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Betain supplements reduce exercise fatigue

Posted in..: Research & Development
By Dwayne Jackson
Sep 2, 2011
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Betaine is a derivative of the amino acid glycine and exists in foods like wheat, beets, spinach, and shellfish. The body can also synthesize its own betaine through the oxidation of choline-containing compounds to assist in several important physiological functions in our bodies. Some of the more important roles of betaine in the body include, increased water retention (i.e., hydration) in cells, reduced inflammation, maintenance of intestinal function, DNA protection, and buffering of homocystine levels (from meat digestion). Additionally, it serves as a methyl donor to aid in creatine synthesis in skeletal muscle. 
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A recent placebo controlled trial, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, examined the effect of 15 days of betain supplementation on peak concentric and eccentric force during isokinetic bench press exercise. Subjects received either betain or placebo over 15 days and during this time were asked to visit the lab 5 times (separated by 72 hours between visits) for exercise testing sessions. After each exercise session subjects were asked to rate their muscle fatigue and soreness. At the end of 15 days subjects were asked to visit the lab once a week for 4 weeks without betain or placebo. After this washout period, subjects were given the opposite treatment (betain or placebo) for 15 days and the exercise testing protocol was repeated. The researchers reported no significant effect of betain versus placebo on maximum or concentric or eccentric force. However subjects reported a significant reduction in fatigue with betain supplementation. 

Hoffman JR, Ratamess NA, Kang J, Gonzalez AM, Beller NA, Craig SA. Effect of 15 days of betaine ingestion on concentric and eccentric force outputs during isokinetic exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Aug;25(8):2235-41.

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