Betaine anhydrous (sometimes also referred to as trimethylglycine or “TMG”) is a compound derived from the amino acid choline and is naturally occurring in plant species (especially sugar beets).
In recent years, betaine anhydrous has garnered a healthy amount of praise in sports supplementation, specifically as a pre-workout augmenter and potent performance enhancer.
In humans, betaine anhydrous serves a variety of roles as a methyl-group donor and cofactor; of particular importance is the methylation of the amino acid homocysteine, an amino acid which has been linked to vascular and inflammatory issues when not properly regulated in the body.
Therefore, betaine anhydrous is a crucial component to the formulation of many biologically important molecules and regulator of homocysteine levels. [1,2]
Furthermore, betaine anhydrous is an osmotic compound and promotes cellular hydration, much like creatine does. This helps maintain cellular integrity and water balance.
Betaine anhydrous appears to have a multitude of benefits for athletes and gym-goers alike.
It has been gaining a reputation as a pre-workout performance enhancer (for power and energy boosts) and also as a possible adjunct for fat-loss regimens. The primary reasons to supplement with betaine anhydrous include: [3-6]
Betaine anhydrous also appears to have benefits for anxiety and depression since it increases S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) in the process of regenerating methionine.
SAMe is has been linked to decreasing depression and anxiety in a variety of studies.
This could indeed be beneficial for athletes and trainees looking to improve their state-of-mind.
Betaine anhydrous, like many other compounds, needs to be used properly to reduce possible side effects.
Fortunately, betaine anhydrous is generally well-tolerated and has limited side effects with nominal doses. The most common side effects associated with betaine anhydrous use may include:
Unfortunately, it’s not very practical to obtain the doses of betaine anhydrous suggested through diet; you would have to eat an excessively large amount of specific foods to come close.
Generally, betaine HCl is used as a digestive aid since it stimulates the production of stomach acid. A large enough dose of betaine HCl will cause heartburn, so the anhydrous form is a better option for performance enhancement.
This is likely due to the rare occurrence of stomach distress that may occur after ingesting betaine anhydrous; it is actually absorbed fine with or without a meal.
Betaine anhydrous should start to gain effectiveness after the first week or two of use.
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