• Betaine has been reported to play a role in reducing blood levels of homocysteine, a toxic breakdown product of amino-acid metabolism that is believed to promote atherosclerosis and osteoporosis. While the main nutrients involved in controlling homocysteine levels are folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, betaine has been reported to be helpful in some people whose elevated homocysteine levels did not improve with these other nutrients. Betaine has also been shown to be helpful in certain rare genetic disorders involving cysteine metabolism. Selhub J. Homocysteine metabolism. Annu Rev Nutr 1999;19:217-46 [review].Wendel U, Bremer HJ. Betaine in the treatment of homocystinuria due to 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency. Eur J Pediatr 1984;142:147-50. Wilcken DE, Wilcken B, Dudman NP, Tyrrell PA. Homocystinuria-the effects of betaine in the treatment of patients not responsive to pyridoxine. N Engl J Med 1983;309:448-53. Gahl WA, Bernardini I, Chen S, et al. The effect of oral betaine on vertebral body bone density in pyridoxine-non-responsive homocystinuria. J Inherit Metab Dis 1988;11:291-8. Barak AJ, Beckenhauer HC, Tuma DJ. Betaine, ethanol, and the liver: a review. Alcohol 1996;13:395-8 [review].
• The first stage of liver damage that results from drinking alcohol is the accumulation of fat in the liver (alcohol-induced fatty liver disease). Betaine, because of its lipotropic effects, has been shown to produce significant improvements in this condition in several human clinical studies. Barak AJ, Beckenhauer HC, Tuma DJ. Betaine, ethanol, and the liver: a review. Alcohol 1996;13:395-8 [review].Barak AJ, Beckenhauer HC, Badakhsh S, Tuma DJ. The effect of betaine in reversing alcoholic steatosis. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1997;21:1100-2.
• There is no doubt that TMG greatly reduces homocysteine levels and improves health among people with the rare disease cystathionine beta-synthase deficiency (as well as related conditions).Wilcken DEL, Dudman NPB, Tyrrell PA. Homocystinuria due to cystathionine beta-synthase deficiency—the effects of betaine treatment in pyridoxine-responsive patients. Metabolism. 1985;34:1115–1121.
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