activation. Glycine may also act to interfere with N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors which results in a reduction in alcohol intake.
Glycine has also been shown to control neuron excitability, and glycine reuptake inhibitors have been used to treat some mental health disorders. One cup of gelatin contains more than 1300 mg of glycine along with good quantities of several other amino acids, restorative in recovery from AUD.