Betaine (AKA: glycine betaine) is a substance that was originally found in sugar beets. It is quite useful in preventing diseases of the heart and liver, and it is also helpful as a digestive aid. Betaine is also very helpful in supporting a healthy metabolism and assists people in gaining muscle weight rather than gaining fat. Betaine aids intestinal function and supports the production of new cells. When choline, folic acid and the vitamins B6 & B12 are present, the benefits of Betaine are enhanced.
Betaine is the body’s source of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid). This acid has a low pH and can kill off a number of microorganisms and bacteria that may be ingested. It occurs naturally in the stomach where it breaks down proteins and fats and aids with digestion. It is essential for proper absorption of calcium, iron, and vitamin B12.
You will often find betaine in products that contain creatine and it’s precursor, glycocamine. The inclusion of betaine in this mix supports the production of creatine and inhibits the production of homocysteine. This is what helps you with both muscle strength and growth.
Carnitine is a nutrient that is created in the kidneys and the liver and stored in semen, and within the brain, heart, and skeletal muscles. It helps the body to metabolize fat properly and protects the internal organs from damage. Without enough betaine anhydrous in the system, carnitine will be in low supply – a circumstance which will cause myriad problems.
Betaine also helps metabolism by working with taurine, a semi-essential amino acid. When taurine and betaine work together, blood pressure is lowered and metabolism runs more smoothly. Betaine and taurine form an unbeatable antioxidant combination to support a strong immune system.
Be sure not to get betaine HCL and betaine anhydrous confused. Betaine HCL is a form of hydrochloric acid. People whose stomachs do not produce enough gastric acid can benefit from the use of betaine hydrochloride. It can take the place of natural stomach acids that work to break down fats and protein and help with the absorption of nutrients into the blood stream. If you specifically experience digestion problems due to low levels of natural betaine and stomach acid, you will want to take pure betaine, which is quite acidic. It can be used in limited amounts, on a short term basis to help with low stomach acid; however, it can be dangerous to use too much for too long. In fact, overusing betaine HCL can cause skin problems, gastritis and sensitivity to the sun.
Betaine citrate anhydrous is the dehydrated, powder form of betaine citrate. Betaine citrate is one of the citrate salts. It is a synthetic form of betaine. Trimethylglycine (tmg),is another name for betaine anhydrous; however, recently glycine betaine is the term you will hear most often. Glycine betaine is a byproduct of the sugar industry. There is a slight difference in trimethylglycine and betaine anhydrous. It lies in the chemical structure.
Betaine anhydrous is beneficial for general health support. It is used in a lot of health and medical applications. It is an antioxidant, preservative, and nutrition redispersing agent that has been shown effective in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. It has a very positive effect on the metabolism of fat, and it is known for helping the liver to regenerate. Betaine anhydrous has a mild taste. In fact, it is actually sweet tasting. Although more research on the safety of betaine citrate is needed, it seems to be easily metabolized by the body and so far has been shown to have few, if any side effects.
Both forms of betaine are taken orally, with food, two times daily, usually at the recommendation of a doctor. Be sure to measure carefully: 350 – 650 mg or 3 – 6 grams daily is the usual dose. You can mix betaine with food or drink. Remember that betaine hcl is very acidic tasting, so you may have to experiment with what sort of food or drink will work best for its consumption. Use 4-6 ounces of liquid or mix the powder with soft food and consume the drink or food right away.
Another purpose of betaine is the prevention of dehydration at a cellular level. Betaine helps strengthen cell walls. This is especially true of the cells in the kidneys and the epithelial cells. Betaine helps protect your cells from stress. This is very important for people whose lifestyles are stressful and those who engage in extreme workouts. Building muscle can be very stressful to the body.