Category Archives: TMG

Folate + B12 Offer No Sensomotor Speed Benefit Despite Decreasing Homocysteine


The association of betaine, homocysteine and related metabolites with cognitive function in Dutch elderly people.

The importance of the one-carbon metabolites, choline and homocysteine, to brain function is well known. However, the associations between the one-carbon metabolites choline, betaine, methionine and dimethylglycine with cognition in elderly are unclear. We therefore examined the associations of these metabolites with cognition in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Individuals (n 195) were randomized to receive daily oral capsules with either 1000 microg cobalamin (vitamin B12), or 1000 microg cobalamin plus 400 microg folic acid, or placebo for 24 weeks. Concentrations of homocysteine, methionine, choline, betaine and dimethylglycine were assessed before and after 12 and 24 weeks of treatment. Cognitive function, including domains of attention, construction, sensomotor speed, memory and executive function, was assessed before and after 24 weeks of treatment. At baseline, elevated plasma homocysteine was associated with lower performance of attention, construction, sensomotor speed and executive function. In addition, betaine was positively associated with better performance of construction, sensomotor speed and executive function, whereas elevated concentrations of methionine were positively associated with sensomotor speed. Daily combined supplementation with cobalamin plus folic acid decreased total homocysteine concentrations by 36%, and increased betaine concentrations by 38%. Participants with the largest increases in betaine concentrations showed a borderline significant (P = 0.07) higher memory performance compared to those without it. Although this trial observed associations of homocysteine and betaine with cognitive domains prior to supplementation, decreased concentrations of homocysteine were not related to improved cognitive performance. There was a tendency of participants with the largest increases in betaine concentrations to show the greatest improvement in memory function.

Eussen SJ, Ueland PM, Clarke R, Blom HJ…
Br. J. Nutr. Nov 2007
PMID: 17537289

TMG No Benefit for Bones in Homocystinuria


The effect of oral betaine on vertebral body bone density in pyridoxine-non-responsive homocystinuria.

Five pyridoxine-non-responsive homocystinuric patients aged 5 to 32 years were treated with oral betaine, 3 g b.i.d, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-year crossover study of its effect on bone mineralization. Betaine therapy significantly reduced mean plasma homocystine (36 +/- 9 (SEM) mumol L-1 to 9 +/- 4 mumol L-1), with variable increases in plasma methionine and no adverse effects. Bone density, measured by computerized tomographic scanning of vertebral bodies, was below normal in all patients at the start of the study, and was not significantly altered by betaine therapy administered according to this protocol.

Gahl WA, Bernardini I, Chen S, Kurtz D…
J. Inherit. Metab. Dis. 1988
PMID: 3148071

Why is this interesting? It’s interesting because several studies show an association between homocysteine and osteoporosis. TMG is known to lower homocysteine. Yet, in this study, there was no increase in bone density despite homocysteine being cut 75%.