5 Ways How TMG (Trimethylglycine, aka Betaine) Increases Athletic Performance
Trimethylglycine (TMG, also known as Betaine) is a component of beet roots and is also found in:
Fruits & Vegetables: Avocados, Asparagus, Spinach, Potatoes
Meats: Chicken, Beef, Shellfish, and Fish
Betaine supplementation has been shown to result in natural performance enhancement and as a nutraceutical that helps the bones, cells, and internal organs. (R, R). Here are the Top 5 ways how TMG, aka Betaine can increase your athletic performance.
1. Increases Nitric Oxide & Creatine Production
TMG supplementation can substantially increase levels of nitric oxide in the blood. Oral Betaine supplementation for one week resulted in a 20% to 90% increase of blood nitric oxide levels (R). Increased nitric oxide allows for blood vessels to vasodilate (widen), resulting in increased blood flow to muscles.
Betaine primarily functions as a methyl donor, where it directly donates a methyl group to reduce homocysteine into L-methionine, a cardioprotective molecule required for the body’s synthesis of creatine. Creatine is important for athletes as it can rapidly produce ATP (the energy molecule for cells) that supports cellular function, allowing for enhanced performance and neuroprotection. (R). †
2. Betaine Enhances Performance
Supplementing with Betaine twice a day for two weeks has been shown to improve strength and power performance, allowing for increased workout volume and muscle endurance. Experiments with betaine supplementation resulted in participants exhibiting a 6.4% increase in average peak power, a 5.7% increase in maximum peak power, and significant increases in the number of repetitions performed (R). †
3. Muscle Growth and Cell Protection
Betaine supplementation significantly increases IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1, an anabolic derivative of growth hormone thought to mediate cell growth and muscle protein synthesis, i.e. promote muscle growth) (R).
Betaine also functions as osmolyte/osmoprotectant, protecting cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress (low water, high salinity, or extreme temperature) by keeping cells hydrated (R, R). Increased cell hydration results in increased cell protection and resistance. †
4. Cognitive Benefits
Increased levels of blood betaine are positively associated with better performance of construction, reaction speed, and decision making. Also, one study demonstrated that high betaine concentrations resulted in slightly higher memory performance compared to those without it (R). †
5. Promotes Bone Formation and Health
In human bone cells, TMG treatment activated pathways that increased osteoblast (bone forming cells) production by increasing the expression of genes (RUNX2, OSX, and SOD2) involved in producing proteins that increase bone formation and protects bone cells from stress (R).
Betaine stimulates bone cell formation by means of activating ERK (a key osteoblastogenesis pathway) and calcium signaling. Like Vitamin D3, Betaine can activate L-type calcium channels, stimulating a calcium influx required for bone formation and modulating the uptake of calcium by bone cells. Together, ERK activation, IFG-1 production, and a calcium influx may work synergistically to help in bone growth cell product and bone growth. Supplementation of betaine is key for athletes who undergo constant bone stress, such as fighters, runners, and football players, for maintaining bone health, bone tissue replacement after injuries incurred from training (R). †
If you are looking for a natural, US made supplement containing TMG, Zenko: Boost offers 1.5 grams in one single serving. The blend complements Betaine with other natural ingredients that have Nootropic and Antioxidant properties as well. Learn more about it here.
† This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
About the Author: Dennis Thompson is the President of Zenko Nutrition. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Biology and has more than 2 years of experience working in a cGMP Pharmaceutical testing laboratory.