Also called trimethylglycine, betaine anhydrous is not as artificial as its lengthy name might suggest. It occurs naturally in the body and can also be found in spinach, seafoods, and beets — that’s where “betaine” gets its name from.
In recent years it’s become a popular supplement, particularly in fitness circles, because of research suggesting that it might improve strength and power output. It’s also gained some recognition for its potential role in reducing cortisol and homocysteine.
Best Betaine Anhydrous Supplements
- Best Overall — Transparent Labs RawSeries Betaine Anhydrous
- Best Bulk Option — BulkSupplements Betaine Anhydrous Trimethylglycine (TMG) Powder
- Best Unflavored Option — Nutricost Betaine Anhydrous Trimethylglycine (TMG)
- Most Pure — Muscle Feast Pure Betaine Anhydrous Trimethylglycine (TMG) Powder
- Best Tablets — NOW TMG 1000mg
- Best For Athletes — Life Extension TMG 500mg
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary.
Transparent Labs RawSeries posts a very good product at a very reasonable price — a combination that many people will appreciate. With a two and a half gram dosage per serving, this product posts a nice price per dose ratio making it a reasonable choice for someone looking to get a lot of betaine anhydrous in one go. It’s not the best bulk buy on the market, but it’s still pretty good.
This Betaine Anhydrous does not include any added sweeteners, artificial coloring, or artificial preservatives. It sports 200 servings — 500 grams — total per container.
This ingredients on the list eschew artificial preservatives, colorings, and sweeteners, which makes it a solid pick for those who prefer their supplements to be cleaner, so to speak. The lack of anything that conflicts with a gluten-free diet opens it up to a larger consumer base.
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs RawSeries Betaine Anhydrous
- Those who follow gluten-free diets.
- People looking for a good dose per serving powder.
- Anyone who doesn’t want any added preservatives in their supplements.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs RawSeries Betaine Anhydrous
- Anyone who would prefer a capsule or tablet.
- Folks who aren’t willing to wait longer shipping times.
The downsides here are apparent if you want a capsule or tablet option and not a powder. Since that isn’t really a fault of the manufacturer, we didn’t hit it hard in our scoring and it maintained it’s spot atop our rankings.
Best Bulk Option
BulkSupplements is a company that makes a huge variety of quality products in their own facilities — no outsourcing here. This means the betaine is free of sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, and gluten, sure, but they’re also lab tested for purity and potency. The best part? You can buy the supplements in bulk (up to a kilogram at a time), which can save some serious cash.
An extraordinarily well priced betaine that's made in a facility free from major allergens where it's lab tested for purity.
The product is made in a facility owned and operated by the vendors, which may allow for better quality control, a nice boon for any product you’re adding to your supplement cabinet. The powder is lab tested for purity and potency before it’s shipped to you. Given how easy it is to buy large quantities, this can easily wind up the least expensive betaine supplement.
Who Should Buy BulkSupplements Betaine Anhydrous Trimethylglycine (TMG) Powder
- Anyone looking to buy in bulk.
- Those with a tight budget for supplements.
- Folks who appreciate the vendor operating their own facility to produce their products.
Who Shouldn’t Buy BulkSupplements Betaine Anhydrous Trimethylglycine (TMG) Powder
- Anyone who needs their supplements to be certified to be free of banned substances.
Unfortunately, this product hasn’t been certified free from banned substances by an organization like NSF or Informed Sport, which some athletes may prefer to be 100 percent certain that it won’t conflict with their ability to compete. Otherwise, the only downside here is the somewhat tediousness involved with resealing the bag once it’s open. All in all, if you are looking to save some coin, this is where you should look.
Best Unflavored Option
Nutricost reliably merges quality and value (I mean, check their name) and their betaine ticks a lot of boxes that are important for supplement shoppers. It’s made in a GMP compliant facility and perhaps most importantly, it’s third party tested for purity.
Nutricost deserves its reputation for quality at a good price, particularly since this betaine is 3rd party tested for purity.
Nutricost’s product offers great value for money. That makes sense for a product that doesn’t add in anything beyond the supplement itself, but it is comforting to know that you are getting what you pay for and that’s it — simplicity.
Who Should Buy Nutricost Betaine Anhydrous Trimethylglycine (TMG)
- Anyone who wants their supplements tested for purity.
- Those confined to a limited budget.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Nutricost Betaine Anhydrous Trimethylglycine (TMG)
- People who need their supplements tested for substances banned from competition.
- Anyone who would prefer their betaine anhydrous to have flavor.
Some consumers would rather the product be flavored since it can be unexciting otherwise, but that is largely a lean of preference. The only major knock here is that there are no certifications that the product has been tested for substances banned in sport. If you are going to compete in some capacity, you aren’t likely to run into issues here, but it may be best to grab a different product just to be safe.
Muscle Feast stands out in the market for several reasons as there’s not much to complain about with this product. The ingredients are so simple: it’s pure, unflavored betaine anhydrous, and absolutely nothing else.
Pure, unflavored betaine anhydrous made in a GMP facility in the United States.
The betaine is made in an FDA-registered, Good Manufacturing Practices-certified facility in the United States. That facility is free from almost every allergen except milk, making it a hit for most people who have to be cautious about what they put in their bodies.
Who Should Buy Muscle Feast Pure Betaine Anhydrous Trimethylglycine (TMG) Powder
- Folks who want betaine anhydrous and no other added ingredients.
- Those comforted by their supplements made in an FDA-registered facility.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Muscle Feast Pure Betaine Anhydrous Trimethylglycine (TMG) Powder
- Anyone who can’t consume products made in a facility that also makes milk products.
- Athletes who need label accuracy for banned substances from competition.
The label says World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), but that doesn’t mean the product has been tested for banned substances — only that the ingredients are on WADA’s approved list. It makes it tough when ranking since this labeling isn’t clear. Based on the ingredient list, it should be in the clear. At the same time though, a banned substance isn’t likely to be printed on a label. While it isn’t guaranteed via a certification, it’s likely a safe bet, and there’s not many other options on the market that will compete with a single ingredient betaine anhydrous.
For those who would rather not take their chances with the unflavored powder — some say it’s sweet, some say it tastes like fish — Now Foods has come up with a good solution. With an easy-to-dose one gram per tablet, it’s vegetarian-friendly (unlike many capsules) plus the company has a long history of donating to charities involved in solving food shortages, disaster relief, and more.
One of the few betaine supplements that comes in tablet form, NOW makes them in a GMP facility and donates part of their profits to charity.
Unlike many capsules, these tablets (which are tablets, not capsules) are vegetarian friendly. Capsules often contain the supplement inside a gelatin, tablets are usually themselves the supplement.
For people who value the greater good, NOW donates a portion of their profits to a range of charitable organizations. Additionally, the product is made in a Good Manufacturing Practices-certified facility. Essentially, NOW puts their efforts (and money) towards their values which can be what puts them over a similar product if all other factors are more or less equal.
Who Should Buy NOW TMG 1000mg
- Anyone who prefers tablets over powder based supplements.
- Those who enjoy dosages that are easier to measure.
- Vegetarians. These tablets work for vegetarian diets.
Who Shouldn’t Buy NOW TMG 1000mg
- Anyone who prefers a powdered form of betaine anhydrous.
- Those who want less ingredients in the supplements.
The ingredients contain a range of non-trimethylglycine components such as stearic acid, croscarmellose sodium, and in particular cellulose, which not everyone likes to consume, but there has to be a trade-off for a tablet versus a powder. Ultimately, this ranked highest for us when it comes to tablets and that doesn’t appear likely to change anytime soon.
Best For Athletes
Not only are these capsules vegetarian friendly, but they’re also one of the very few betaine products made in an NSF certified facility, which means the facility has been tested for banned substances. In addition, the capsules are filled with water, so the product may absorb a little more easily than dry powder.
A simple betaine capsule that's made in an NSF certified facility, which may bring peace of mind to athletes.
If you are someone who will compete, these are the go-to safe pick as they will fit pretty much all diets barring vegan diets, and won’t put you at risk of failing a drug test. Having that piece of mind pushes this product up our rankings because having to guess or hope that a product is cleared of banned substances is a fairly large gamble since so much effort and time goes into getting competition ready.
Who Should Buy Life Extension TMG 500mg
- Athletes who need their supplements to be free of competition banned substances.
- Those who are happy to know their supplements are made in an NSF certified facility.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Life Extension TMG 500mg
- Those who need doses larger than 500 milligrams per serving.
- Vegans. Although vegetarian friendly, these are not suitable for a vegan diet.
With just 500 milligrams per capsule, some may find the dosage a little small, which could be a downfall. However, that is going to vary from athlete to athlete so it’s not too hard of a knock. Considering these capsules contain liquid, there’s always a slight possibility of leakage, so be aware of that when buying in.
How We Decided Our Picks
We looked at a lot of aspects to determine our top choices, but there were several main categories that held more weight. Those categories were dosage, type of supplement, purity testing, and added ingredients.
Dosage and Cost
The actual dosage itself will vary based on the needs of the consumer so it isn’t really a balanced aspect to judge products against each other on. Someone may be happy to have a half gram serving while some else wants over two grams or higher per serving. That’s subjective and doesn’t really help here. However, there are aspects of dosage that do matter across the board.
The dosage per serving is the correct way to compare products on a cost basis. Cost per serving doesn’t work as serving sizes vary. However, if two different products of the same price both have 500 servings, but one has one gram per serving and another has two grams per serving, then the first is twice as expensive as the second.
The other aspect of dosage that is important is how much betaine anhydrous is there actually in a serving. This partially extends into label accuracy, but not all ingredient lists are created equal and you should know how much of a supplement you’re putting into your body at what price.
Powder vs. Tablet vs. Capsule
Again, this is going to be subjective when looking at these three generally, but the differences extend into the details. How well do the powders mix? How many ingredients does the tablet have in addition to the supplement? Does the capsule use a gelatin that makes it incompatible with vegan or vegetarian diets?
These are just a few examples, but the form of the supplement is served in has the potential to include or exclude certain groups of consumers that are looking for a potent betaine anhydrous supplement.
Is the supplement made in facilities with certain allergens? Is the facility certified by a third party purity testing agency? Does the vendor outsource the manufacturing of the product or operate the facility themselves? Has the product been tested for purity or not? Has the product been tested for substances that are banned from competitive sport?
There are a lot of questions surrounding the purity testing of a product. Of course, products that have more legitimate purity testing will rank higher than those that don’t.
For the most part, the more ingredients in a supplement, the less likely it is to rank well on our list. We judged supplements on the assumption that a consumer seeking a betaine anhydrous supplement wants betaine anhydrous. Adding other ingredients is something that will have to happen for tablets and capsules — they have to be made out of something to be a tablet or capsule — but some manufacturers can go a bit overboard when it comes to flavorings or preservatives and the like.
What Are the Benefits of Betaine Anhydrous?
The main interest in betaine anhydrous is its use as an ergogenic aid: it can potentially help you to work out. Most of this research has found positive effects at doses of about three to six grams daily.
- Power output
- Muscular endurance
- Reduced cortisol
- Methylate homcysteine
Betaine may reduce homocysteine, with some research finding it to reduce it by about 10% in people with normal levels and up to 40 percent in people with elevated levels. This may be cardio protective.(5)(6)
Most studies that have seen a positive effect for taking betaine used doses of about three grams a day, often split into two doses.
Many take betaine because they believe it improves liver health, as some research suggests it may play a role in treating fatty liver and the associated liver fibrosis.(8) Some other studies have failed to replicate the findings, and more research needs to be done.
Especially if you’re considering taking this to improve live or heart health, but even if you’re just taking it for better workouts, it’s smart to chat to a doctor first.
As an osmolyte, betaine can cause diarrhea at high doses.
Yes, one can find betaine in nature, but given one would need to eat six kilograms of beets per day to reach the levels that have been used in studies, it make sense to consider supplementing. Just make sure you speak with a physician before making any big changes to your dietary regimen.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Lee, E.C. et al. (2010) Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010; 7: 27.
- Hoffman, J. et al. (2009) Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009; 6: 7.
- Trepanowski JF, et al. The effects of chronic betaine supplementation on exercise performance, skeletal muscle oxygen saturation and associated biochemical parameters in resistance trained men. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Dec;25(12):3461-71.
- Apicella JM, et al. Betaine supplementation enhances anabolic endocrine and Akt signaling in response to acute bouts of exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Mar;113(3):793-802.
- Schwab U, et al. Long-term effect of betaine on risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jan;65(1):70-6.
- Brouwer IA, et al. Betaine supplementation and plasma homocysteine in healthy volunteers. Arch Intern Med. 2000 Sep 11;160(16):2546-7.
- Craig SA. Betaine in human nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Sep;80(3):539-49.
- Kathirvel E, et al. Betaine improves nonalcoholic fatty liver and associated hepatic insulin resistance: a potential mechanism for hepatoprotection by betaine. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Nov;299(5):G1068-77.