If you’re looking for the best betaine supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Betaine Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Betaine Supplements
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|#1||Transparent Labs RawSeries Betaine||More Info|
|#2||Now Foods Betaine HCl||More Info|
|#3||BulkSupplements Pure Betaine Anhydrous||More Info|
|#4||Doctor’s Best Betaine HCI||More Info|
|#5||Nutricost Betaine Anhydrous Trimethylglycine||More Info|
|#6||Source Naturals – Betaine HCl||More Info|
|#7||Thorne Research – Betaine HCL||More Info|
|#8||Country Life Betaine Hydrochloride||More Info|
|#9||Biotics Research Betaine||More Info|
|#10||Pure Encapsulations – Betaine HCL/Pepsin||More Info|
Betaine supplements are popular among fitness enthusiasts, and betaine is created when the body breaks down choline. One of the best sources for betaine is beets, and it was named after the fact that it was originally isolated using sugar beets.
What is Betaine?
Betaine is an essential amino acid and a “methyl donor”, meaning it helps with liver function, cell function, and detoxification. It also plays an important role in helping the body process fats.
Interchangeably known as Trimethylgycine, betaine is simply the amino acid glycine attached with three methyl groups. Most noteworthy, betaine is used to switch homocysteine into methionine in the blood.
Although a naturally produced amino acid, homocysteine can be harmful, or at least warn of harm, in high levels. In fact, high levels of this amino acid can often lead to atherosclerosis/clogged arteries. Thus, betaine is considered cardioprotective when present in the right doses.
Additionally, betaine is similar to creatine in that it helps enhance cell hydration and cell protection due to its being an osmolyte, which is a molecule that moves in and out of a cell to improve its function. Thus, increased levels of betaine are important for cell health.
What Are Betaine Supplements?
Supplements that contain this essential ingredient are great for building muscle because they help to improve protein synthesis. Betaine is an important amino acid, and it’s great for improving body composition.
The betaine found in most supplements comes from choline, and the choline serves as a precursor chemical, which means it needs to be present in the body before betaine can be synthesized properly.
Reason to Supplement
Because homocysteine is known to be higher in those with cardiovascular issues and act as a biomarker for cardiovascular problems, many have started supplementing with Betaine for its cardioprotective properties. According to researchers, betaine appears to be effective at reducing levels of homocysteine, even in small doses. In fact, it appears that homocysteine levels can be reduced from a single dose of betaine and will remain reduced for as long as patients supplement with betaine. In individuals with normal levels of homocysteine, betaine was found to reduce levels by 10%. More notably, betaine was found to reduce levels of homocysteine in those with elevated levels of homocysteine by 20-40%.
High levels of homocysteine are most often seen in patients over 50, alcoholics, and those with genetic conditions leading to high levels of homocysteine. Patients in these categories would best benefit from supplementation of betaine, as high levels of homocysteine can lead to developmental delay, osteoporosis, blood clots, vision impairment, as well as clogged arteries.
Additionally, betaine is often used as a supplement for secondary reasons. For example, some studies have linked betaine supplementation with aiding of fatty liver, when taken in higher doses. However, there have been varying results in different studies, and its direct effect on fatty liver has not been verified. Aside from aid in liver function, others often use betaine in hopes to help with low levels of potassium, rheumatoid arthritis, digestion, asthma, anemia, yeast infections, and inner ear infections.
Yet, the reason this supplement has gained much in popularity of late is its studied effects on exercise performance and weight loss. For example, some studies seem to suggest betaine may help relieve muscle aches and pain, as one study found that horses given betaine had reduced levels of lactate acid after exercise, a molecule associated with muscle fatigue. Other studies’ results, however, warn that betaine only will help with weight loss when combined with a low-calorie diet. Studies have not yet determined if betaine positively affects weight loss when participants maintain their normal diet. So, while betaine has the possibility of helping with recovery from exercise and weight loss, it has been shown, at least in one study, to help with performance. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition describes a 2013 study in which athletes were given betaine for six weeks. After six weeks, those who had taken betaine showed notable increase in muscle gain and the ability to perform certain exercises, more so than the control group. Researchers then concluded that betaine can play a role in aiding in exercise performance and stamina. However, writers at Examine.com warn the public to be wary of such studies, as all those showing positive correlation have been associated with a company that produces betaine supplements.
Reason Not to Supplement
Betaine is a derivative of choline, meaning choline must be present before betaine can be. Thus, even if we consider betaine to be helpful with athletic performance, a supplementation of choline does the same thing. However, choline is neuroprotective as well as cardioprotective, and is cheaper. Furthermore, when looking at how betaine helps hydrate and protect cells as a osmolyte, choline and creatine both do this and can both be easily supplemented.
Other Sources of Betaine?
Fortunately, for most in the western world, betaine deficiencies are not common. This is because betaine can be found in grains, a plentiful part of most diets in developed nations. Additionally, betaine is also found in alcoholic beverages, like beer and wine, another major part of the western diet.
Of course, there are healthier ways of getting betaine in the diet, including spinach, beets, ancient whole grains, sweet potato, beef, veal, and turkey breast. Thus, if supplementing is not for you and you would like to increase your betaine levels, a diet rich in these foods would greatly help.
Since these products are dietary supplements, they can cause several unwanted side effects. Some rarer side effects are vision changes, memory problems, muscle weakness, unpleasant body odor and decreased consciousness. Common side effects are upset stomach and nausea.
Always speak with a medical professional or doctor before taking any supplements. Always read the product label for instructions and directions.
Of course, those who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding should not supplement with betaine, nor is it recommended for infants and children, unless specifically prescribed by a doctor for low levels of homocysteine or genetic disorders involving liver malfunctions.
In addition, as those at WedMD explain, those with peptic ulcer disease should refrain from supplementing with betaine as the hydrochloric acid produced from betaine could inflame ulcers and/or hinder them from healing.
Additionally, it is not known how betaine supplementation would interact with other medications. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor if you are taking any other medications before beginning a betaine supplement.
Currently not enough is known to specifically determine the appropriate dosage; however, some sources recommend 1,000-2,000 milligrams to be taken three times a day for those with alcohol-induced fatty liver. Such doctors usually recommended lower doses for those with healthy livers and hearts who want to take betaine for digestive reasons. Supplements tend to vary in dosage from 650-2500 milligrams, with those taking it for exercise performance usually taking between 1500-2000 milligrams daily.
What to Look for In a Good Betaine Supplement
The reputation of the manufacturer is also important, and many of the best supplements are made by well-known brands. The market is filled with shady companies, and for the best results, consider a manufacturer that has a large presence in the supplement industry.