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Dimethylglycine

Review of Dimethylglycine (DMG)

What is Dimethylglycine (DMG)?

Dimethylglycine (DMG) is an amino acid that is found naturally, in small quantities in plant and animal cells.  DMG is believed to improve endurance performance, enhance oxygen utilisation, and improve the rate of recovery.  DMG is an anti-oxidant that may also works as a detoxifier.

Who Should Consider Taking DMG supplements?

DMG supplements may be of benefit to endurance athletes, or anyone, wanting to reduce their risk of infection through training.

Summary of DMG's Phyiological Effects:

  • May enhance immune function but no conclusive evidence to support this
  • Does not improve physical performance
  • Doesn't appear to improve endurance performance or aerobic fitness

DMG Research

DMG has been proposed as a beneficial supplement, and is said to have been used medicinally to combat fatigue, enhance metabolism, improve liver function, and to strengthen the immune system (Tonda and Hart 1992).  On the back of this some nutritional companies, have include DMG in their products, and made claims that it has beneficial effects on endurance performance by combating fatigue and enhancing the metabolism.  However, there is at present, little evidence to back up these claims. In fact most research appears to point to there being little or no benefit to DMG supplementation.

Research looking at the effect of DMG supplementation in horses (Rose et al., 1989), found no beneficial effects of supplementation on measures of cardiac fitness or lactate production.  Research in humans has proved to be equally ineffective.  Liet et al., 2003 looked at the effects of DMG supplementation on measures of aerobic fitness in children suffering with cytochrome-c oxidase deficiency.  They found that DMG supplementation had no detectable effect on blood levels of lactate, pyruvate, bicarbonate, pH, or measures of VO2.

Research with humans has failed to find any positive benefits on measured physiological variables - specifically aerobic fitness - with DMG supplementation (100-200mg daily) (Harpaz et al., 1985; Bishop et al., 1987).

Research by Reap et al., (1989) found that DMG supplementation stimulated the immune system, and caused a four-fold increase in antibody production by the immune system.  They found that there was no observed toxicity, or adverse effects during the treatment. However, this was an animal study and it cannot be assumed that the same results would be achieved in normal healthy humans.

Is DMG effective?

Some evidence supports it's use as an immune stimulant but it has proved ineffective at enhancing physical performance.

How to take DMG?

At present research does not support the use of DMG for athletes for improved endurance, or, enhanced immune function.  However, most manufacturers, generally recommend taking around 100-200mg on a long term basis, which they claim reduces the risk of succumbing to illness or infection during intensified training.  Or they suggest taking 200-300mg in the short-term (5-7 days) to possibly endurance performance leading up to a competition.

Athletes, or anyone, looking to enhance stamina, and immune function, will be better advised to use supplements like acetyl-L-carnitine – particularly if combined with alpha-lipoic acid, or, Rhodiola rosea.

References

Bishop, P. A., Smith, J. F. and Young, B. (1987) Effects of N' N'-dimethylglycine on physiological response and performance in trained runners. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 27, 53.

Harpaz, M., Otto, R. M. and Smith, T. K. (1985) The effect of N' N'-dimethylglycine ingestion upon aerobic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 17, 287.

Liet, J. M., Pelletier, V., Robinson, B. H., Laryea, M. D., Wendel, U., Morneau, S., Morin, C., Mitchell, G. and Lacroix, J. (2003) The effect of short-term dimethylglycine treatment on oxygen consumption in cytochrome oxidase deficiency: a double-blind randomised crossover clinical trial. J Pediatr. 142 (1), 62-66. 

Reap, E. A. and Lawson, J. W. (1990) Stimulation of the immune response by dimethylglycine, a nontoxic metabolite. J Lab Clin Med. 115 (4), 481-486. 

Rose, R. J. Schlierf, H. A., Knight, P. K., Plummer, C., Davis, M. and Ray, S. P. (1989) Effects of N,N-dimethylglycine on cardiorespiratory function and lactate production in thoroughbred d horses performing incremental treadmill exercise. Vet Rec. 125 (10), 268-271. 

Tonda, M. E. and Hart, L. L. (1992) N,N dimethylglycine and L-carnitine as performance enhancers in athletes. Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 26, 935-937.