• Name: betaine
  • Description: Betaine (or N,N,N-trimethylglycine) was named after its discovery in sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) in the 19th century. It is a small N-trimethylated amino acid, existing in zwitterionic form at neutr... al pH. It is now often called glycine betaine to distinguish it from other betaines that are widely distributed in microorganisms, plants, and animals. Many naturally occurring betaines serve as organic osmolytes, substances synthesized or taken up from the environment by cells for protection against osmotic stress, drought, high salinity, or high temperature. Intracellular accumulation of betaines permits water retention in cells, thus protecting from the effects of dehydration (Wikipedia). Betaine functions as a methyl donor in that it carries and donates methyl functional groups to facilitate necessary chemical processes. In particular, it methylates homocysteine to methionine, also producing N,N-dimethylglycine. The donation of methyl groups is important to proper liver function, cellular replication, and detoxification reactions. Betaine also plays a role in the manufacture of carnitine and serves to protect the kidneys from damage. Betaine comes from either the diet or by the oxidation of choline. Betaine insufficiency is associated with metabolic syndrome, lipid disorders, and diabetes, and may have a role in vascular and other diseases (PMID: 20346934 ). Betaine is important in development, from the pre-implantation embryo to infancy. Betaine is also widely regarded as an anti-oxidant. Betaine has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on NO release in activated microglial cells and may be an effective therapeutic component to control neurological disorders (PMID: 22801281 ). As a drug, betaine hydrochloride has been used as a source of hydrochloric acid in the treatment of hypochlorhydria. Betaine has also been used in the treatment of liver disorders, for hyperkalemia, for homocystinuria, and for gastrointestinal disturbances (Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th Ed, p1341).
Overview of age-variations
Age group comparisons
PMID Age/Age interval, Gender Value (unit of measurement) Method Sample
Linear regression
PMID Age/Age interval, Gender Value (unit of measurement) Method Sample
23838602 Age [17–85], Gender ⚥ 0.009 (β) UHPLC/MS/MS serum + plasma
log2 ratio/log2(FC)
PMID Age/Age interval, Gender Value (unit of measurement) Method Sample
  • Synonym:
    2-N,N,N-trimethylammonio acetate; abromine; Bet; N,N,N-trimethylglycine; 1-carboxy-N,N,N-trimethylmethanaminium inner salt; cystadane; trimethylammonioacetate; acidol; trimethylglycocoll; trimethylaminoacetate; trimethylglycine; N,N,N-trimethylammonioacetate; glycine betaine;(trimethylammoniumyl)acetate; acidin-pepsin
  • Chemical Formula:
  • Exact Mass g/mol:
  • Systematic name:
    Methanaminium, 1-carboxy-N,N,N-trimethyl-, hydroxide, inner salt; betaine
  • InChI:
  • InChI Key:
  • CAS number:
Related resources
Pathway info P = product of S = substrate of
Metabolite sources and localization
  • Metabolite location:
    Human organism, Body part, Extracellular, Human body biofluids, Biofluid tissues, Blood, Blood cells, Platelet, Plasma, Serum, Breast milk, Saliva, Urine, Organ, Gland, Adrenal gland, Adrenal cortex, Gonad, Testicle, Intestine, Kidney, Muscle, Skeletal muscle, Pancreas, Placenta, Skin, Skin tissue, Epidermis, Spleen, Tissue, Adipose tissue, Connective tissue, Connective tissue cell, Fibroblast, Cellular (general class), Subcellular, Cytoplasm, Excreta material, Feces
  • Metabolite source:
    Homo sapiens, endogenous metabolite
Linear regression
Sample: serum + plasma
PubMed PMID: 23838602
β = 0.009 (y = βx + α)
p-value < 0.05