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Betaine anhydrous

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • 1-carboxy-N,N,N-trimethyl-Methanaminium, 2-(trimethylammonio)ethanoic acid, abromine, alpha-earleine, betaine, betaine glucuronate, BetaPureTM, BreathRX®, (carboxymethyl)trimethylammonium hydroxide inner salt, cocamidopropyl betaine, Cystadane®, glycine, glycine betaine, glycocoll betaine, glycylbetaine, hydroxide, inner salt, Ietepar®, lycine, methanaminium1-carboxy-N,N,N-trimethyl, Octenisept®, oxyneurine, Physiogel AI®, Protosan®, Tego® Betain, TMG, trimethylammonioacetate trimethylbetaine, trimethylglycine, trimethylglycocoll, Xeros Dentaid®.
  • Selected combination product: Ietepar® (betaine glucuronate, diethanolamine glucuronate, nicotinamide ascorbate), Octenisept® (0.1% octenidine, 2% 2-phenoxyethanol, cocamidopropyl betaine), Protosan® (betaine surfactant plus polyhexanide), BreathRX® (aqua, sorbitol, propylene glycol, PEG-40, hydrogenated castor oil, polaxamer 407, xylitol, aroma (mint, thymol, and eucalyptus oil), zinc gluconate, cocamidopropyl betaine, cetylpyridinium chloride, sodium saccharin, citric acid, and Cl 42090), Xeros Dentaid® (1.33% betaine, 3.30% xylitol, and 0.05% sodium fluoride), Physiogel AI® (0.3% N-palmitoylethanolamine, 0.21% N-acetylethanolamine, 0.36% betaine, and 0.24% sarcosine).
  • Note: This monograph covers betaine anhydrous, which should not be confused with betaine hydrochloride.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Betaine is found in most microorganisms, plants, and marine animals. Its main physiologic functions are as an organic osmolyte to protect cells under stress and as a source of methyl groups needed for many biochemical pathways (1). Betaine is also found naturally in many foods and is most highly concentrated in beets, spinach, grain, and shellfish (2).
  • Betaine supplementation has been used in the treatment of homocystinuria due to genetic deficiencies in the cystathionine beta-synthase, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, and cobalamin metabolism genes, with beneficial effects seen regarding reductions in homocysteine levels (3;4;5;5;6;7;8;9;9;10;11;12;13;14;15;16;17;18;19;20;21;22).
  • Multiple randomized control trials have shown that betaine supplementation reduced circulating levels of homocysteine, a potential risk factor for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease (23;24;25;26;27;28;29). The magnitude of reduction is stronger for post-methionine loading (PML) homocysteine than for fasting homocysteine. In addition, the effect of betaine supplementation tends to be stronger among subjects not taking B-vitamin supplementation. However, most studies have been limited by small sample size.
  • Betaine supplementation has been thought to improve hepatic steatosis, from both alcoholic and nonalcoholic etiologies. While many animal studies have provided plausible mechanisms, data from human studies are limited (30;31;32).
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.