Ever since creatine solidified itself as the most well-studied, safe ergogenic supplement for size and strength gains, the sports nutrition world has been on the lookout for the “next creatine.”
Betaine, also known as trimethylglycine (or TMG), is quickly becoming the next must-have supplement in any athlete’s arsenal. As more successful research is published, the industry has now realized that nearly everyone can benefit from this natural amino acid.
The latest studies show that supplementation leads to the trifecta of muscle-building:
Increases in muscle mass, including arm size
Decreases in bodyfat
Improved bench press capacity
How TMG works
Betaine behaves like an osmoregulator, which is one similar function that creatine also serves. The function of this process is to regulate cell size and hydration.
When supplemented, it donates its methyl groups to needy biological functions across the body, which then use it to reduce homocysteine levels. This improves health as a whole in several systems that require these “methyl donors” to function properly, especially cardiovascular systems – it is a very cardioprotective compound.
Beyond that, some forms of the compound (such as betaine hydrochloride) are used to treat various medical deficiencies, since it is safe and natural. However, in this article, we’ll focus on betaine’s muscle-building benefits.
The study that changed everything
It was always theorized that betaine’s effects on osmoregulation would give creatine-like benefits. However, most research studies were performed on untrained participants, the elderly, or subjects with diabetes.
A better research study was needed on trained athletes.
Thankfully, in 2013, we got just that study, thanks to Jason M Cholewa, an assistant professor of Exercise Science at Coastal Carolina University.
In this study, the team of researchers recruited 23 males, ages 18-35, who all had excellent experience in resistance training. This takes “beginner gains” out of the equation.
The study lasted six weeks long, and subjects were either given a placebo or the real deal.
The Quick Summary of Results
- 2.5g betaine per day (1.25g taken twice per day)
- -3% body fat
- +5.3lbs lean mass
- -6.4lb fat mass
In the researchers’ words:
Six-weeks of betaine supplementation improved body composition, arm size, bench press work capacity… and tended to improve power (p = .07) but not strength.
A PDF of the entire study can be found on source two.
Once and for all, this seals the deal that betaine can be successfully used by anyone looking to achieve muscle gains.
The creatine question
As of mid-2014, the biggest question that is still open is whether or not its effects can amplify the effects of creatine, or if it’s merely replacing some of the positive effects of creatine when used in place of it.
As always, more research needs to be done, but everything looks incredibly promising so far thanks to this latest study.
Video presentation from Jason Cholewa
The researcher mentioned above also gave this incredible presentation on betaine before performing the study. This discusses much of the theory and background behind the supplement:
Any betaine side effects?
Overall, this is an incredibly safe supplement to take.
At the levels presented in the studies mentioned above, as well as the dosage that is in the Nitramine pre workout supplement (2g per scoop), no side effects could be shown.
Previous studies involving other medical deficiencies have used far higher dosages of betaine, and the most common side effect is nausea, but its occurrence rate is low. Those using the trimethylglycine hydrochloride (a version not used in most muscle-building supplements) also have a higher rate of heartburn.
Food-based sourcesThe name is actually due to the fact that it was first found in beets. Beet root is actually quite high in betaine nitrate. Many supplements use beet root extract to provide a form of betaine, but the anhydrous form (without water) is pure and will give the highest concentrations.
Spinach and whole grains also provide the compound, which makes us wonder if the studies will work for users who already have a high intake of the leafy vegetable.
The recommended dosage really depends on what you’re trying to achieve, and this requires a doctor’s written approval and suggestion. The study performed on trained athletes mentioned above was based upon 2.5g/day, which would constitute a heaping scoop of Nitramine.
However, your dosage of Nitramine itself should be based upon your stimulant tolerance first and foremost, since it is a very potent pre workout supplement.
Where can I get some?
If you’re looking for the muscle-building effects, then grab a free sample of Myokem Nitramine below, and read more about it on the homepage of this site.
Nitramine is a focus-boosting pre workout that also gives great gains thanks in part to the betaine anhydrous inside.