Natural betaine from DuPont Nutrition & Health improved the body composition, performance and power of strength-trained men who consumed the sugar beet extract every day over a six-week period.
Betaine has been shown to improve body composition in several animal studies, but this is the first clinical study to demonstrate this benefit in humans. Conducted at the Springfield College Human Performance Laboratory in Massachusetts, the double-blinded study compared the effect of betaine supplementation with a placebo. The participants were 18- to 35-year-old men who regularly undertook resistance training.
During the six-week treatment period, the men were required to follow a strict training program, comprising of exercises commonly performed by weight lifters.
Leaner and more powerful
Measurements at the end of the study showed a significant improvement in body composition in the group that received a daily betaine supplement (versus placebo). Here, lean muscle mass was increased and body fat percentage reduced.
In addition, arm size and bench press work capacity had increased, and a trend toward improved power was observed.
Stuart Craig, Ph.D., DuPont Nutrition & Health co-authored the study.
“These results confirm that the addition of betaine to sports performance foods, beverages and dietary supplements can provide differentiating benefits when training,” he stated.
“This is supported by several previous performance studies as well as two papers published earlier this year highlighting the role betaine plays in building muscle.”
The first study from the University of Connecticut demonstrated that betaine supplementation before exercise enhanced the body’s hormonal responses and signaling pathway activity associated with an increase in skeletal muscle protein synthesis. The second study, conducted at San Raffaele Scientific Institute, showed that in a cell culture system, betaine promoted muscle fiber development and growth through a pathway involving IGF-1 activation.
Taken together, these three studies provide further support for the role of betaine in performance, body composition and hypertrophy. With an increasing number of consumers focusing on overall body composition—rather than just weight loss—betaine may represent an expanded opportunity for sports nutrition marketers.
According to Greg Paul, Ph.D., marketing director at DuPont Nutrition & Health, “This new betaine research signals benefits for more mainstream consumers looking to improve body composition, as well as core sports nutrition consumers seeking improved performance and power.”
DuPont is a leading global supplier of betaine, namely BetaPower™ Natural Betaine, which was used for the clinical study. Betaine is currently approved for use in foods, beverages and supplements in North America and in supplements in Europe.
Titled, “Effects of betaine on body composition, performance and homocysteine thiolactone,” the study has been published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. The lead author is Jason M. Cholewa, assistant professor of exercise and sport science at Coastal Carolina University.