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Betaine anhydrous is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body, and can also be found in foods such as beets, spinach, cereals, seafood, and wine.


Betaine anhydrous is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of high urine levels of a chemical called homocysteine (homocystinuria) in people with certain inherited disorders.  High homocysteine levels are associated with heart disease, weak bones (osteoporosis), skeletal problems, and eye lens problems.  Topically, betaine anhydrous is used as an ingredient in toothpastes to reduce the symptoms of any mouth.


In most organisms, glycine betaine is biosynthesized by oxidation of choline in two steps.  The intermediate, betaine aidehyde, is generated by the action of the enzyme mitochondrial choline oxidase (choline dehydrogenase, EC  Betaine aldehyde is further oxidized in the mitochondria or cytoplasm to betaine by the enzyme called betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase (EC


The action of betaine is potentiated in the presence of choline (its precursor), folic acid, and vitamins B6 and B12.  In some circumstances, betaine anhydrous can be used as a substitute for methinine and choline chloride.   Betaine’s chief purpose in the body is the lowering of homocysteine levels.  Homocysteine is a potentially toxic substance that results from meat digestion, and is thought to contribute to the onset of arthrosclerosis, osteoporosis, cardiovascular thrombosis, skeletal abnormalities and ocular deformities.  By lowering or controlling homocysteine levels, betaine reduces ones risk for these conditions.  Betaine Anhydrous is also administered to persons with homocystinuria (an inherited metabolic amino acid disorder that leads to an abundance of homocysteine in the blood) to help treat their condition in humans, betaine is essential to the the maintenance of intestinal function and cell production, it can protect the kidneys from damage, and it serves to protect DNA and DNA formation.  Betaine has also been shown to increase low plasma methionine and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) levels under certain conditions.


As a nutritional aide, betaine anhydrous has been shown to be lipotropic – i.e. fat los causing – by promoting the oxidation of lipids.   It has also been noted to increase appetite, improve digestive efficiency, and in animals it has been shown to promote lean mass and reproductive abilities.



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