Betaine Promotes Healthy Methylation, Heart Function, Lipid Levels & More*
While relatively unknown, betaine is a nutrient-like compound that plays a vital role in the methylation cycle, not to mention cardiovascular function and whole-body health.* If you're interested in heart health, you're going to want to know about betaine. Let's get right into it.
What is betaine?
Betaine is a naturally occurring compound found in foods and bioactives included in certain supplements. In the body, its primary role is to support a healthy methionine cycle and methylation by serving as a methyl donor.*
Considering methylation affects nearly every cell in the body, betaine's physiological actions promote universal well-being—however, its properties are especially important for cardiovascular health.*
How betaine supports heart health & function.
Healthy methylation is vital for cardiovascular function. When the methylation cycle isn't running smoothly, whether due to nutritional or genetic factors (e.g., MTHFR gene variation), homocysteine levels can rise. If left unchecked, suboptimal methylation can lead to cardiovascular implications1 down the road.
As a methyl donor, betaine works alongside fully activated methylfolate and vitamin B12 to convert homocysteine to methionine2—an essential amino acid involved in the production of cysteine, taurine, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e), and even master antioxidant glutathione.* Thanks to this process, betaine helps regulate healthy levels of homocysteine and maintain proper methylation pathways.*
In fact, a 2021 review from Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found that betaine supplementation of less than 4,000 milligrams per day helps maintain healthy homocysteine levels3 (which is one of the reasons we included 1,700 milligrams of betaine in our methylation support+ supplement).*
Another meta-analysis from the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine shows that betaine supplementation can lower homocysteine levels by up to 20%4.* For individuals with an MTHFR gene variant—i.e., about half of the population—this can be a game changer for optimizing their methylation cycle and overall health.
Beyond the methylation cycle, betaine also helps modulate plasma lipids—including LDL and total cholesterol—and promotes healthy myocardial metabolism5 and heart contraction.* With its collective roles in lipid regulation, metabolism, methylation, and cardiovascular function, we can't ignore that betaine is a crucial heart health player.*
How to get enough betaine.
Betaine is found in a number of dietary sources (including beets, oats, quinoa, and wheat germ) and certain targeted supplements. While there aren't set guidelines on how much betaine we should be getting on a daily basis (since it's not a classical nutrient per se), one study estimates that Americans consume approximately 200 milligrams66 each day from foods. As we saw in the studies above, individuals with suboptimal methylation or other heart-health considerations may benefit from an even more concentrated and guaranteed dose of betaine per day (i.e., up to 4,000 milligrams).*
The science is clear: Betaine has a profound (and multidimensional) impact on the cardiovascular system and overall well-being. But how much betaine do we need—and where can we get it? For high-quality supplementation with betaine plus bioactive B vitamins that support healthy methylation, mbg's methylation support+ is a primo choice for promoting heart and whole-body health.*
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.