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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Trimethylglycine?

Trimethylglycine (TMG), also called betaine, is a substance manufactured by the body. It helps break down another naturally occurring substance called homocysteine.

In certain rare genetic conditions, the body cannot dispose of homocysteine, resulting in its accumulation to extremely high levels. This, in turn, leads to accelerated cardiovascular disease and other problems. Oral TMG is an FDA-approved treatment for this condition. It "methylates" homocysteine, removing it from circulation.

Meaningful, but not altogether consistent, evidence suggests that the relatively slight elevation of homocysteine that can occur in healthy people is also harmful. 1 On this basis, it has been suggested that TMG might reduce heart disease risk in healthy people as well. However, this has...

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). 2 TMG also appears to reduce relatively mild homocysteine elevations in people without genetic defects. 3 However, as noted above, TMG also seems to worsen cholesterol profile , and this may counteract any possible benefits. 4 For this reason, if you have elevated levels of homocysteine, it may make more sense to reduce it by taking supplemental folate , vitamin B 6 , and vitamin B 12 ; these supplements are known to reduce homocysteine levels , and, unlike TMG, they provide nutritional benefit as well.

TMG may help protect the liver against the effects of alcohol, perhaps by...

Safety Issues

The only known safety issue with TMG is regarding cholesterol profile, as already mentioned. People with high or borderline-high cholesterol should use TMG only with caution.

Maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing mothers, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.