How about a legal peformance enhancer that could boost your anaerobic output by almost 6 percent? Researchers at New York’s Ithaca College claim to have found just that.
When you look up “betaine,” you will learn that it’s a substance the body can make itself but is also found in foods and involved in a lot of stuff: metabolizing the amino acid homocysteine, helping your liver do its job, aiding cell reproduction and assisting in making carnitine.
Apparently we can possibly add increasing sports performance to that list: Researchers at New York’s Ithaca College took sixteen cyclists, measured their normal performance, and then for a week had them twice a day drink either a regular sport drink or the same drink with a bit of betaine added. Three weeks later and for another seven days, the betaine group got the non-betaine drink and vice versa.
The final results showed that peak and mean anaerobic power output increased by 5.5%. The Ithaca guys reason that betaine does the same as creatine supplementation does: raise the amount of creatine in your cells.
Want To Try Yourself?
A lot of betaine is found in beets, shellfish, broccoli and spinach. Alternatively you can also use the 2.5 g of the betaine supplement the researchers used to lace the sports drink with, BetaPower, and whose manufacturer not only provided it for the study, but also had one of their people on board when it was conducted.
Yep, I’m hinting at a possible conflict of interest. When in the coming weeks you read reports on betaine and sports performance on the various sites usually not quite bothering to read footnotes, take them with a grain of salt. There is at least one study that found no effect of betaine.
Picture courtesy of “Evan-Amos“.