The betaine is a supplement that has been receiving much attention in recent times. Although medical specialists have known about it for quite some time, this type of supplement has gained a lot of space when it comes to supporting our workouts.
Betaine, also known as trimethylglycine, is an amino acid found in various foods such as beets, spinach and quinoa. It is responsible for performing two important functions in the body: act as a methyl donor and as osmolyte , an important physiological process to avoid fluid imbalances that can cause cell death.
Apparently can support in the construction of muscle mass, body composition and performance. However, as with all supplements, it is important to be clear in what way you can benefit.
Discover what science says about supplementing with betaine.
Definitive Guide to Betaine
1. Why are people supplementing with betaine?
There are three main reasons that people get supplemented with betaine:
- It improves the health of the heart.
- Improves digestion.
- Increase sports performance.
- It helps increase muscle mass.
2. What benefits of Betaine are supported by science?
2.1 Reduction of the risk of heart disease
The betaine reduces homocysteine levels amino acid circulating in the blood. This occurs by donating part of their methyl groups to homocysteine molecules, converting them into a harmless amino acid such as methionine.
This can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, because the excess of homocysteine in the blood causes fat plates to form in the arteries more easily.
2.2 Help function and detoxification of the liver
A little fat in the liver is normal, but if there is too much, it can harm your health in several ways. Among them, it can cause fatty liver disease.
In this sense, research shows that betaine supplements help the liver to break down fatty acids. This means that it prevents the accumulation of fatty acid deposits in the liver; it can even help people recover from damage to the liver.
2.3 It can benefit digestion
Your stomach should be acidic enough to digest food properly. In this sense, if the levels of hydrochloric acid (HCL) are too low, your body will not be able to completely digest the food you eat and absorb its nutrients. The result is that you will develop nutritional deficiencies and increase the risk of several diseases.
That is why the form of betaine that binds to hydrochloric acid is often used to raise acid levels in the stomach, and thereby alleviate some gastrointestinal problems.
2.4 Improves physical performance and body composition
Research shows that betaine can increase muscle strength, endurance, accelerate muscle growth and fat loss. However, in the study no benefits were observed in body composition.
Therefore, at this time it can be established that it is likely to improve performance and help build muscle and lose fat quickly. However, more scientific support for these benefits would be needed.
3.What is the recommended clinical intake of betaine to see results?
The effective dose will depend on the reason that leads you to take this supplement. In this sense, until now it is known that:
- To reduce homocysteine levels and promote good liver function, the effective dose is 500 mg per day.
- For people with liver disease, 1000 to 2000 mg three times a day.
- To improve digestion, you can take the betaine-HCL form in doses ranging from 650 – 2000 mg per day.
- To increase athletic performance, increase muscle and lose fat quickly, we recommend 1000 to 6000 mg of betaine per day.
4.What kind of results can you expect from taking betaine?
As with all supplements, ideally, do not set too high expectations when taking a betaine supplement.
Remember that the best thing for a healthy body is to dedicate you to achieve a good diet accompanied by an exercise program, and performed with constancy.
However, if you can expect the following results when taking betaine :
- Slight increase in performance during your resistance workouts.
- Possible slight increase in muscle mass and some fat loss.
- Lower levels of homocysteine, and therefore, lower risk of heart disease.
- Better liver function and better digestion.
5.What side effects does betaine have?
In healthy people, side effects are rare. However, some people may experience diarrhea or nausea, but this is not common.
When the dosage is high per day, breathing and sweating may have a fishy odor. If that happens to you, it is recommended to supplement with around 200 mg of riboflavin (B2) per day. The smell should thus disappear.
It is important to note that if you are taking medications for liver or heart disease, it is a good idea to consult a doctor before starting the administration of betaine supplements.
6.What are the best betaine supplements?
If a pre-workout drink contains less than 1 g of betaine per serving, do not buy it. If you look at the research, it is recommended between 2 to 3 g of betaine to increase physical performance reliably. That also means that you should stay away from supplements that contain other components, because there is no way to know the dosage of each ingredient in the mix.
7.Can you combine betaine with other supplements?
If you decide to supplement with betaine to gain more muscle and lose fat, it is recommended that you combine it with other scientifically proven performance enhancers such as creatine , citrulline , and beta-alanine .
Although you do not notice a big difference in your workouts when taken separately, the cumulative effects of these supplements can be substantial.
The cardiovascular and digestive benefits of betaine are well documented by science, but its effects on physical performance and muscle growth are less supported.