The Science Behind Betaine
What it is: A derivative of the amino acid glycine, naturally made by our bodies, with vitamin-like effects and properties. Betaine is commonly known as trimethylglycine or MG.
What it does: A derivative of the amino acid glycine, naturally made by our bodies, with vitamin-like effects and properties. Betaine is commonly known as trimethylglycine or TMG.
What is Betaine?
Betaine, also called Trimethylglycine (TMG), is a substance created in the body. It's a derivative of the amino acid glycine and has vitamin-like effects and properties. Betaine is involved in liver function and cellular reproduction. It also supports the production of carnitine and helps your body metabolise the amino acid homocysteine.
Where can it be found in nature?
You can find betaine in a variety of food sources, including sugar beets, wheat bran, rye, bulgur, spinach, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, turkey breast, beef, veal, and some seafood. Its name is derived from the word beets, as this is where it was initially discovered.
What are its primary functions and benefits?
Betaine has two primary functions in the human body. First, betaine acts as a "methyl donor," distributing methyl groups around your body. A methyl group is a special kind of hydrogen and carbon molecule that induces a process called methylation. Methylation is a critical component of various physiological processes, including protein function, RNA processing, and the regulation of genes.
Second, betaine is an osmolyte. As an osmolyte, betaine regulates osmosis by creating a fluid level balance inside and outside your body's cells. Imbalanced fluid levels can result in cellular rupture or cellular shrinkage. A major imbalance can cause the cell to die, so betaine's positive effects on the body's fluid levels is crucial in helping keep cells healthy and living.
On the whole, betaine has a number of health benefits. Evidence shows that betaine is a critical nutrient for protecting and enhancing the function of internal organs and improving vascular health. It may also support digestive function, heart health, liver function and detoxification, fat loss, and muscle mass improvement.
Why do we use betaine in our supplements?
We included betaine in our Booster to support the body's natural NAD+ production and to complement the NMN supplement. NAD+ is consumed and broken down into nicotinamide (NAM) and converted into methyl nicotinamide (MeNAM) in the energy production cycle. Supplementation of NMN (or other NAD+ precursors) produces a high amount of methyl nicotinamide. Betaine is an excellent methyl donor and is ideal for supplementation while taking NAD+ precursors to enhance the body's internal methylation pool.
- Zhao G, He F, Wu C, et al. Betaine in Inflammation: Mechanistic Aspects and Applications. Front Immunol. 2018;9:1070. Published 2018 May 24. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2018.01070
- Sun W, Zhai M, Li D, et al. Comparison of the effects of nicotinic acid and nicotinamide degradation on plasma betaine and choline levels. Clin Nutr 2017;36:1136-1142.