• Jayalakshmi M Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, Vels University, Chennai - 600 117, Tamil Nadu, India.
  • Vanitha V Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, Vels University, Chennai - 600 117, Tamil Nadu, India.



 Betaine is distributed widely in animals, plants, and microorganisms and rich dietary sources include seafood, especially marine invertebrates. Betaine is N-trimethylated amino acid called as glycine betaine. It is a by-product. Betaine aldehyde is produced when choline dehydrogenase acts on choline, then betaine aldehyde is oxidized to form betaine by aldehyde dehydrogenase. Metabolic derived betaines possess various functions in our body in which they act as methyl donor which helps in liver function, detoxication, and cellular functions. It plays an important role in fat metabolism. Recent research found that betaine can convert homocysteine to cysteine thus they prevent heart disease. Choline is oxidized to betaine in liver and kidney. Intracellular betaine serves as an osmolyte that regulates cell volume and tissue integrity. Betaine not only plays as an osmolyte but also play a major role in the protection of the liver and other tissues. Consequently, it has been proposed that betaine has significant nutrient for prevention of chronic disease. Betaine has been shown to protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, and enhance performance. Databases of betaine content in food are being developed for correlation with population health studies. This review focuses on the aspects of wide research field with emphasis on a recent data relevant to various human diseases.

Keywords: Betaine, Detoxication, Homocysteine, Chronic disease, Choline, Trimethyl glycine, Glycine betaine

Author Biography

Jayalakshmi M, Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, Vels University, Chennai - 600 117, Tamil Nadu, India.
Department of Biochemistry


1. Craig SA. Betaine in human nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80(3):539-49.
2. Fischer LM, Scearce JA, Mar MH, Patel JR, Blanchard RT, Macintosh BA, et al. Ad libitum choline intake in healthy individuals meets or exceeds the proposed adequate intake level. J Nutr 2005;135(4):826-9.
3. Du YP, Peng JS, Sun A, Tang ZH, Ling WH, Zhu HL. Assessment of the effect of betaine on p16 and c-myc DNA methylation and mRNA expression in a chemical induced rat liver cancer model. BMC Cancer 2009;9:261.
4. Sherzay N, Chitakar E. Epigenetics: Effect of environmental factors on human genome. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 2016;8:1-6.
5. Ying J, Rahbar MH, Hallman DM, Hernandez LM, Spitz MR, Forman MR, et al. Associations between dietary intake of choline and betaine and lung cancer risk. PLoS One 2013;8(2):e54561.
6. Ganesan B, Anandan R, Lakshmanan PT. Studies on the protective effects of betaine against oxidative damage during experimentally induced restraint stress in Wistar albino rat. Cell Stress Chaperones 2011;16:641-52.
7. Rupachandra S, Sarada DV. Induction of apoptotic effects of anti-proliferative protein from the seeds of Borreria hispida on lung cancer (A549) and cervical cancer (HeLa) cell lines. Biomed Res Int 2014;2014:179836.
8. Bingula R, Dupuis C, Pichon C, Berthon JY, Filaire M, Pigeon L, et al. Study of the effects of betaine and/or c-phycocyanin on the growth of lung cancer A549 cells in vitro and in vivo. J Oncol 2016;2016:8162952.
9. Wang P, Meng ZQ, Chen Z, Lin JH, Ping B, Wang LF, et al. Diagnostic value and complications of fine needle aspiration for primary liver cancer and its influence on the treatment outcome-a study based on 3011 patients in China. Eur J Surg Oncol 2008;34(5):541-6.
10. Beer S, Komatsubara K, Bellovin DI, Kurobe M, Sylvester K, Felsher DW. Hepatotoxin-induced changes in the adult murine liver promote MYC-induced tumorigenesis. PLoS One 2008;3(6):e2493.
11. Duong FH, Christen V, Filipowicz M, Heim MH. S-Adenosylmethionine and betaine correct hepatitis C virus induced inhibition of interferon signaling in vitro. Hepatology 2006;43(4):796-806.
12. Jemal A, Bray F, Center MM, Ferlay J, Ward E, Forman D. Global cancer statistics. CA Cancer J Clin 2011;61(2):69-90.
13. Landry JJ, Pyl PT, Rausch T, Zichner T, Tekkedil MM, Stütz AM, et al. The genomic and transcriptomic landscape of a HeLa cell line. G3 (Bethesda) 2013;3(8):1213-24.
14. Robert AW. Multistep tumorigenesis in the biology of cancer. Garland Sci 2007;11:399-462.
15. Gullett NP, Ruhul Amin AR, Bayraktar S, Pezzuto JM, Shin DM, Khuri FR, et al. Cancer prevention with natural compounds. Semin Oncol 2010;37(3):258-81.
16. Vaidya AB, Vaidya RA. Roots of modern drugs in reverse pharmacology. Med Update 2010;20:871-9.
17. Seshadri S, Beiser A, Selhub J, Jacques PF, Rosenberg IH, D’Agostino RB, et al. Plasma homocysteine as a risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. N Engl J Med 2002;346(7):476-83.
18. Steenge GR, Verhoef P, Katan MB. Betaine supplementation lowers plasma homocysteine in healthy men and women. J Nutr 2003;133(5):1291-5.
19. Schwahn BC, Chen Z, Laryea MD, Wendel U, Lussier-Cacan S, Genest J Jr, et al. Homocysteine-betaine interactions in a murine model of 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency. FASEB J 2003;17(3):512-4.
20. James SJ, Melnyk S, Pogribna M, Pogribny IP, Caudill MA. Elevation in S-adenosylhomocysteine and DNA hypomethylation: Potential epigenetic mechanism for homocysteine-related pathology. J Nutr 2002;132 8 Suppl:2361S-6.
21. Dudman NP, Wilcken DE, Wang J, Lynch JF, Macey D, Lundberg P. Disordered methionine/homocysteine metabolism in premature vascular disease. Its occurrence, cofactor therapy, and enzymology. Arterioscler Thromb 1993;13(9):1253-60.
22. Surtees R, Bowron A, Leonard J. Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma total homocysteine and related metabolites in children with cystathionine beta-synthase deficiency: The effect of treatment. Pediatr Res 1997;42(5):577-82.
23. Kishi T, Kawamura I, Harada Y, Eguchi T, Sakura N, Ueda K, et al. Effect of betaine on S-adenosylmethionine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid in a patient with methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency and peripheral neuropathy. J Inherit Metab Dis 1994;17:560-5.
24. Angulo P, Lindor KD. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2002;17 Suppl: S186-90.
25. Jou J, Choi SS, Diehl AM. Mechanisms of disease progression in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Semin Liver Dis 2008;28(7):370-9.
26. Ludwig J, Viggiano TR, McGill DB, Oh BJ. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis: Mayo clinic experiences with a hitherto unnamed disease. Mayo Clin Proc 1980;55(7):434-8.
27. Powell EE, Cooksley WG, Hanson R, Searle J, Halliday JW, Powell LW. The natural history of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis: A follow-up study of forty-two patients for up to 21 years. Hepatology 1990;11(1):74-80.
28. Achary SR, Devla MN, Acharya NS, Kumar V. Dietary supplements: A legal status in India and in foreign countries. Int J Pharm Pham Sci 2011;3:7-12.
304 Views | 718 Downloads
How to Cite
M, J., and V. V. “BETAINE SUPPLEMENTATION FOR VARIOUS CLINICAL DISORDERS”. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, Vol. 10, no. 10, Sept. 2017, pp. 27-31, doi:10.22159/ajpcr.2017.v10i10.18075.
Review Article(s)