Betaine, which appears under the brand name cystadane, is used as a method of treating a defect or lack of specific enzymes. These enzymes may cause too much homocysteine in the urine and blood; Betaine removes this excess homocysteine and helps to normalize those enzyme levels. It is available in tablet or powder form, but you must have a doctor’s prescription to get it. Those who most often need to take betaine are those who are dealing with the genetic condition known as homocystinuria, which causes homocysteine to accumulate in the body. This condition can put a person at major risk of cardiovascular disease at a very young age.

Before taking Betaine, it is important to talk to your doctor about any specific allergies you may have. This includes allergies to medication, food, dyes, animals, and preservatives. Betaine rarely causes an allergic reaction, but it is still better to make a list of allergies just in case something does happen. Betaine has been approved for both children and for the elderly.

When it comes to using betaine powder, you should mix between four and six ounces of it into milk, water, or juice. Let it completely dissolve. As soon as you’re finished mixing it, drink it immediately—do not let it sit for too long. You should drink betaine with meals whenever possible. It’s also important that you follow any specific instructions given by your doctor. These instructions may include taking vitamin B6 or B12 supplements or taking folic acid with the betaine drink.

The dosage of betaine varies from person to person, but you should always follow your doctor’s recommendation. Generally, for the powdered form of betaine, you will start with about three grams at a time and take it two times a day. This dosage may be adjusted up or down depending on how your body reacts to it. If it is being given to children under three, the dosage will be based on body weight, and only a doctor should prescribe and determine this dosage. If you end up missing a dose of betaine, you should take it as soon as you can unless it’s near the time for your next dose. In that case, do not double up but simply return to your regular medication schedule. Betaine should be stored at room temperature and away from moisture.

There are a few side effects of betaine, but none of them are life threatening. The side effects may eventually vanish as your body adjusts to the effects of betaine. Your doctor may also have some ways of reducing the side effects as well. The various betaine side effects include diarrhea, an upset stomach, or nausea. Betaine may also cause some unexpected and different body odor. Those with kidney disease should not take betaine because it can increase your overall cholesterol levels. The same goes for anyone who is overweight—they should discuss betaine supplements with their doctor before taking it because of its affects on cholesterol.

In addition to helping to normalize enzyme levels, betaine has several other uses. It may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing the levels of homocysteine, although there isn’t a definite direct link between high homocysteine levels and heart problems. The supplement can also help deal with liver disease, although again, studies are not yet conclusive as to whether betaine is truly beneficial to those with liver disease or not.

While betaine can be taken in tablet or powder form, it can also come from various foods. Good sources of betaine include broccoli, grains, spinach, shellfish, and beets.

Last updated on Feb 21st, 2010 and filed under Drugs and Medications. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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