Betaine – The Unsung Hero of Supplements
There are many supplements that get instant recognition upon launch and there are many who keep doing great work for many fitness enthusiasts, get built up by solid research before they finally get the visibility & acknowledgment. Betaine is one of them.
Betaine is one of the ingredients in most pre-workout or post-workout supplements due to its proven benefits in improving athletic performance and changing body composition. Some products also use its technical name trimethylglycine in ingredient descriptions. Its most popular natural source is beetroot, however there are other sources like wheat germ, spinach, quinoa, etc which are upto four times more richer in the amount of betaine.
Betaine for long has been revered for its health benefits for support joint, liver health healthy cholesterol levels etc. These benefits are delivered by its role as a methyl ion donor in the human body which helps methylation of amino acid homocysteine in our body to form Methionine which is responsible and necessary for increasing creatine production in the body. Having more methionine in the body means ramped up protein synthesis, therefore, increasing the potential for muscle growth and strength gains.
Betaine helps maintain healthy level of homocysteine levels which have been shown to impair insulin signaling, which can interfere with muscle growth and fat loss. The raised
levels of S-adenosylmethionine with support from betaine, support a positive mood, promote liver health, and aid joint recovery.
A study by the University of Connecticut found that weight-trained athletes taking 1.25 grams of betaine twice per day increased their muscle strength by 25 percent, and their muscle power by 20 percent. In a similar study by the College of Springfield in Massachusetts. Weight-trained males supplemented with 1.25 grams of betaine twice per day reported increased muscle mass by 4 pounds and arm size by 10 percent, all while decreasing body fat by 7 pounds.
There are no known serious side effects of betaine. However, in some users, it can cause issues like nausea, upset stomach, and/or diarrhoea. Due to this reason, it is normally suggested to split up the intake into two smaller daily doses. Betaine is generally added in pre and post-workout supplements in the right quantities and blends well with ingredients like creatine, L-citrulline, and beta-alanine.
In summary, betaine can not only help you significantly improve strength gains and lean mass gains but also has the potential to support your general health and well-being outside of the gym.