Betaine battles insulin resistance



Individuals with insulin resistance (IR) do not regulate blood sugar (glucose) as effectively as those in the general population. Healthy people are able to tightly control sugar levels by using insulin to shuttle excess from the bloodstream into the muscles, liver, and brain, where it is used for fuel. When insulin resistance is present, glucose remains trapped in the bloodstream longer than it should. Aside from hindering intra-workout energy levels and post-workout glycogen resynthesis, IR is also believed to cause type II diabetes over time.


If you’re concerned about IR, you may want to consider consuming more betaine and choline. After monitoring the diets of nearly 2,400 individuals, researchers found an inverse correlation between consumption of these nutrients and the prevalence of IR. Put another way, individuals with the lowest intakes of betaine and choline had the highest frequency of insulin resistance.


Choline is a member of the b-vitamin family and assists with fat metabolism in the liver and cognitive performance and memory in the brain. Betaine helps maintain cellular hydration and is involved in the biosynthesis of creatine, which may partly account for its apparent ability to increase muscle power and endurance.



Although this study is observational, meaning direct cause and effect was not compared versus a control, it is interesting. There also appears to be little downside to adding a little more betaine and choline to your diet. In fact, most people probably don’t get enough. The FDA recently established a Reference Dietary Intake of 550 mg for choline from food and supplement sources of this nutrient.


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