Betaine (trimethylglycine) functions very closely with choline, folic acid, vitamin B12, and a form of the amino acid methionine known as S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). All of these compounds function as “methyl donors.” They carry and donate methyl molecules to facilitate necessary chemical processes. The donation of methyl groups by betaine is very important to proper liver function, cellular replication, and detoxification reactions. Betaine also plays a role in the manufacture of carnitine and serves to protect the kidneys from damage.
Dietary sources of betaine include fish, beetroot, and pulses. Betaine is most widely available as betaine hydrochloride (betaine-HCl), but that form is used primarily as a source of hydrochloric acid for people with low stomach acid.
What it does
- Homocysteine Lowering: TMG donates methyl groups to homocysteine, converting it back to harmless methionine. High homocysteine levels are linked to various disorders including heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and osteoporosis.
- Cardiovascular Health: In addition to its homocysteine-lowering effect, TMG, after conversion into Dimethylglycine (DMG), has been shown to lower cholesterol and to reduce angina and heart arrhythmias.
- Anti-Depressant: TMG also donates methyl groups in the brain to make SAMe and aid in the re-synthesis of mood elevating brain compounds such as serotonin and dopamine from their degraded by-products.
- Anti-Convulsive: TMG, due to its conversion to DMG and glycine, may reduce susceptibility to seizures.
At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with TMG.
Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using TMG.