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From the Journal of the MegaHealth Society [1:4]. Copyright (c) 1984, 1997, 1998. All rights reserved.
by John A. Mann
Reprinted from The Journal of the MegaHealth Society, Vol. 1, No. 4, 1984.
Dimethylglycine (DMG), also known as pangamic acid or vitamin B-15, has been the subject of much controversy and confusion. The FDA has waged obsessive war against it. The prestigious Merck Index contradicts itself about the identity of B-15, and in this confusion many manufacturers have foisted on the public several bogus products, including a potentially dangerous drug. The FDA did nothing about this but instead fought to ban DMGthe real B-15. They failed, but somehow persuaded the court to classify DMG as a food additive, even though it is never used as such, occurs naturally in food, and is produced by the body. This classification gives the FDA power to restrict its use in combination with other substances. The B-15 of legitimate commerce, like that used in Soviet experiments, combined DMG with calcium gluconate. The FDA now forbids this combination as well as adding DMG to multi-ingredient formulas, but cannot restrict the sale of DMG as a single nutrient. Restriction as an additive is still unfortunate, since DMGs effectiveness can be enhanced with certain support nutrients.
We have studied the B-15 problem and can now offer a solution: a substance that is vastly superior to DMG, is less expensive and gets around FDA restrictions. It is called trimethlglycine (TMG) and is identical to DMG, except that it contains three methyl groups instead of two. When ingested, it is rapidly converted to DMG in the liver, giving all the benefits of B-15 and much more. It detoxifies homocysteine, a by product of methionine metabolism that is a powerful pro-oxidant and free-radical generator now known to be a leading cause of atherosclerosis.
If we get adequate B-6, much of the homocysteine we produce is converted to cystathione, and important antioxidant and free-radical deactivator. About half of our homocysteine is detoxified by this process. The other half is detoxified by a process called transmethylation. One way this happens is that 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, which we make from folic acid, donates its methyl group to the homocysteine and thereby converts it to the essential amino acid methionine. Homocysteine is nothing more than methionine deprived of its methyl group.
Another way that homocysteine is converted to methionine is through transfer of the methyl group from trimethlglycine (TMG). We get an additional benefit from this because TMG, losing its methyl, becomes DMG. In brief, this simple action detoxifies homocysteine, recycles methionine and supplies B-15. Also, TMG costs less than DMG and is not restricted by the FDA from combination with other foods or supplements.
TMG is also called betaine. We avoid this name because betaine is commonly sold in health food stores in its hydrochloride form as a hydrochloric acid supplement for people with weak digestive acids. This is not the desired form for the purposes described above. It is very acidic, must be taken only with meals and can otherwise cause severe gastric irritation. The desired material is free-base betaine, which tastes mildly sweet and causes no untoward side effects. In order to make a clear distincion and avoid confusion, we call the acid supplement betaine HCl and the detoxifying nutrient of this discussion TMG.
During the past year, our researchers have worked to develop a formulation that offered the ideal dosage range for TMG and its supporting nutrients. We have studied its effects on both athletes and sedentary persons and find it superior to ordinary B-15. In the past B-15 has been used by leading sports figures, including Muhammad Ali and members of the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Yankees, because it improves the use of oxygen and increases energy and stamina. We are finding TMG to be even more effective in this respect and believe that it is an ideal performance enhancer for Olympic contenders. We are currently testing it on triathalon competitors and will report results in future issue of JMS.