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5 Benefits and Side Effects of Betaine (3 Contraindications To Be Noted)

Betaine was first found in beetroot. This molecule is found in plants and animals and is a metabolite of choline and is believed to have: liver-protecting, metabolic, and cardioprotective effects.

What are the benefits of betaine in empirical medicine? Are there any side effects of betaine? See text analysis for details

What is betaine?

Betaine is a short-chain neutral amino acid derivative that is biologically active and has important physiological functions in the human body and was first identified in the 19th century by beet.

The most common form of this is the subject of research here, trimethylglycine (TMG), also known as betaine anhydrous or betaine betaine.

Betaine can be synthesized endogenously by choline metabolism or ingested through dietary intake. Although the concentration of betaine in foods varies depending on cooking and preparation methods, grains and vegetables such as wheat bran, wheat germ, spinach, and beets are the best sources of dietary betaine.

*Another health supplement, betaine hydrochloride (Betaine hydrochloride/Betaine HCl), is a betaine hydrochloride form, which is a supplement that increases stomach acid and has very different chemical properties and clinical indications.

Betaine has the following two major roles in human physiology:

1. Betaine as a methyl group donor (Methyl Group Donor)

Betaine is a methyl donor involved in methylation. Methylation, such as the methylation of DNA and proteins, is an important biochemical process in animals. Homocysteine catabolism, glutathione, taurinecreatinecarnitineSAMe (s-adenosylmethionine) and the production of various important metabolites are all involved.

2. Betaine as an osmoprotectant

Osmoprotectants are highly soluble organic compounds that accumulate in large quantities in cells without disrupting cell function, these compounds can maintain intracellular fluid and osmotic balance under hypertonic pressure, protecting cells from shrinkage and death.

What are the scientifically proven benefits of betaine?

1. Reduce homocysteine

Homocysteine, a sulfhydryl-containing amino acid, is an intermediate product of methionine and cysteine biosynthesis, produced by dietary methionine demethylation and is most abundant in animal proteins.

Hyperhomocysteinemia can cause endothelial cell damage, reduced vascular flexibility, and alter hemostasis, and therefore there is a significant correlation with cardiovascular disease and its complications such as heart attacks and strokes.

Increasing age, male sex, smoking, coffee drinking, high blood pressure, poor blood lipids, high creatinine, and an irrational diet are some of the factors that contribute to elevated homocysteine levels.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis pointed out that betaine supplementation can reduce homocysteine values and increase betaine, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, Dimethylglycine and methionine levels. Note 1

In addition, subgroup analysis showed that a daily dose of less than 4 g had the effect of reducing homocysteine, but did not have any adverse effects on blood lipids caused by more than 4 g.

*Conclusion: Low-dose betaine supplementation (daily dose<4 g) can help reduce homocysteine concentration, and there are no adverse effects on blood lipids observed with high-dose (daily dose≥4 g) betaine

2. Reduces body fat

Obesity is a metabolic disorder characterized by the accumulation of excess body fat in the body and is closely related to related metabolic diseases and can also lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and joint problems.

Obesity is spreading rapidly around the world, taking a huge toll on society and the economy. In the United States, the prevalence of obesity or overweight among adults aged 20 to 74 years is about 66 percent, and obesity is estimated to account for 5 to 15 percent of all deaths each year.

A meta-analysis (6 randomized controlled trials with 195 participants) noted that betaine supplementation (daily doses of 2 to 9.9 grams, intervention duration ranging from 10 days to 24 weeks) significantly reduced total body fat mass and body fat percentage, but no body weight was observed weight) and body mass index changes. Note 2

*Conclusion: Betaine supplementation may reduce body fat, but limited by small sample sizes, more studies are needed

3. Improve athletic performance

In elite sport, competitors are at a similar level due to advances in technology. Motivate sports scientists, athletes, and coaches to seek new and alternative ways to improve performance and success.

One of them may be a functional enhancement aid, which helps to improve athletes’ performance indicators and improve athletes’ physiological and physical attributes, while food supplements provide the necessary help to improve athletic performance.

A systematic review (seven RCTs) noted that only two of the seven included studies showed a positive effect of betaine supplementation on outcome measures of muscle strength or strength. The remaining five studies showed no change in any strength or strength outcome. measures after betaine supplementation. Note 3

*Conclusion: There is a lack of evidence on whether betaine supplementation has a clear functional effect on muscle strength or strength, and due to the limited number of studies, further studies are needed to evaluate its effectiveness.

4. Reduce cancer risk

Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Germline mutations in single-gene, hyperosmotic cancer susceptibility genes are observed in 5% to 10% of cancers.

The identification of carriers of cancer susceptibility genes also enables cascading genetic testing for high-risk family members to refine risk, identify high-risk and average-risk family members, tailor care to improve outcomes, and make more efficient use of health care resources.

A meta-analysis (28 observational studies) found that betaine levels in the blood were inversely associated with cancer incidence, but no association was found for cancer survival. Note 4

When examining associations with specific cancer sites, the inverse association with betaine is more pronounced in colorectal tumors.

*Conclusion: High betaine levels are associated with lower rates of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, but human randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm whether additional supplementation is helpful

5. Good for xerostomia

Dry mouth is usually caused by decreased saliva flow or changes in the biochemical composition of saliva. People with dry mouth often complain of difficulty chewing, swallowing, and even speaking.

That’s because saliva not only keeps your mouth moist, but also helps digest food, protect your teeth from decay, prevent infection by controlling bacteria in your mouth, and make chewing and swallowing possible.

The causes of dry mouth are: medication side effects, aging, cancer treatment, side effects of certain diseases and infections (Sjogren’s syndrome, HIV infection, Alzheimer’s disease), diabetes, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, nerve damage, dehydration, salivary gland removal surgery, lifestyle.

A randomized, unblinded, parallel-group, controlled trial (4 weeks, 105 patients with dry mouth) noted that the use of intraoral protection and betaine-containing mouthrinse helped improve xerostomia. Note 5

*Conclusion: For xerostomia, betaine-containing mouthwashes may have a positive help, but limited by small sample sizes, more studies are needed for further validation

Are there any side effects of betaine?

For most adults in good health, betaine is safe in appropriate doses.

Rare side effects that have been reported are: anorexia, agitation, depression, irritability, personality disorders, sleep disorders, dental diseases, diarrhea, glossitis, nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, vomiting, urinary incontinence, hair loss, urticaria and abnormal skin odor.

Safety precautions (3 contraindications to use)

1. Do not use by pregnant and lactating women (due to unknown safety)

2. Some people with special constitution may experience body odor, namely trimethylaminuria or trimethylamineuria, which is related to abnormal metabolism of trimethylamine (betaine metabolite) caused by FMO3 gene mutation. Note 6

3. It may increase the level of total cholesterol, especially if the daily dose of ≥ 4 g is used for more than 6 weeks, so patients with abnormal cholesterol levels should use with caution. Note 7

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