Amino acids are required by the body to perform different functions and they are also required for the production of important molecules that are needed in terms of development and composition. They are also pertained to as building blocks which basically means that they are a necessary component of a specific organ or larger body.
A good example of amino acid is betaine. This kind of amino acid is one of those that are said to have more health benefits other than being a building block. One of its best abilities is by boosting the protein synthesis process within the body.
What is Betaine?
Technically speaking, betaine is better known as the amino acid trimethylglycine; and this amino acid is said to be derived from plants. The first time these acids were discovered was during the 19th century when they were found to be contained by plants like sugar beets.
First of all, it is important that there is a presence of the nutrient choline and another amino acid called glycine in order for the betaine to be obtained. The derivative betaine will then have the same properties as some B vitamins; specifically vitamin B12 and folate, by being a methyl donor. As a methyl donor, the amino acid works in assisting the body in doing functions like detoxification and some cellular and liver functions. Other than that, it also specializes in the processing of body fats.
Betaine and Methionine
According to some studies, the betaine is an expert converter of the amino acid homocysteine into a byproduct called methionine. This process is needed by the body since too much amount of homocysteine in the body is considered to be dangerous. The main reason why researchers think that excessive homocysteine is dangerous is because of them being associated with the blood; thus when there are too much of them, they can possibly cause damages to the blood vessels that lead to the buildup of plaques that may soon clog the arteries.
As far as blood issues are concerned, there will most likely be chances of developing cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart problems. Because of the high danger of getting excessive homocysteine, the researchers have decided to focus on studying how the betaine can lower their co-amino acids. They continued the study since they saw positive results, and they did not stop until all results are consistent.
Also, betaine is said to have the ability to provide the body’s muscle buildup with strength and boosts its mass. This strength-providing characteristic of the amino acid then gives the body better endurance and it can also help in reducing unhealthy fats.
A lot of studies have already been conducted regarding the amino acid betaine and they all lead to positive results. However, there are still a lot of lapses and a few things researchers need to work on before they can finally provide the final results of their studies. But as far as the studies have been conducted, they believe that the amino acid will continue to provide promising results in the future.
The Possibility of Betaine Deficiency
The disadvantage of most amino acids is the possibility of their lack in the body or a deficiency. Since the amino acid betaine is contained by most wheat products, there are not that many people who experience having betaine deficiency. To be exact, this problem is not exactly based on the literal deficit of the said amino acid, but instead, it refers to the lack of betaine activities (by consuming less than the required number of foods that are rich in the amino acid) that lead to more amounts of homocysteine in the blood.
As previously stated, when a person does not have enough betaine in the body, it will be hard to regulate the homocysteine levels. Nevertheless, extremely high levels of homocysteine only happen to a few people; specifically, those who are alcoholic and have genetic disorders that are related to the disease. This also means that the deficiency of betaine rarely happens to people.
People should still be aware, however, in case they suddenly get affected by this condition. They need to look for signs such as osteoporosis, development of blood clot, problems with the vision or blurry eyesight, issues with the blood vessels such as contraction and coagulation, and even delays in body development for children. Once one of the aforementioned signs are experienced, the person may need to ask for a doctor’s help in order to check if they have high homocysteine levels.
Recommended Betaine Dosage
People may get their desired amount of betaine from foods that are rich in the said amino acid or from supplements that are specially made for the purpose of providing the body with the amino acid. Identifying the right dosage of betaine is different from other amino acids and nutrients that are solely based on a person’s age and gender, it is important to be aware of the person’s health condition before a certain amount will be recommended for their dosage.
Patients who developed liver problems from alcoholism are suggested to consume supplements of the amino acid that contain about 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams three times a day. Normally, this suggested amount is already considered a high dosage, but it is needed by the body to aid the damages in the liver that were caused by the person’s alcoholic intake.
For those who desire to get additional amounts of betaine for the purpose of getting its health benefits, their dosages should be limited to around 650 to 2,500 milligrams. Most of the time, this is the amount that is given to people who wants to boost their digestive health.
It is also possible to consume supplements of betaine if the person needs support in their physical activities such as improving their performance while exercising and also for enhancing their body composition and muscle mass. They can also drink the supplements as pain relievers against body pains that may not or may have been caused by exercise. So far, these people may be suggested an amount of 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams of betaine. The suggested amount though is only an estimation since there is no specific recommendation regarding this purpose at this time.