Betaine-Workout-Benefits

Find Another Gear: The Muscle Energy Supplement


by Chris Shugart

The Betaine Boost

This healthy, natural substance helps you power through extra reps and longer workouts without crapping out.

John is a competitive CrossFitter. He loves it. As a big 225-pound guy, he excels in the heavy workouts. He smashes his opponents on the big lifts and the shorter-duration challenges.

But CrossFit doesnโ€™t allow for any fitness gaps. You might move from heavy deadlifts to rope climbing or a one-mile run, and then back to heavy deadliftsโ€ฆ all while a timer is running. Big John does not love that part.

Recently, I gave John a bag of supplement powder and taught him how to use it during his workouts. I didnโ€™t say much about it, just that it would help with his training, and he wouldnโ€™t fail a drug test. After a few weeks, he told me something interesting:

โ€œI donโ€™t know why, but my workouts are all easier now. I donโ€™t gas out, I get more reps, and I finish with energy to spare. Is there caffeine in that stuff?โ€

No, there isnโ€™t. Itโ€™s stimulant-free. But one of the seven performance-enhancing ingredients in the supplement (Surge Workout Nutrition Buy at Amazon) is something called betaine anhydrous (trimethylglycine or TMG), and I suspect John was feeling its effects.

What is Betaine Anhydrous? What Does It Do?

Betaine is a naturally occurring compound, technically a type of amino acid โ€“ a trimethyl derivative of glycine. Itโ€™s found mainly in beets, spinach, quinoa, and even some organ meats like veal liver. (Youโ€™d have to eat a whole lot of each to get enough betaine to enhance performance, however.) But if you can stuff enough betaine in you, it has the following effects:

Performance Effects

  • Increased work capacity or the ability to sustain muscular activity and maintain effort
  • Increased strength and muscle power output
  • Improved muscle endurance
  • Enhanced energy metabolism or the ability to maintain energy levels during prolonged or intense exercise
  • Reduced fatigue

Body Composition Effects

  • Increased muscle development
  • Decreased body fat

Health Effects

  • Promotes healthy liver function and cellular reproduction
  • Supports cardiovascular health
  • Amplifies the testosterone response and dampens the cortisol response to resistance training

All these effects are backed up by multiple studies, most conducted on athletes and experienced lifters, not newbies.

How Does Betaine Do That?

It gets complex, but in a nutshellโ€ฆ

  • Betaine acts as an osmolyte, helping to maintain cellular hydration and fluid balance. By regulating cell volume, betaine enhances cellular function and overall physiological efficiency during training, thereby supporting sustained performance and work capacity.
  • Betaine plays a role in the methionine-homocysteine cycle, where it serves as a methyl donor. This cycle is involved in the production of SAMe, a compound that participates in various methylation reactions, including those related to energy metabolism.
  • The effects on fatigue perception are attributed to betaine’s ability to support energy metabolism, maintain cellular hydration, and reduce the accumulation of metabolites associated with fatigue.
  • Several studies suggest that betaine may enhance muscle protein synthesis, promoting muscle growth and repair.
  • Betaine supplementation is linked to reductions in homocysteine levels and improvements in lipid profiles. These heart benefits indirectly enhance exercise performance by improving oxygen delivery, circulation, and overall cardiovascular function. Betaine also promotes fat metabolism in the liver and reduces fat accumulation.

See, pretty complex. But the nice thing about it is that most โ€œbody-awareโ€ lifters and athletes feel the effects the first time they try it, whether they know the deep science or not.

Where Do I Get Betaine?

Betaine anhydrous is part of the Surge Workout Nutrition (Buy at Amazon) formula, which also includes HBCD, citrulline malate, leucine, beta-alanine, malic acid, and electrolytes. And luckily, this formula doesnโ€™t taste anything like beets.

References

  1. Cholewa JM et al. Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013; 10: 39.
  2. Hobson RM et al. Effects of ฮฒ-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):25-37.
  3. Arazi, et al. Effects of short-term betaine supplementation on muscle endurance and indices of endocrine function following acute high-intensity resistance exercise in young athletes. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2022; 19(1): 1-16.



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