TRIMETHYLGLYCINE OR TMG
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© May 2022, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
II. Functions Of TMG
III. Other Information
Trimethylglycine or TMG is a recent (2013) and amazing addition to all development programs. TMG is a methyl donor. It helps as an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, detoxifier, energy booster and more.
TMG is also called betaine because it was first isolated from sugar beets. It is not the same as betaine hydrochloride, however.
It is now part of all development programs. The dosage is 1000 mg daily for women and 3000 mg daily for men. Children need less, depending on their size.
SOURCES OF TMG
Dietary sources of TMG. The main foods high in TMG are broccoli, beets and many other vegetables. Cooking does not destroy the TMG in vegetables.
The problem is that most people do not eat nearly enough of these foods to get a sufficient amount of TMG from their diet. Also, even if one eats plenty of these vegetables, it is not nearly enough.
WHY SUPPLEMENT WITH TMG?
1. Toxic livers. TMG is excellent for the liver and for detoxification. Most people have toxicity of the liver and a supplement of TMG is helpful.
2. High demand. Stress, infections, inflammation and other disease conditions may use up the TMG the body makes, so more is needed. Toxic metals and toxic chemicals require more TMG in our bodies for their detoxification and removal.
3. Perhaps our food today does not contain enough TMG.
4. Not enough is made by the body. Many people do not make enough TMG today. The reason appears to be the presence of certain toxic metals, as explained below.
5. Mercury toxicity. Mercury is a poison metal that either interferes with TMG production in the body, or increases the body’s need for this amazing chemical.
Everyone is mercury toxic today because mercury is so widely distributed in the environment. Some people are more toxic than others with mercury, but we are all subject to it. If you eat any fish or seafood, toxicity will be much worse.
If you have silver/mercury dental amalgams, you also likely have more of it. Mercury can contribute to hundreds of health conditions. For more on mercury, read Mercury Toxicity on this site.
6. Copper toxicity. Copper toxicity also interferes with the production of TMG and/or increases our need for this chemical. Most people today are toxic with certain forms of copper, regardless of what blood, urine or other tests reveal.
In fact, these tests are unreliable to assess the copper balance, and most people’s bodies contain some toxic forms of copper such as amigo copper.
One cause of the copper toxicity is widespread zinc deficiencies in the soil and in our food. This tends to cause more accumulation of copper in the body. Women tend to be more copper toxic than men, although it affects both men and women.
Copper imbalance is responsible for most headaches, female organ problems, mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and panic attacks, skin conditions and more. For more on copper, read Copper Toxicity Syndrome on this website.
7. Cadmium toxicity. This deadly metal also increases the need for TMG, either by interfering with its production, or enhancing the demand for it in order to detoxify and remove cadmium from the body through the liver.
Cadmium toxicity is very common in our population. In part, this is due to widespread zinc deficiency in the soil, the food and in vegetarian-leaning and refined food diets. The body takes up cadmium if there is insufficient zinc available in the diet.
Cadmium is everywhere because it is still used to make the brake linings used in automobiles. The cadmium slowly wears off the brakes and blows around in the air. It finds its way into the water supplies and onto the land where the food is grown. This problem is easy to overcome, but no one seems to care. For more details, read Cadmium on this website.
THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF TMG
TMG consists of three methyl groups (CH3) joined to one molecule of the amino acid glycine. This is a very important type of structure because, when eaten in food or taken orally as a supplement, TMG easily lets go of two or even three of its methyl groups.
Letting go of one methyl group leaves a substance called dimethylglycine or DMG. Letting go of three methyl groups frees up a molecule of the amino acid glycine. These are discussed below.
Dimethylglycine. When TMG gives up a methyl group, it leaves a compound called dimethylglycine. Dimethylglycine is considered a B-complex vitamin and has been shown to assist with speech and behavior in autistic children and adults, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to improve neurological function, and to reduce seizure activity.
It can also help one handle stress, improves oxygen utilization, enhances liver activity and helps optimize athletic performance.
DMG also has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects. Dimethylglycine is used to improve the immune response, to shrink tumors, and to enhance anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-tumor defenses. It has also been shown to benefit chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, respiratory disorders, alcoholism, and drug addiction.
In addition, it appears to help reduce serum cholesterol and triglycerides, and to help normalize blood pressure and blood glucose. In short, it is quite amazing.
Note, however, that dimethylglycine is not used as a supplement in development, as it is very yin in Chinese medical terms, which is harmful for a development program. Also, it is not as good as TMG, which has all the benefits of DMG, and more.
Glycine. Glycine is the smallest of the amino acids. This is important in subtle ways. It is very important in the formation of collagen, among other functions. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and used for connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage, arteries, veins, and most other similar structures.
Glycine, in larger doses of up to 3000 mg daily, has been found helpful for sleep and alertness. Perhaps this is why TMG helps some people rest.
II. FUNCTIONS OF TMG
TMG is useful for the body as a methyl donor. In addition, it has other uses when broken down into DMG and glycine, or transformed into SAMe or other compounds such as methionine. Let us discuss a few of these.
A powerful and safe methyl donor. TMG easily donates three methyl groups to the body. Methyl groups (CH3) are required in millions of biochemical reactions in human and animal bodies. Here are just a few of the best studied examples:
1. Lowering homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid that, in excess, is irritating to the arteries and is strongly associated with inflammation and hardening of the arteries. In fact, the level of homocysteine correlates much better with heart disease than the level of cholesterol.
Doctors are beginning to realize this important link. High homocysteine occurs when there is not enough TMG or folic acid to donate enough methyl groups. There can be other causes, but this is the major cause.
As explained earlier, a deeper cause for this is the presence of mercury and copper toxicity, which are almost universal. However, the problem can be solved with a diet high in TMG and folate, or a TMG or folate supplement. One does not need both, in most cases.
High homocysteine, however, causes many other problems. It causes a deficiency of methionine, and this, in turn, can cause a deficiency of SAMe, causing depression in some people. Methionine is also needed for other biochemical reactions involving protein synthesis, another critical body function.
In fact, reducing excessive homocysteine helps with conditions ranging from osteoporosis and birth defects to cancer and aging. It also helps with antioxidant protection, as well.
2. Helping with liver detoxification. Methyl groups are absolutely essential for the Phase 2, P450 liver detoxification pathway. Within this critical biochemical sequence of events, fat-soluble or otherwise poorly soluble toxins that are difficult for the liver to remove are joined to a methyl group, and this helps prepare them for removal from the body. This is an amazing and vital chemical detoxification ability. In MOST people, it does not work well due living in a very toxic world.
Specifically, the methylation reactions enables toxins to become much more soluble in water. This allows the body to remove the toxins much better, and it often neutralizes some of their toxic properties, as well.
These toxins include all of the toxic metals in many forms and compounds, as well as hundreds of toxic chemicals. Much more could be written about this amazing system and how critical it is today for our health. This is one of the main benefits of TMG supplementation, I believe.
3. Alleviating depression. TMG increases the body’s natural production of SAMe or S-adenosyl methionine. This chemical can help reduce depression, in some cases. SAMe is an expensive supplement, and a more yin supplement, which is not good. It appears to be far better to just take TMG.
4. Reducing the chances of diabetes. Methyl groups are involved in insulin release and insulin activity. When the body does not have enough active methyl groups, diabetes is much more likely to arise.
5. Avoiding genetic problems. Methyl groups are needed for protein synthesis, also called biosynthesis. This is the copying of our genetic code from the DNA to RNA, and then from there the synthesis or formation of every chemical in our bodies. The copying of the DNA is also called genetic transcription.
Without enough TMG, biosynthesis can slow down, telomeres can shorten, and genetic errors, also called transcription errors, multiply, and health is definitely worse.
OTHER TMG BENEFITS
TMG has an overall parasympathetic effect. TMG seems to help restore balance to the autonomic nervous system, especially in those who are following a complete development program. This may be one of its most important benefits.
Hair mineral analyses reveal that about half the population has an autonomic nervous system imbalance that we call sympathetic dominance. It means their sympathetic or fight-or-flight nervous system is “on” too much of the time. This is very damaging for anyone’s health. A supplement of TMG can help reverse this imbalance, and thus contribute greatly to healing. For more on this important topic, read Sympathetic Dominance on this website.
Note: Other doctors use the words sympathetic dominance differently, usually to mean a sympathetic state of body chemistry. This is very different and has nothing to do with sympathetic dominance, as the word is used on this website.
TMG good for those with an MTHFR defect. Over 50% of the world’s population today has a mild to severe copying error in their cells that reduces the biosynthesis of folate in their bodies. This is mistakenly called a “genetic defect”, when it is no such thing. It is a transcription error or polymorphism or abnormal gene expression.
Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. These appear to be true, although I have not seen much medical literature about them. Perhaps more studies will be done on this in the future.
Profound effects on the brain, digestion and other body systems. TMG seems to affect many body systems, probably because methylation reactions are vital throughout the body.
What is most clear from our research, so far, is that it is a wonderful addition to a development program.
Not part of Dr. Eck’s program. Trimethylgycine was not part of Dr. Eck’s mineral balancing program.
III. OTHER INFORMATION
DOSAGE OF TMG
For adults. TMG comes in tablets or capsules of 500, 750 and 1000 mg. Endomet Labs does not sell TMG at this time, but it is widely available in health food stores and on the internet. Do not take DMG or dimethylglycine. Only take trimethylglycine or TMG.
All brands in the stores seem to work well. A few people have complained that the NOW brand of TMG picks up moisture and the pills fall apart. This would only occur in a damp climate. However, it still works.
Dosage. Adult women should take only 1000 mg daily. Men can take 3000 mg daily. If the sodium/potassium ratio is less than about 0.4 mg%, a little more TMG is often helpful, but this is a research area.
In rare cases, taking TMG causes hair loss. In our experience, it only occurs in women who are having trouble dealing with men.
Giving TMG to babies and children. Children starting at around age four need proportionately less TMG than adults, depending on their size and weight. Babies do not need it.
TMG is available in a liquid and powder or crystals, and this may be easier to give to children. TMG tastes sweet, so it may be possible to just add it to children’s food.
CAUTIONS WITH TMG
Most people report no side effects at all from taking TMG. Most just feel better. Often they report a little better sleep and perhaps a little more energy, when starting. However, there are several cautions:
1. Yin. TMG is a water-soluble substance similar to some B-complex vitamins, most of which tend to be quite yin. This is important because in development science one must avoid most supplements, including especially those that are quite yin. This is the reason to limit TMG intake, as explained earlier in this article.
The reason for avoiding yin foods, yin supplements, and yin procedures, yin lifestyles and yin thinking is that the bodies are already much too yin, and balancing the physics qualities of yin and yang is amazingly helpful for healing the body, mind and soul. For more on this CRITICAL TOPIC, please read Yin and Yang Healing and Yin Disease on this site.
2. A few people do not tolerate TMG well. They may just not need very much of it. However, our research indicates that, in some cases, the problem is that it brings up psychological issues or it detoxifies them too quickly.
In particular, men or women who have deep-seated resentments and perhaps some ambivalence about men seem to have more trouble taking TMG. It appears that TMG activates an enzyme system that is dormant or less active in those with male resentment issues. Taking TMG, for these people, can cause symptoms of anger, fear, depression or anxiety.
If this occurs, just reduce the dosage to a comfortable dose. The symptoms promptly go away when one reduces or stops the TMG. However, if one can tolerate the symptoms, one may move through the retracing of relationship issues much faster, so take what you can.
3. Other research reports. These suggest that too much TMG can cause diarrhea and nausea, and may adversely affect the cholesterol level. So far, TMG seems very safe, including for pregnancy in the doses we suggest.
HOW LONG SHOULD ONE TAKE TMG?
So far, all our clients need to continue taking TMG for at least 15 years. This is a subject of research. We have found no problems with this, so far.
IS OVERMETHYLATION A PROBLEM IF ONE TAKES TMG?
A few health authors believe that some people are overmethylated. However, we have not found this to be true, provided that women do not take more than 1000 mg of TMG daily and men do not take over 3000 mg daily. One must also follow the rest of a development diet and healing program.
IF TMG IS SO HELPFUL, WHY IS IT NOT USED MORE OFTEN?
TMG is used by the ton in the poultry and other livestock industries. There it is used as a food additive to improve the muscle meat and to regulate the amount of feed necessary to produce the best meat.
TMG is also recommended for some autistic children. It is not a popular supplement for human beings, perhaps for several possible reasons:
1. Methylation is somewhat complex. Most medical doctors, holistic doctors, nutritionists and naturopaths do not understand it well. For example, some doctors believe that a portion of the population is already overmethylated, and that more methyl groups are harmful. However, we have not observed this.
2. To lower homocysteine, most doctors suggest other nutrients. These are a combination of supplementary vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid rather than TMG, even though TMG may work better and is recommended for inherited homocysteinuria.
The reason for using B6, B12 and folic acid instead of TMG is that B6 and B12 help move the methyl groups around in certain ways and B6 offers an alternative pathway for the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. I am not sure, at this time, which is best, but both methods work, to the best of my knowledge.
3. TMG is simply not as well known by many in the nutrition professions. This article is designed to help demystify it. For more details, read Methylation.
1. Abdelmalek MF, Angulo P, Jorgensen RA, et al. Betaine, a promising new agent for patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis: results of a pilot study. Am J Gastroenterol . 2001;96:2711-2717.
2. Angulo P, Lindor KD. Treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver: present and emerging therapies. Semin Liver Dis. 2001;21:81-188.
3. Barak AJ, Beckenhauer HC, Junnila M, et al. Dietary betaine promotes generation of hepatic S-adenosylmethionine and protects the liver from ethanol-induced fatty infiltration. Alcohol Clin Exp Res . 1993;17:552-555.
4. Barak AJ, Beckenhauer HC, Tuma DJ. Betaine, ethanol and the liver: a review. Alcohol. 1996;13:395-398.
5. Frankel, P. and Madsen, F., Stop Homocysteine Through The Methylation Process, The Research Corner, 1998.
6. Gray ME, Titlow LW. The effect of pangamic acid on maximal treadmill performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc . 1982;14:424-427.
7. Kanbak G, Inal M, Baycu C. Ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity and protective effect of betaine. Cell Biochem Funct. 2001;19:281-285.
8. Mangoni AA, Jackson SH. Homocysteine and cardiovascular disease: current evidence and future prospects. Am J Med. 2002;112:556-565.
9. Murakami T, Nagamura Y, Hirano K. The recovering effect of betaine on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 1998;44:249-255.
10. Olthof MR, Van Vliet T, Boelsma E et al. Low dose betaine supplementation leads to immediate and long term lowering of plasma homocysteine in healthy men and women. J Nutr . 2003;133:4135-4138.
11. Olthof MR, Vliet TV, Verhoef P et al. Effect of homocysteine-lowering nutrients on blood lipids: results from four randomised, placebo-controlled studies in healthy humans. PLoS Med . 2005;2:e135.
12. Schwab U, Torronen A, Meririnne E et al. Orally administered betaine has an acute and dose-dependent effect on serum betaine and plasma homocysteine concentrations in healthy humans. J Nutr . 2005;136:34-38.
13. Wilcken DEL, Dudman NPB, Tyrrell PA. Homocystinuria due to cystathionine beta-synthase deficiency—the effects of betaine treatment in pyridoxine-responsive patients. Metabolism. 1985;34:1115-1121.