A betain may be any compound with a positively charged functional group and a non-adjacent negatively charged functional group, provided the positive functional group doesn’t contain a hydrogen atom. Many betaines exist, although this term typically refers specifically to trimethylglycine (TMG), also known as glycine betaine, unless otherwise specified.
Glycine betain was first isolated from sugar beets in the 19th century. It was the first betain discovered, although many other betains have been discovered since then. Glycine betain is readily available as a natural byproduct of the commercial process for extracting sugar from sugar beets. Other dietary sources of glycine betaine include grains and spinach.
Humans and many other animals can synthesize glycine betain in a two-step process. The first step is to oxidize choline with the enzyme choline dehydrogenase to produce betaine aldehyde. The second step further oxidizes betaine aldehyde with the enzyme betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase to produce betaine.
The most important biochemical role of betain in humans is to serve as a cofactor in methylation reactions, which routinely occur in all mammal cells. The synthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are some of the most well-known methylation reactions. These reactions are also involved in the synthesis of coenzyme Q10 and melatonin.
Health supplements typically provide betain in the form of its hydrochloride salt, commonly listed as betaine HCL. This form has greater bioavailability than free form betaine.
The primary benefit of betain HCL is its effect on stomach acid production. It may also help to manage bacterial levels in the stomach, facilitate digestion and support the absorption of nutrients.
Some studies shown that betain HCL may help to maintain healthy levels of stomach acid. Low stomach acid production, known medically as hypochlorhydria, often causes stomach upset.
Betain HCL may help to absorb nutrients during digestion, especially calcium, iron and vitamin B12.
Betain HCL may support healthy digestion, especially for proteins and fats.
Betain HCL may also help to manage the levels of harmful bacteria in the stomach. This effect may reduce the rate of bacterial infections in the digestive tract.
The most significant signs that you may need betain HCL involve the stomach, including an upset stomach upset and stomach infections. Additional indications that betain HCL could help you may affect the blood, including low potassium levels and anemia. General signs that you may need betaine HCL include seasonal conditions, breathing difficulties and joint problems. You may also benefit from betaine HCL supplements if you suffer from inner ear infections, yeast infections and diarrhea.
Betain HCl, betaines, betaine-hcl
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