Betaine supplementation decreases plasma homocysteine in healthy adult participants: a meta-analysis

J Chiropr Med. 2013 Mar;12(1):20-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2012.11.001.


Objective: Betaine supplementation has been shown to be an effective agent for decreasing plasma homocysteine in healthy adults. Studies in healthy volunteers show that 6 g/d of betaine lowers plasma homocysteine concentrations by 5% to 20%. The purpose of this study was to perform a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials that used daily betaine supplementation to identify the range in betaine's effects on lowering homocysteine.

Methods: Five randomized controlled trials published between 2002 and 2010 were identified using MEDLINE and a manual search. All 5 studies used health adult participants who were supplemented with at least 4 g/d of betaine for between 6 and 24 weeks. A meta-analysis was carried out using a random-effects model, and the overall effect size was calculated for changes in plasma homocysteine.

Results: The pooled estimate of effect for betaine supplementation on plasma homocysteine was a reduction of 1.23 μmol/L, which was statistically significant (95% confidence interval, - 1.61 to - 0.85; P = .01).

Conclusion: Supplementation with at least 4g/d of betaine for a minimum of 6 weeks can lower plasma homocysteine.

Keywords: Betaine; Homocysteine; Meta-analysis.