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The effect of low doses of betaine on plasma homocysteine in healthy volunteers

  • Georg Alfthan (a1), Kaisa Tapani (a2), Katja Nissinen (a3), Janna Saarela (a4) and Antti Aro (a1)...
Abstract

Homocysteine is a risk factor for vascular diseases, and lowering of plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) may be beneficial for health. Homocysteine can be remethylated to methionine by betaine–homocysteine methyltransferase using betaine (2(N,N,N-trimethyl)glycine) as methyl donor. A dose of 6 g betaine/d has been used in the treatment of homocystinuria, but data on the dose–response are scarce. Thirty-four healthy men and women were supplied with doses of 1, 3 and 6 g betaine and then with 6 g betaine + 1 mg folic acid for four consecutive 1-week periods. The mean plasma tHcy concentration decreased by 1·1 (NS), 10·0 and 14·0 % (P<0·001) after supplementation with 1, 3 and 6 g betaine respectively. A further decrease in plasma tHcy by 5 % (P<0·01) was achieved by combining 1 mg folic acid with the 6 g betaine dose. Plasma betaine increased from 31 (SD 13) to 255 (SD 136) μmol/l in a dose-dependent manner (R2 0·97). We conclude that plasma tHcy is lowered rapidly and significantly by 3 or 6 g betaine/d in healthy men and women.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Dr Georg Alfthan, fax +3589 47448695, email georg.alfthan@ktl.fi
References
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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
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