TMG or Trimethylglycine: AKA Betaine Anhydrous

I suffer from Pyroluria and this is my personal experience and result from using this Betaine supplement, more commonly known as TMG or Trimethylglycine.

I had a hair follicle scan done a few months ago. Basically four hairs are plucked from the base of your skull and the hair follicles are scanned, then the data is sent via the internet to Germany and fifteen minutes later your results are back. This test allows an insight into your current gene expression, and makes suggestions on how to improve what’s going on in your body.

Disclaimer: This post is based on the writer's personal experience with using this supplement. We highly recommend consulting a professional before trying any supplements. Use at your own risk.

This means that you have some personalised guidance on how you can make changes in diet, nutrition and lifestyle that hopefully, will reduce or remove risks to your health that are being created by unwanted gene expression.

In other words, this test is based on epigenetic science.

Now, I have to admit that I don’t know how accurate this test might be, but I can say that the report that I received was fairly comprehensive. It also made some sense going by what I already know about my own health, my body and lifestyle, so I’d say there’s some valid science tied up in this.

One of the things that my report told me, which was quite unexpected, was that my number one nutritional priority (not deficiency as this type of test doesn’t test for actual deficiencies as such) was Betaine…

According to my report, Betaine is my number one nutritional priority (the ‘P’ in brackets means Priority and areas of concern are numbered to indicate those that are most important).

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I expected the Vitamin D3 (I’m always low on Vitamin D – even when I spent my days walking on the beach in Queensland…) and I the Vitamin B12 didn’t surprise me. The vitamin A1 was kind of unexpected (not a nutrient that I’ve really ever paid much attention to be honest), but Betaine? 

I’d never really heard of it apart from in the form of Betaine HCL which I’d taken in the past to help my digestion while on the GAPs diet, but once I started researching, I realised that wasn’t quite the same thing.

What Is Betaine?

That was my first question, and my next question was ‘is there such thing as a Betaine supplement?’

Well it took a little Googling, but I soon realised that there was such a supplement, and it’s more commonly known as TMG or Trimethylglycine.

It’s also known as Betaine or Betaine Anhydrous, and there are quite a number of different brands available.

Betaine supplements are made from beets – beetroot or sugar beet – and betaine is found naturally in beets, fish and legumes. (I eat lots of beetroot, but I’m obviously still not getting, or absorbing, enough betaine).

What are the health benefits of betaine or TMG?

I started reading up on TMG and the associated benefits of taking a TMG supplement on various websites, and about the effects that it has on the body and it sure sounded like something I wanted to try.

To start with, TMG is a methyl donor and that is potentially awesome news for those of us with Pyroluria and/or methylation issues, and studies have shown that TMG can be effective for;

  • Lowering homocysteine
  • Reducing depression
  • Helping with liver detoxification and liver disease
  • Reducing the chance of diabetes
  • Reducing the chance of genetic problems
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And more. It can also be beneficial for those with MTHFR issues and there is some good, more detailed information more about it on Dr Wilson’s site.

Betaine improves body composition and athletic performance

The other thing that (naturally) peaked my interest with regard to TMG or Betaine supplementation, was that studies show it improves body composition, lowering body fat and increasing muscle mass.

We could all do with a little of that huh?

TMG: Not a well-known supplement

Like me, you’ve probably not heard of Trimethylglycine, and I’d say most people would be the same. It doesn’t seem to be generally well known (for now). However there are quite a range of TMG supplements available, so obviously there are plenty of people out there who are using the stuff. Probably bodybuilders! The effects of TMG on body composition would be known in those circles, I’d say.

What I’ve noticed taking TMG

I’ve been taking TMG now for about 3 months. I’m taking the NOW brand from iHerb. I started on 1000mg a day (one tablet – they’re huge!) and I’m now taking 2000mg a day.

I noticed a difference from the very first day…

I’ve been plagued once again with an off and on again ‘blah – feeling flat, grey’ depression over the past 12 months or more, and the TMG seems to be helping.

Over the first few days I noticed more energy, my libido did a sudden, temporary, jump up (that’s always a good sign huh?), and I felt happier. I also noticed that my muscles got sore… Random, I know. But it was kind of a good feeling sore, but different from a post exercise sore – hard to explain – and the feeling gradually reduced over a few days.

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I’m also (of course) hoping it will help over time with my body composition….

The truth is that I’m more over weight right now than I’ve been for 25 years and I’m really feeling it, which sucks.

But I’m doing yoga almost every day and noticing marked improvements in strength as well as some subtle changes in body shape. I’m planning to shed some of this body fat, and so I’m hoping that taking Betaine might help to speed the process along a bit. I’ve even ordered a set of Tanita body composition scales to allow me to keep track of what changes are happening in my body. (They should arrive tomorrow – can’t wait!).

So I’m pleased with what’s happening and I’m optimistic.

And even though Dr Wilson says he’s found women do better on 1000mg a day, I’m thinking about upping my dose more to see how I feel and how things go as other sites suggest taking up to 6000mg a day or more! We’re all different and the only way I’ll find out what works for me is to try it.

I think I’ll be adding this to my tips for managing pyrrole disorder as I’m pretty sure at this stage that this will be long term for me, and from all that I’ve read I’m quite certain it would be of benefit for many others with Pyroluria also.

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Susie Wilson

Susie Wilson is a Mum, a writer, a health buff and a bit of a self confessed food-a-holic! Susie has a passion for learning about, creating and of course eating healthy foods. She enjoys sharing recipes, ideas and information about the foods she loves and the things she's discovered about healthy eating and living. (Contact Author)