Alternative Names: Anhydrous Betaine or simply Betaine.
An extract from sugar beets, TMG is a natural polysaccharide and a good source of methyl groups that promotes healthier levels of the powerful pro-oxidant and free radical generator homocysteine. Homocysteine is a toxic end product of the metabolism (methylation) of methionine (an essential amino acid) and is now known to be a leading cause of heart and artery disease.
is a byproduct of sugar beet processing and is a known methyl donor. Through methyl transfers, betaine is derived from choline
and subsequent reactions convert betaine to dimethylglycine. Betaine may influence neurological function indirectly via 5-adenosylmethionine synthesis. Animal studies have demonstrated that supplementary intake of betaine had a 2- to 5-fold increase in SAM concentrations. Hyland et al reported increased SAM concentrations to near normal in a patient suffering from 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (an enzyme involved in the regeneration of methionine
) deficiency where initial SAM concentration were undetectable.
Methylation reactions and how they relate to the prevention of many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, liver
disease and neurological disorders are a growing area of interest for researchers.
is in available in powdered form, and is found in many over-the-counter preparations in health food stores.NOTE:
An inexpensive variety is Betaine HCL
which acts as a stomach acidifier and is not practical due to stomach irritation at the doses required to enhance methylation metabolism.
Function; Why it is Recommended
In the liver
transfers one of its three methyl groups to homocysteine, which is then converted into the useful amino acid methionine
When methylation is working properly, homocysteine is quickly converted back to methionine which is then converted to SAMe
(S-adenosylmethionine), which protects the liver and is a natural antidepressant
.  SAMe then acts as a methyl donor for DNA: when attached to DNA, methyl groups appear protective, preventing mutated genes from expressing themselves.  It may improve health, reduce the risk of genetically induced cancers, and slow cellular aging. Factors that decrease methylation include smoking, alcohol consumption, high fat diets and birth control pills.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that medium to high levels of plasma homocysteine are associated with increased risk of heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and peripheral artery
disease. In one study, daily treatment with TMG
, folic acid
normalized homocysteine levels in 17 of 19 patients.  TMG lowers homocysteine levels with and without vitamins B12
and folic acid.
Along with cofactors
such as vitamins B6, B12 and Folic Acid, TMG is part of a chemical contingent in the body that works against cancer, heart and neurological diseases, and nearly every age-related disorder.
TMG is a versatile nutrient and provides an intermediary metabolite that can enable a person or animal to function at more optimum mental and physical levels. It aids the body in overcoming a number of adverse health conditions, and is an intricate part of human metabolism. DMG
(TMG's metabolite) has been used as a nutritional supplement for over 25 years. In a broad sense, TMG protects the body from many forms of physical, metabolic and environmental stress.
- Immune modulation: Improves antibody response, enhances B- and T-cell function, and regulates cytokines.
- Viral/bacterial infections: Enhances immune response.
- Cardiovascular: Reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels, helps eliminate hypoxia, improves coronary circulation, decreases angina pain.
- Athletic performance: Enhances endurance, improves oxygen utilization, reduces lactic acid buildup, improves muscle recovery.
- Autism/epilepsy: Improves verbal communication/social interaction/lethargy, may reduce seizures.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome: Greater mental alertness and energy, improves immune dysfunction.
- Melanoma: Anti-tumor activity, prevents metastasis.
- Lupus (SLE): Reduces antinuclear antibodies, modulates cytokine production.
- Contributes to DNA stability: As a methyl donor supplement, it helps protect cellular DNA from mutation.
- Liver detoxification
- Brain neurotransmitter production
- Lowering homocysteine levels naturally: Thereby lowers risk of heart and vascular disease.
TMG supplementation may sometimes produce hyperactivity in autistic children. Folic acid appears to help neutralize this effect at one or two 800mcg tablets. [Autism Res Rev Int 10( 3): 7, 1996
The usual TMG
dose is 500 to 1,000mg per day - roughly equivalent to what a diet high in broccoli, spinach or beets would provide.
References & Further Information(1)
Dudman, N.P., et al. "Disordered methionine/homocysteine metabolism in premature vascular disease. Its occurrence, cofactor therapy and enzymology," Arteriosclerosis and Thrombosis 13(9): 1253-60, 1993(2)
Dudman, N. "Disordered methionine/homocysteine metabolism in premature vascular disease," Arteriosclerosis and Thrombosis 13(9): 1253-60, 1993(3)
Kishi, T. "Effect of betaine on s-adenosylmethionine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid in a patient with methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency and peripheral neuropathy" J Inherited Metabolic Disease 17(5): 560-5, 1994(4)
Cooney, C. "Are somatic cells inherently deficient in methylation metabolism?" Growth, Development & Aging 57(4): 261-73, 1993