Betaine - The Secret to Strength, Power and Performance

Creatine, Beta Alanine, Caffeine.
 
These are the heavy hitters in the supplement industry that seemingly everyone from newbies to seasoned vets knows about. There’s nothing wrong with any of those supplements, but if those are the only ones you’re familiar with, you’re missing out on a great many supplements.
 
Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered today with one of the best players when it comes to improving strength, power and performance -- Betaine!
 
Let’s see what this mighty molecule is all about!

 

 

What is Betaine?

Also known as trimethylglycine (TMG), Betaine is quickly becoming a “standard” ingredient right up there alongside creatine, beta alanine, and caffeine. Simply put, if you’re a true performance seeking trainee, you’ll want betaine by your side.
 
A sizeable amount of research has been conducted on betaine showing not only is it safe, but incredibly helpful at enhancing your performance. Best of all, it’s naturally occurring and found in a number of food sources, namely, beets!
 
Betaine is also naturally-occurring in the human body, as it’s produced from the breakdown of choline. Its structure consists of the amino acid glycine with three methyl groups attached to it, which will be a big reason why it’s so effective.
 
More on that next!

 

What Does it Do?

Figure 4. Role of betaine in the methionine cycle in liver. Betaine provides an alternative pathway for methylation of homocysteine. [7]

 

Betaine is an extremely versatile compound required for a number of highly critical physiological processes. The majority of betaine’s benefits are derived from its ability to function as a methyl donor. In this role, betaine essentially “gives up” one of its attached methyl groups to another molecule that needs it to complete a particular metabolic process. Countless reactions in the body are dependant on this process, commonly known as methylation.
 
Preeminent among all of these functions is the methylation of the amino acid homocysteine, to form methionine (one of the 9 essential amino acids). Methionine is vital to endogenous creatine production, meaning without sufficient methionine, you’re body can’t synthesize creatine. In this way, creatine and betaine form a crucial bond that results in greater size and strength, via increased creatine production in the body.[1]
 
As one of the essential amino acids, Methionine also plays a critical role in muscle protein synthesis (MPS) -- it’s heavily involved in the translation phase of the cycle. Greater methionine levels result in increased muscle protein synthesis, which results in higher potential for increased size and strength!
 
Additionally, betaine also assists with the regulation of homocysteine levels.[2] Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with impaired insulin production, which can severely limit muscle growth and hinder fat loss. Worse yet, high homocysteine levels could potentially lead to a number of other serious health complications including osteoporosis, atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries), and cardiovascular thrombosis (clots). Furthermore, insufficient betaine levels have been implicated in a number of other conditions including metabolic syndrome, lipid disorders and even diabetes.[3] Basically, if you’re homocysteine levels are out of whack for a prolonged period of time, you’re in serious trouble!
 
One last bit about betaine before we wrap up its functions is that betaine has been noted to increase levels of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), a cosubstrate involved in methyl group transfer and a number of other anabolic (muscle-building) reactions. In addition to promoting muscle growth, sufficient levels of SAMe support liver health, joint recovery, and mood.

 

Benefits of Betaine

Due to the numerous roles betaine plays in the human body, it comes as no surprise the list of benefits is quite diverse:

- Offsets muscular fatigue
- Stimulates muscle protein synthesis
- Boosts endurance
- Increases lean muscle mass
- Decreases soreness
- Enhances creatine production in the body
- Increases work capacity
- Boosts power output
- Reduces cortisol levels
- Supports a healthy, positive mood

    How Much?

    So, betaine can offer a world of benefits to you, but the next question is how much should you take and when?

    With the knowledge that betaine supports protein synthesis, recovery, performance, and muscle growth, it stands to reason that you should consume betaine before or after your workout!
     
    For this exact reason, HAK Nutrition has included the full, clinically-backed 2.5g dose of betaine in both PreHAK and PostHAK. This ensures your betaine levels are never lacking, setting you up for maximum energy production, performance, and muscle building!

     

    Takeaway

    Betaine is an incredibly mighty molecule that enhances all aspects of your athletic pursuits. It’s also a great supporting ingredient for the body’s production of creatine and overall health. The list of clinically proven supplements is few and far between, but with betaine you can rest assured, you’ve got a surefire winner!

     

    References



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