Jodobet®, the source of natural betaine
Betaine is a natural compound that can be found in different plants, micro-organisms and animals. The substance was first detected in the 19th century in sugar beets, which contain very high levels of betaine.
After this discovery a lot of researchers have focused on the functions and importance of betaine:
- In the first place, betaine plays a role in the cell metabolism. The chemical structure of betaine contains three methyl groups. Animals can’t produce such methyl groups in their body by themselves, but these groups are needed for the production of life important biological compounds. Betaine can donate its methyl groups for the formation of these vital molecules, supporting other processes in the body.
- In the second place betaine is important during osmoregulation(the maintenance of the water content). Betaine is very soluble in water and because the molecule contains both a positive and a negative electrical charge at the same time, betaine can ‘capture’ water. When cells are under (osmotic) pressure, they will accumulate betaine inside to protect themselves against this stress. In this way, it will be possible for the cells to maintain their water volume, shape and cellular functions. An example are the sugar beets, who contain large amounts of betaine to protect themselves against the osmotic pressure of the high sugar levels.
- Most animals can biosynthesize betaine from the precursor choline. However, biosynthesis will deliver only small amounts of betaine. Research demonstrated that supplemental betaine, added to the diet or drinking water, will positively affect the animal. Especially during stress situations like heat stress, wet litter…, additional betaine will counteract the negative influences of stress and will benefit animal performances.