Betaine anhydrous, or TMG (trimethylglycine), is a form of betaine derived from choline. Choline is an essential nutrient which supplies methyl groups, is used for muscle function, helps with the synthesis of phospholipids, and has several other important functions within the body.
Betaine anhydrous is naturally occurring and is found in many foods such as spinach, beetroot, whole grains, sweet potatoes, beef, turkey breast, and tilapia, as well as other meats and vegetables. It is also a common ingredient in pre-workouts and other gym supplements.
Supplementing with betaine anhydrous can improve results from lifting, decrease fat, and boost overall training performance among other health advantages.
What Are the Benefits of Betaine Anhydrous?
These are all the benefits of betaine anhydrous that are supported by current research.
- Lowers risk of heart-related disease
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves liver health
- Has antioxidant properties
- Boosts performance in the gym
- Increases lean mass
- Increases muscular endurance
- Boosts GH and IGF-1
- Decreases cortisol
Heart Disease, Artery Health, and Cancer
Since betaine is a methyl donor, it is capable of lowering levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid that highly correlates with heart disease when it becomes too high. By lowering homocysteine, betaine can lower the risk of heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, blood clots, and other heart and artery damages.
This review of all epidemiological studies on betaine and choline compiled existing evidence and found that choline and betaine supplementation prevents CVD (cardiovascular disease) mortality. This study done on betaine levels additionally found that having high levels of betaine is associated with a lowered risk for CAD (coronary artery disease). Another review of epidemiological evidence concluded that taking betaine and choline can reduce the risk of cancer by 11%.
Muscle Mass and Body Fat Levels
Betaine anhydrous has also been found that improve body composition.
This study found that college-aged males taking betaine anhydrous improved their body composition, increased their endurance during training, and were able to complete more reps during lifts. This study on betaine and choline also found a positive effect on body composition. Males with higher levels of betaine and choline had lower body fat levels, smaller waists, wider shoulders, and more muscle mass.
A third study which examined the influence of betaine and choline on the body composition of adults in Canada concluded that higher betaine and choline intake has a positive impact on lean muscle mass, body fat percentage, and waist-to-hip ratio.
Strength, Muscular Force, and Muscular Endurance
Adding on to increased muscle mass and lower body fat levels, betaine anhydrous can also increase muscular endurance and strength during weightlifting.
This study on 24 college males was able to determine that betaine supplementation boosted endurance during lifts and increased muscular power. This study also found that betaine supplementation can increase strength gains and performance in the gym after 2 weeks.
Growth hormone and IGF-1 both have a positive effect on workout recovery and fat loss. Lowered cortisol can also help build muscle since cortisol is often too high from modern day stressors and hinders recovery from resistance training.
This study on 12 men with previous training experience found a correlation with betaine anhydrous supplementation and elevated levels of growth hormone and IGF-1. It also found that betaine decreased cortisol and may be able to elevate protein synthesis following training, improving the body’s use of protein for muscle repair.
Another study found a 42% growth hormone increase and higher total protein level from betaine supplementation however was done on pigs, not humans.
Based on all these studies, there is significant evidence to support increased strength, better body composition, and hormonal benefit from betaine anhydrous as well as an improvement to heart health and lowered oxidative stress.
The Best Betaine Anhydrous Supplement
It is important, when looking for supplements, to buy pure forms of what you’re interested in taking. Fillers, additives, and extra ingredients usually are not ideal since it then forces you to consume additional chemicals and adds to the price.
By buying in bulk, for cheap, and without fillers you can create your own pre-workouts and don’t have to worry about the dose per serving or what else is in it. For pure betaine anhydrous powder, check out this 500g betaine anhydrous pack over at Bulk Supplements.
What Are the Side Effects of Betaine Anhydrous?
Betaine anhydrous is naturally occurring and mostly has no side effects. The two side effects which have been reported are digestion problems and nausea but there are no major risks associated with betaine anhydrous supplementation otherwise.
It is possible that betaine anhydrous could also increase levels of LDL cholesterol however unless your cholesterol levels are already significantly above the healthy range, this is not going to pose a problem.
In brief, betaine anhydrous is an effective supplement for building muscle and bettering performance during resistance training. The best dose of betaine is 4-6 grams daily although this can vary per individual and it is better to start lower, around 1-2 grams, to test your reaction. The best time to take betaine anhydrous is 30 minutes before training and anytime after.
To get the benefits of betaine anhydrous from food, the best options are beetroot, spinach, and whole grain food items such as brown rice and pasta.
The side effects of betaine anhydrous are possible nausea, indigestion, and higher cholesterol.