BETAINE ANHYDROUS Overview Information
Betaine anhydrous is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body. It 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 supplements are most commonly used for reducing blood homocysteine levels and trying to improve athletic performance.
How does it work?
Betaine anhydrous helps in the metabolism of a chemical called homocysteine. Homocysteine is involved in the normal function of many different parts of the body, including blood, bones, eyes, heart, muscles, nerves, and the brain. Betaine anhydrous prevents the buildup of homocysteine in the blood. Levels of homocysteine are very high in some people who have problems with its metabolism.
- High homocysteine levels in the urine (homocystinuria). Taking betaine anhydrous lowers homocysteine levels in the urine. Betaine anhydrous is FDA approved for treating this condition in both children and adults.
Possibly Effective for:
- Dry mouth. Using betaine anhydrous in a toothpaste seems to reduce symptoms of dry mouth. Also, using mouthwash containing betaine anhydrous, xylitol, and sodium fluoride seems to improve dry mouth symptoms.
- High homocysteine levels in the blood (hyperhomocysteinemia). Research shows that taking betaine anhydrous can decrease homocysteine levels in the blood of some people. However, it is not clear if this also decreases the risk of heart disease. Taking betaine along with folic acid doesn't reduce blood homocysteine levels better than taking folic acid alone.
Possibly Ineffective for:
- Genetic disorder that causes intellectual disability (Angelman syndrome). Taking betaine anhydrous does not seem to prevent seizures or improve mental function in children with Angelman syndrome.
- Noncancerous tumors in the colon and rectum (colorectal adenomas). Early research has found that higher dietary intake of betaine anhydrous is not linked with a reduced risk of colon and rectum tumors.
- Depression. Early research shows that taking betaine anhydrous along with s-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) improves symptoms of depression in more people than does taking the antidepressant amitriptyline.
- Exercise performance. Some research suggests that betaine anhydrous can improve certain aspects of exercise performance, including body composition and strength, in men who participate in strength training. However, betaine anhydrous does not seem to improve strength in untrained men.
- Acid reflux. Early research suggests that taking betaine anhydrous, along with melatonin, L-tryptophan, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, and methionine daily can reduce symptoms of acid reflux.
- Hepatitis C. Early research shows that taking betaine anhydrous (Cystadane) plus S-adenosyl-L-methionine along with hepatitis C medications can reduce the amount of active virus in people with hepatitis C who did not respond to treatment with hepatitis C medications alone. However, this effect does not appear to last long-term in most people.
- Liver disease not due to alcohol use (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH). Developing research has found that betaine anhydrous might improve liver disease in people with NASH.
- Sunburn. Early research has found that applying a specific betaine anhydrous-containing cream for one month before exposure to sunlight reduces sunburn. However, applying this cream only 20 minutes before exposure does not have any benefit.
- Nervous system disorder called Rett syndrome. Early research shows that taking a combination of folate and betaine anhydrous 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.
BETAINE ANHYDROUS Side Effects & Safety
Betaine anhydrous is LIKELY SAFE for most children and adults when taken by mouth appropriately. Betaine anhydrous can cause some minor side effects. These include nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea, as well as body odor. Cholesterol levels sometimes go up.
Betaine anhydrous is also available as a prescription drug in the U.S. Prescription betaine anhydrous is standardized, which means it contains a set dose of active chemicals.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking betaine anhydrous if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
High cholesterol: Betaine anhydrous can increase levels of total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "good") cholesterol in healthy people, obese people, and people with kidney failure. Using betaine might make already high cholesterol levels even higher. People with high cholesterol should use betaine anhydrous cautiously.
BETAINE ANHYDROUS Dosing
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For a condition called homocystinuria: A maintenance dose of 3 grams is usually taken twice daily in both adults and children. In children, the dose usually starts low and is gradually raised to this level. For children under three years-old, the starting dose is 100 mg/kg per day; the next week the dose is raised to 200 mg/kg per day for the week; the following week, the dose is raised to 300 mg/kg per day for the week, and so on until the maintenance dose is reached. All patients can receive dose increases until the level of homocysteine in the blood is very low or too low to measure; sometimes doses up to 20 grams per day are needed to achieve this. Dissolve the powder in water immediately before taking.
- For high homocysteine levels in the blood (hyperhomocysteinemia): 3-6 grams of betaine anhydrous has been used daily for up to 12 weeks.
- For a dry mouth: Betaine anhydrous in a toothpaste has been used twice daily for 2 weeks. Mouthwash containing betaine anhydrous, xylitol, and sodium fluoride has been used each evening for 4 weeks.