Dimethylglycine (DMG) is an amino acid with quite an exciting history.
Its use in health and maintenance goes back to the 1960s, when the Soviet Union introduced the idea that there was a vitamin B15 and called it calcium pangamate.
This particular substance could be very beneficial to human health, but time and research led us to understand the active substance behind the supposed vitamin B15 was, in fact, dimethylglycine. It turned out this was the nutrient that proved incredibly valuable to energy, healthy neurological function, athletic performance, liver health and more.*
DMG is a derivative of the amino acid glycine, with two extra methyl groups attached to it. These methyl groups are metabolized and absorbed via the one-carbon pathway. DMG can be effective because it breaks down and produces building blocks for a wide range of fundamental biological molecules in the body, including neurotransmitters, hormones, antibodies and various structures that help in the energy cycle.* In a broader sense, DMG is a potent metabolic enhancer that boosts a myriad of vital bodily functions.
DMG common uses
While research is still emerging, doctors are already recommending DMG as studies indicate it to be highly beneficial for many people. There are also a number of surprising benefits of DMG supplements.*
An immune modulator is any nutrient or substance that enhances the immune system’s response to a challenge. DMG enhances immune function, particularly in the face of adversity.*1 It works by enhancing the production of T cells, B cells and macrophages; therefore, supporting the body in overcoming and preventing the onset of various conditions.*
Many people who adopt a dimethylglycine-rich program, including supplementation, could experience an improved overall immunity.* One study on DMG’s immune-boosting properties reported a group given DMG had a 400% increase in antibody production.*
One of the earlier discoveries found DMG could be highly useful for athletes by helping to increase performance and endurance.* Use on thoroughbreds showed DMG could allow the body to function longer without significant fatigue, without muscle degeneration and with better oxygen utilization.* Research has also found DMG may limit lactic acid build-up under aerobic metabolism.*2
Not only is this important for endurance athletes, but also for anyone who could benefit from less fatigue and more endurance. Truck drivers, students, shift workers and people working long hours often are required to maintain higher levels of physical and mental alertness.
One study found DMG taken at higher levels could reduce what marathon runners call the “18-mile hitting-the-wall factor,” supporting runners in both their time and recovery.3 Many athletes are also using DMG for general immune support, as intense exercise leaves the body’s immune system depleted.*
Dimethylglycine works to enhance the function of the heart and the circulatory system, so the body could have fewer issues with degeneration.* Studies have found DMG improved cardiovascular function, improved oxygen utilization, helped moderate cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and homocysteine, a marker for cardiovascular health.*4
Homocysteine requires a methyl group to convert it to methionine, and DMG produces methyl groups for the transmethylation and methylation processes. Its methylation properties make DMG ideal for supporting better cardiovascular function.* Some practitioners report promising results using a combination of CoQ10, omega 3 fatty acids and DMG for improved heart health and function.*
Liver detoxification support
There are various pathways for the body to eliminate toxic substances, and DMG can contribute to detoxifying and aiding in the liver’s processes of cleaning out these substances. Studies have shown the methylation pathway to be critical in eliminating toxins.*5 DMG enhances glutathione production, which is often thought of as the “master detoxifier” and free-radical fighter in the liver.* DMG also works as a lipotropic agent, which can help to support liver health.*
Perhaps DMG’s most promising and exciting uses are related to cognition. In addition to improving circulation and oxygen utilization, DMG could enhance the production of neurotransmitters in the brain as well as phosphocreatine*6 (an important energy molecule).
Phosphocreatine is a precursor that helps boost ATP production, and DMG produces both the glycine and the methyl groups needed to produce the creatine that goes into phosphocreatine.* This combination can dramatically enhance brain function.*
While we cannot make any medical claims at this time, fascinating research and case studies are revealing DMG’s impact on repetitive behavior, communication challenges and eye contact.*
Inflammation, oxidation and aging
DMG also supports a healthy inflammatory response and is a potent free-radical fighter, helping to sequester and eliminate free radicals, which can cause harm to organ systems and cell function.* DMG’s helpful mechanisms, as well as being an effective detoxifier, makes it an important substance for supporting healthy aging.
Many of the uses and benefits discussed above result from DMG working as an adaptogen, as it helps the body adapt to physically and mentally stressful experiences.* This includes boosting the immune and cardiovascular systems, particularly in times of heightened stress.*
Foods versus supplementation
DMG exists in certain foods, such as seeds, grains, organic liver and beets, but at extremely low levels. However, it is challenging — if not impossible — to derive increases in DMG from foods alone because it is an intermediate. Foods rich in choline and trimethylglycine or betaine support the metabolism producing DMG, meaning the foods themselves contain precursors to DMG, not the substance itself. A program rich in both precursor foods and appropriate DMG supplementation is the best approach for most people.
DMG is essential in supporting methylation pathways, its role as an adaptogen and its role in providing building blocks for neurotransmitters.* Hopefully, more specific chemical research in the future will allow us to use DMG to combat several aging conditions and improve well-being, vitality and overall health of aging individuals.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
- Reap EA, Lawson JW. Stimulation of the immune response by dimethylglycine, a nontoxic metabolite. J Lab Clin Med. 1990;115(4):481-6. NCBI website. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1691258. Accessed Oct. 4, 2023.
- Greene H, et. al. The effect of N,N-dimethylglycine on athletic performance in horses and mules. Pferdeheilkunde. 1996;12(4):499-501. Research Gate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262217633_The_effect_of_NN-dimethylglycine_on_athletic_performance_at_altitude_in_horses_and_mules. Accessed Oct. 4, 2023.
- Kendall RV, Lawson JW. Recent Findings on N,N-Dimethylglycine (DMG): A nutrient for the new millennium. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. May 2000. Food Science Corp. https://info.vetriscience.com/white_papers/DMG_Townsend letter_2000.pdf. Accessed Oct. 4, 2023.
- Cole W. Functional Medicine. The Future of Natural Healthcare. Cole Natural Health Centers website. https://drwillcole.com/functional-medicine-doctor. Accessed Oct. 4, 2023.
- Lee MY, et. al. Effects of sarcosine and N, N-dimethylglycine on NMDA receptor-mediated excitatory field potentials. J Biomed Sci. 2017;24:18. NCBI website. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5331637/. Accessed Oct. 4, 2023.
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