Study on mice suggests betaine supplementation may improve fat metabolism

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / uNoL
Getty Images / uNoL

Related tags betaine Fat mass Fat reduction Obesity

Mice fed a high fat ‘Western diet’ and supplemented with betaine exhibited ‘favorable metabolic changes,’ researchers report in a new study.

The study, published this month​ in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research ​and funded by ingredients company DuPont Nutrition & Health, revealed that obese mice supplemented with betaine had increased fat tissue carnitine, which may prevent lipid accumulation in fat tissues.

The researchers argued that the results back the potential benefits betaine has in reducing obesity.

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and DuPont Nutrition & Health penned the study. The ingredients they investigated were DuPont’s betaine (commercialized under the brand name Betafin BP20) and polydextrose (commercialized under the brand name Litesse Ultra).

They found no significant changes or benefits correlated to supplementation of polydextrose, alone or with betaine.

As for the changes linked to betaine supplementation alone, senior scientist Kaisa Airaksinen of DuPont Nutrition & Health, one of the co-authors, said: “Our previous in vitro adipose tissue experiments indicated that betaine reduces inflammation caused by hypoxia and in the current study we were able to see the same response in the in vivo obesity model.”

DuPont has invested in research around betaine and weight management for more than two decades, according to the company. Earlier this year, another study funded by the company found that betaine supplementation paired with exercise​ may reduce fat mass in women.

Study details

Researchers started with 50 four-week old male mice. For four weeks, 40 of them were fed a high-fat diet, while 10 were fed a low-fat diet.

The high-fat diet mice were randomly divided into four different groups: A water only group, a betaine only group, a polydextrose only group, and a betaine plus polydextrose group. Researchers supplemented the mice with the corresponding supplement once daily in drinking water.

At the same time, weight gain and cumulative energy intake were measured throughout the study.

They assessed the effects of diets and supplements through gene expression and the metabolite profile of adipose tissue, also known as fat.

“As expected, adipose tissue inflammation was present in high fat-fed animals,” ​they reported.

Observed among the betaine-supplemented mice was a mitigated, high-fat-diet-induced IL-6 expression, a marker of inflammation, compared to the other groups. Researchers also noted significant increases in betaine and butyrobetaine levels in fat for the betaine-supplemented mice.

Source: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research
Published online ahead of print, DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201800455
"High-fat diet, betaine, and polydextrose induce changes in adipose tissue inflammation and metabolism in C57BL/6j mice"
Authors: Kaisa Airaksinen, et al.

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