Written by Brenton Wight, Health Researcher, LeanMachine
Copyright © 1999-2021 Brenton Wight, LeanMachine
This site is non-profit, existing only to help people improve health and immunity
Updated 16th June 2020
TMG (Trimethylglycine) is a powerful nutrient, much like a vitamin, functioning as methyl donor, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, energy booster, toxin remover, immune booster and more.
Also called betaine (first isolated from sugar beets) but different from Betaine Hydrochloride.
TMG the Methyl Donor
The TMG molecule comprises three methyl groups (CH3) joined to one molecule of glycine (C2H5NO2). The benefit of TMG is that it releases easily one, two, or all three of the methyl groups.
Releasing one methyl group then leaves behind DMG (Dimethylglycine) which is just TMG with only two methyl groups. Releasing all methyl groups leaves just Glycine, which is the smallest molecule of all of the amino acids, which allows it to go almost anywhere in the body, including crossing the blood-brain barrier.
DMG is considered a B-complex vitamin, shown to help:
- Behaviour and speech in autistic children and adults
- ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Neurological function
- Reducing seizures
- Stress tolerance
- Oxygen utilisation
- Liver activity
- Athletic performance
- Anti-viral and anti-bacterial
- Immune boosting
- Shrinking tumours
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Respiratory disorders
- Alcoholism, drug addiction.
- Cholesterol and triglycerides
- Blood pressure
- Blood glucose
Although DMG has all of these benefits, and is available as a supplement, LeanMachine recommends that people supplement with TMG as we then receive all of the benefits of DMG plus the benefit of 50% better methylation.
Methyl groups (CH3) are essential for millions of biochemical reactions every second in the body, these are a few examples:
- Lowering homocysteine, an amino acid, which inflames arteries when levels rise, leading to “hardening of the arteries”. Homocysteine levels are a much better indicator of cardiovascular disease than cholesterol. High homocysteine is commonly caused by insufficient methyl groups. The body gets methyl groups from TMG, Active Folate, Active Vitamin B-12, SAM-e, DMAE, Methionine, Taurine, Cysteine and Vitamin B-6.
Other causes of high homocysteine are mercury and copper toxicity. High homocysteine also causes methionine deficiency, in turn causing SAM-e (S-Adenosyl Methionine) deficiency which can lead to depression. Methionine is required for protein synthesis
- Excess homocysteine also leads to osteoporosis, birth defects, cancer, ageing and free radicals, all helped by TMG
- Methyl groups are required for the Phase 2, P450 liver detoxification pathway, a critical biochemical sequence of events. Fat-soluble toxins are joined to a methyl group, enabling a greater water solubility, then allowing the liver to remove them from the body. For toxins unable to be removed, methylation helps render them less toxic
- TMG increases production of SAM-e, helping to reduce depression
- TMG reduces risk of diabetes, as insulin release and insulin activity rely on methyl group donation
- TMG donates methyl groups for protein synthesis (biosynthesis), the copying of genetic code from DNA to RNA (genetic transcription), then to the synthesis (formation) of every chemical in the body
- TMG insufficiency causes biosynthesis slowing, telomeres shortening, and genetic errors (transcription errors) raises cancer risk from DNA mutations
The Methylation Process
This is a vital and most common chemical process in hundreds of essential chemical reactions, including:
- Methylation is essential for manufacture of all the chemicals for the body
- Stops certain viruses that could damage DNA
- Stops the production of trophoblast (fast-growing cells that may lead to cancer)
- Suppresses replication of DNA in areas where the body does not want it replicated
- Important for neurological chemicals and blood chemicals
- Corrects timing problems of the X chromosome in cell replication
- Causea a genetic trait to come from only one parent, and not both
- Prevents some genetic diseases
- Helps prevent shortening of gene telomeres
- Methylation is a primary method of removing toxins in the phase 2 liver detoxification system
- Methylation converts toxins of all kinds from insoluble, less soluble or fat-soluble compounds into water-soluble compounds to allow excretion. Larger molecules are eliminated through the bile, smaller ones are excreted in the urine
- Methylation is required for synthesis of dopamine and serotonin, improving mood, energy, wellbeing, alertness, concentration, and visual clarity
- Methylation helps with liver detoxification
- Methylation is required for conversion of homocysteine to methionine, which converts to other amino acids by various pathways
- Methylation helps balance hormones such as estrogens, reducing risk of estrogen-related cancers
- Reduces inflammation by removing toxins, balancing hormones, synthesising neurotransmitters and other methods
- Methylation protects the mitochondria and adaptive energy production to stop us from becoming very tired
- Restores SAM-e in spinal fluid, working as a methyl donor when restored by methyl groups
- Methylation is required for the body to make CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10), vital for heart health and energy production in the mitochondria
- Methylation increases muscle mass, important in cancer and other wasting diseases, and for general health
- Methylation may improve libido in some people
Who needs TMG?
Almost everyone needs supplemental TMG, even healthy people with a healthy diet, to provide enough methylation for modern life. Those subject to stress, toxins, cardiovascular disease, mental illness, depression, fatigue, exhaustion or almost any other medical condition, almost certainly need extra TMG.
Other benefits of TMG
The Parasympathetic System
TMG can improve the parasympathetic system, helping balance the autonomic nervous system. Hair mineral analyses show about half the population has an autonomic nervous system imbalance (sympathetic dominance), where the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system is “switched on” too often and too long, usually due to stress, causing many chronic health conditions. TMG may help reverse any imbalance, contributing to healing. Some doctors use “sympathetic dominance” in a different context such as “a sympathetic state of body chemistry” which is different from “sympathetic dominance” used here.
The MTHFR Defect
Almost half the people on Earth have the abnormal MTHFR gene expression, where the biosynthesis of folate is reduced, sometimes marginally, sometimes largely.
Often incorrectly called a “genetic defect” when it is actually a transcription error, polymorphism or abnormal gene expression where errors occur in copying the DNA code rather than a problem with the actual DNA code.
This is why Active Folate has benefits, as it is already in the (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolate form required by the body, while regular folate must be converted in the body to this form.
TMG can help supply the methyl groups where insufficent folate cannot. Active folate can be up to 700% more useful in the body, compared to regular folic acid. Note that folic acid is a cheap folate substitute used in many foods claiming to be “folate enriched” but folic acid may prevent absorption of real folate in foods or active folate supplements, and LeanMachine advises total avoidance of foods or supplements containing folic acid.
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
There are not many reports on these properties, but they do exist, possibly as a result of methyl group donation
Effects on the Brain
TMG has a positive effect on the brain, likely due to methylation and SAM-e production. Recommended for those at high risk for Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinsons, depression, anxiety, seizures, migraine headache, ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder), MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and other brain conditions.
1. Heart Disease
SAM-e is used for heart disease, also for fibromyalgia, abdominal pain, osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, chronic lower back pain, ageing, CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), improving mental performance, liver disease, spinal cord injury, lead poisoning, to break down bilirubin or porphyrin (or precursors).
SAM-e is often taken for PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and a more severe form PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder).
IV use of SAM-e
IV (Intravenous) use of SAM-e is used for depression, osteoarthritis, AIDS-related nervous system disorders, fibromyalgia, liver disease, cirrhosis, and intrahepatic cholestasis (a liver disorder in pregnant women)
SAM-e is often injected for fibromyalgia, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Effects on Digestion
TMG aids digestion, again likely because of positive methylation throughout the body.
Glycine is the component left over when all three methyl groups have been donated from TMG.
Glycine is the smallest of the amino acids and very important for collagen formation and many other functions. Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is used for connective tissue: Tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin, nails, arteries, veins, etc. Without collagen, we could not stand up, our body would be a pile of mush on the floor!
Glycine, in large doses (up to 3000 mg daily), has been found helpful for sleep and alertness. Although not recommended as a first-line supplement for sleep, it may help if other supplements like Valerian fail to work. This may explain why TMG helps induce restful sleep in some individuals.
Natural sources of TMG
TMG is normally made in the body, but not enough when there are toxins present or the diet is poor or absorption of nutrients is a problem.
TMG can come from the diet. Foods high in TMG include broccoli, quinoa, spinach, lamb, chicken, and beets. A vegetarian or vegan diet tends to be very low in TMG. Foods high in TMG are usually also high in folate, and both are methyl donors.
However, most people do not eat enough of these foods, and even eating large amounts will not provide enough TMG for optimum health.
Risk factors for low TMG
Generally, the body cannot make enough, the modern diet is poor in TMG, and the number of pesticides, chemicals, heavy metal contamination uses up all TMG available.
- Mercury is a poison that lowers TMG production in the body, and at the same time increases the need for TMG in the body. Almost everyone is mercury toxic now, as mercury is everywhere in the environment, especially in seafood and in dental amalgam fillings
- Copper toxicity also interferes with TMG, and most people today are toxic from copper pipes, tapware, cookware even if blood or urine tests are negative. While copper is essential for the body to build hemoglobin in blood, we need Chelated Copper from food or supplements, not metallic copper from copper pipes and cookware. Zinc deficiencies cause accumulation of copper in the body, and women have a higher risk than men. Causes headaches, female organ problems, depression, anxiety, skin conditions. Too much zinc (and/or magnesium) competes with copper for absorption, often leading to a copper deficiency.
Supplementary TMG is helpful for most people because of low body production, low in the diet, and higher requirements in our toxic world.
TMG 1000mg 100 tablets (most popular, best value).
Stress, inflammation, inflammation and some diseases increase our need for more TMG.
Dosage of TMG
- Women: Up to 1000 mg daily
- Men: Up to 3000 mg daily
- Children: Less than adults, in proportion to body weight
There are no reliable guides or tests to determine TMG dosage, but the figures above should be a good starting point.
If the sodium/potassium ratio is low, extra TMG may help.
Do not overdose, as too much TMG may lead to over-methylation, causing fatigue, nausea, hair loss, dizziness or other symptoms.
Most people have no side effects from TMG apart from feeling better, getting better sleep and having more energy.
Do not continue a high dose for extended periods.
Children need proportionately less TMG than adults, depending on their size and weight, but babies generally do not need TMG. Older children may need about 250 to 500 mg daily.
TMG is available as tablets, liquid capsules or crystals. Some children and the elderly may have problems with swallowing tablets. TMG has a sweet taste, so TMG crystals can be simply added to food.
Some people have problems tolerating TMG, so they may need a smaller dose. Try reducing the dose until any symptoms disappear.
People who have unresolved resentments seem to have more problems taking TMG, as an enzyme is activated which can cause anger, fear, depression or anxiety symptoms. These symptoms disappear if the dose is reduced or eliminated, but if one can tolerate the symptoms, TMG may help the person resolve their issues of conflict.
Some reports suggest that too much TMG may cause diarrhea and nausea, and may raise cholesterol levels, so those with high cholesterol should keep the level monitored.
Several factors affect poor methylation, such as:
- Raw vegetables are considered healthy, but cooked vegetables provide more dietary methyl groups
- Sugars in any form appear to harm correct methylation, and are bad for our health anyway
- Fermented foods are healthy, but are problem for methylation because:
- Some contain aldehydes (toxic to the liver), including kombucha tea, kimchi, and most fermented grains
- They contain ferments, which are bacteria or yeasts
Safer fermented foods, eaten in moderation, include yogurt, kefir, miso and most good quality cheeses
- Too much animal protein in the diet can cause high methionine and reduce methylation
- Fighting inflammation or infections consumes methyl groups, requiring more methylation
- Heavy metal toxicity, especially copper and mercury, interfere with methyl group formation
- High-dose niacin or niacinamide cause the body to use up methyl groups to detoxify and excrete niacin through the liver. Doses less than 50 mg daily are generally tolerated well
- Any liver toxins will reduce formation of methyl donors, also liver detoxification pathways require methyl groups, using up more methyl groups
- Methyl donor production seems to decrease with age, so seniors need more TMG
- Women of child-bearing age have much better methylation than men. Men always need more TMG than women
Methylation and Cancer
Cancer increases the need for methylating agents like TMG. People often die with cancer because they cannot eliminate their toxic metals and chemicals because of poor liver methylation, so toxins accumulate until death occurs.
Hair Mineral Analysis
More TMG may be required if a hair mineral test reveals:
- High zinc level, which may indicate presence of hidden toxic metals
- “Four lows pattern” meaning all four electrolyte minerals low: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium. Indicates impaired methylation
- High mercury, becoming more common
- High copper
- High levels of the other toxic metals
These results indicate long-term toxic metal exposure.
LeanMachine is not a doctor, and everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been researching nutrition and health since 2010 and has completed many relevant studies including:
Open2Study, Australia – Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia – Foundations of Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia – Chemistry – Building Blocks of the World
University of Washington, USA – Energy, Diet and Weight
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics II
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Principles of Human Nutrition
TUFTS University, USA – Nutrition and Medicine
TUFTS University, USA – Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease I and Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease II
Technical Learning College, USA – Western Herbology, Identification, Formulas
Bath University, England – Inside Cancer
WebMD Education – The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
WebMD Education – High Potassium: Causes and Reasons to Treat
Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands – Anatomy of the Abdomen and Pelvis
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain
LeanMachine has now examined thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.
Updated 16th June 2020, Copyright © 1999-2021 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601287