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J Nutr. 2003 Dec;133(12):4135-8.

Low dose betaine supplementation leads to immediate and long term lowering of plasma homocysteine in healthy men and women.

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Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences and Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition and Epidemiology, Wageningen, the Netherlands.


High plasma homocysteine is a risk for cardiovascular disease and can be lowered through supplementation with 6 g/d of betaine. However, dietary intake of betaine is approximately 0.5-2 g/d. Therefore, we investigated whether betaine supplementation in the range of dietary intake lowers plasma homocysteine concentrations in healthy adults. Four groups of 19 healthy subjects ingested three doses of betaine or placebo daily for 6 wk. A methionine loading test was performed during run in, on d 1 of betaine supplementation, and after 2 and 6 wk of betaine supplementation. Fasting plasma homocysteine after 6-wk daily intakes of 1.5, 3 and 6 g of betaine was 12% (P < 0.01), 15% (P < 0.002) and 20% (P < 0.0001) less than in the placebo group, respectively. Furthermore, the increase in plasma homocysteine after methionine loading on the 1st d of betaine supplementation was 16% (P < 0.06), 23% (P < 0.008) and 35% (P < 0.0002) less than in the placebo group, respectively, and after 6 wk of supplementation was 23% (P < 0.02), 30% (P < 0.003) and 40% (P < 0.0002) less, respectively. Thus, doses of betaine in the range of dietary intake reduce fasting and postmethionine loading plasma homocysteine concentrations. A betaine-rich diet might therefore lower cardiovascular disease risk.

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