May 2, 2016

Betaine Anhydrous

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What other names is Betaine Anhydrous known by?

2(N,N,N-trimethyl)ammonium-acetate, Betaína Anhidra, Bétaïne Anhydre, Betaine Anhydrous, Bétaïne de Glycine, Bétaïne de Glycocoll, Cystadane, Glycine Betaine, Glycocoll Betaine, Glycylbetaine, Lycine, Oxyneurine, TMG, Trimethyl Glycine, Trimethylbetaine, Trimethylglycine, Trimethylglycine Anhydre, Trimethylglycine Anhydrous.

What is Betaine Anhydrous?

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.

Betaine anhydrous is also used for treating high blood homocysteine levels, liver disease, depression, osteoarthritis, congestive heart failure (CHF), and obesity; for boosting the immune system; and for improving athletic performance. It is also used for preventing noncancerous tumors in the colon (colorectal adenomas).

Topically, betaine anhydrous is used as an ingredient in toothpastes to reduce the symptoms of dry mouth.

Effective for...

  • High homocysteine levels in the urine (homocystinuria). Taking betaine anyhydrous lowers homocysteine levels. Betaine anhydrous is FDA approved for treating this condition.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Dry mouth. Using betaine anhydrous in a toothpaste seems to reduce symptoms of dry mouth. Also, using a specific mouthwash (Xeros Dentaid) containing betaine anhydrous, xylitol, and sodium fluoride can improve dry mouth symptoms.
  • High homocysteine levels in the blood (hyperhomocysteinemia). Some research shows that supplementation with betaine anhydrous can decrease homocysteine levels in the blood of some but not all people. However, it is not clear if this also decreases heart disease risk. Taking betaine anhydrous might also lower homocysteine levels in the blood in people with kidney failure. However, betaine anhydrous does not seem to increase the homocysteine-lowering effects of folate in people with kidney failure.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Genetic disorder that causes intellectual disability (Angelman syndrome). Some research suggests that taking betaine anhydrous (Cystadane, Rare Disease Therapetics, Inc.) or betaine anhydrous together with folate, folic acid, creatine, and/or vitamin B12 does not prevent seizures or improve mental function in children with Angelman syndrome.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Noncancerous tumors in the colon and rectum (colorectal adenomas). Some research suggests that taking betaine anhydrous is not linked with a reduced risk of developing colorectal adenomas.
  • Exercise performance. Some research suggests that betaine might improve certain aspects of exercise performance, including body composition and strength, in experienced men who participate in strength training. However, betaine does not seem to improve strength in untrained men. Also, betaine does not appear to improve the ability to rehydrate after long distance running or sprinting.
  • Acid reflux. Early research suggests that taking a combination of betaine, melatonin, L-tryptophan, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, and methionine daily can reduce symptoms of acid reflux.
  • Hepatitis C. Early research suggests that taking betaine anhydrous (Cystadane) and SAMe together with hepatitis C medications for 12 months can reduce the amount of active virus in people with hepatitis C who did not respond to treatment with hepatitis C medications alone.
  • Liver disease not due to alcohol use (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH). Developing research suggests that betaine anhydrous might improve liver disease in people with NASH.
  • Sunburn. Early research suggests that applying a specific betaine-containing cream (Physiogel Al) daily for one month before ultraviolet (UV) light exposure can reduce redness caused by UV rays. However, applying this cream only 20 minutes before exposure does not have any effect.
  • Nervous system disorder called Rett syndrome. Early research suggests that taking a combination of folate and betaine daily for 12 months does not improve growth, development, or function in girls with Rett syndrome.
  • Weight loss. In one small study, adding betaine anhydrous to a low-calorie diet did not produce extra weight loss in obese adults
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of betaine anhydrous for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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