~ TMG - Trimethylglycine

Life Extension

SAMe Costs Too Much!

SAMe has been shown in clinical studies to be the fastest acting safest and possibly, most effective antidepressant ever found. One study found that 66% of patients treated with SAMe showed significant clinical improvement in depressive symptoms compared only 22% of patients given the antidepressant drug imipramine. Unlike conventional antidepressant drugs that produce adverse side effects, SAMe produces multiple health benefits and may slow the aging process.

The March 1997 issue of Life Extension Magazine provides strong scientific evidence that SAMe is effective in the treatment of depression, schizophrenia, demyelination diseases, liver disease, dementia, arthritis, and other conditions. Recently, the Journal of Neurochemistry reported the brain levels of SAMe in Alzheimer's patients are severely decreased.

SAMe Costs Too Much!
SAMe is a natural metabolite of the amino acid methionine. It is sold in Europe as a drug for the treatment of depression and liver disease. The European version of SAMe is cost prohibitive for most people. The cost of an effective dose (1200-1600 mg) for treating most forms of depression and acute liver disease is $9 to $12 a day.

Unlike many drugs that have inflated prices, SAMe is genuinely very expensive to synthesize. It takes many kilos of methionine to produce 1 kilo of SAMe. Stability in manufacturing and packaging are further problems that add to the cost of SAMe.

The Foundation is working with American laboratories to produce SAMe at a more affordable price. One of these laboratories has already developed a more cost effective synthesizing technique, but it will take time to bring SAMe into full production and, even then, SAMe may still cost more than most people can afford.

A Cost Effective Way of Boosting SAMe Levels
Here's how SAMe can be boosted naturally within the body: When homocysteine is converted into methionine within the body, a by-product of this conversion is S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). Homocysteine is amino acid, which has been linked to the development of atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease and stroke. A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that those with high homocysteine levels had a 3.4 times greater risk of a heart attack than those with low homocysteine levels.

Conventional medical journals such as JAMA have recommended vitamin supplements such as folic acid as safe methods of lowering homocysteine. A more effective nutrient to lower homocysteine is trimethylglycine (TMG). TMG converts homocysteine into methionine and, in the process, produces S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). Unlike the synthetic SAMe drug available from Europe, TMG is inexpensive and is readily available as a dietary supplement. In order to further describe how TMG works, we will introduce a new concept called "methylation enhancement" and describe how this may relate to aging.

A Cell Rejuvenating Event
Methylation can be defined as the process of putting a methyl group onto a DNA molecule. Published research shows three specific benefits of enhancing methylation:
  • Methylation lowers dangerous homocysteine levels, thus lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Methylation is the primary process by which homocysteine is transformed into nontoxic compounds such as SAMe.
  • Methylation produces SAMe, which may have potent anti-aging effects, and has been shown to alleviate depression, remylenate nerve cells, improve Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease patients, and protect against alcohol-induced liver injury.
  • Methylation protects DNA. Methyl groups appear to prevent genes that cause diseases from being expressed. Protecting DNA may reduce the risk of genetically induced cancers in addition to slowing cellular aging.
Enhancing methylation improves health and slows premature and, perhaps, normal aging. Methylation can be enhanced by high vegetable diets and by supplementation with nutrients like folic acid, vitamin B12, choline and most importantly, trimethylglycine (TMG).

Factors that decrease methylation include smoking, alcohol consumption, high fat diets, birth control pills and aging. As animals age, their methylation activity declines progressively. This decline in methylation is directly related to the physical decline associated with aging. Published research shows that "methylation" is related to a variety of disease states including cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver disease, and neurological disorders.

TMG and SAMe both facilitate youthful methylation metabolism. Enhancing methylation not only protects against many diseases, but may make people feel younger. Optimal methylation occurs in young women of child bearing age, but even some of these women suffer from a methylation deficiency that can produce a wide range of disease states. These women can be helped by following a methylation enhancing program.

Methylation - Enhancing Protocol
Trimethylglycine (TMG) is the most effective methylation enhancing agent known. After TMG converts toxic homocysteine into methionine and SAMe, it becomes DMG (dimethylglycine), the first nutrient performance enhancer sold in the United States in health food stores.

TMG is extracted from sugar beets. It has a distinctive taste that is mildly sweet with a mild aftertaste. TMG is also known as glycine betaine. Some vitamin companies confuse "betaine hydrochloride" with glycine betaine (TMG). Betaine HCL does not provide the methylation enhancement of TMG and could elevate stomach acidity in some people. There are no reports of side effects with TMG other than brief muscle tension headaches if it is taken in large quantities without food.

Fortunately, the cost of 99% pure trimethylglycine is low, thus enabling Foundation members to take high enough doses of TMG to significantly enhance methylation and SAMe levels.

Foundation members have been obtaining potent doses of methylation enhancing nutrients in LIFE EXTENSION MIX, LIFE EXTENSION BOOSTER and CHLOROPHYLLIN. These formulas include the maximum amount of folic acid permitted by the FDA (for pregnant women). Other methylation enhancing nutrients are vitamin B12 and choline. (Vitamin B6 lowers homocysteine levels via a different mechanism than methylation enhancement.)

Studies show that while folic acid can lower homocysteine levels in most people, TMG can cause homocysteine to disappear from plasma after one to three months of administration. TMG stimulates methylation more effectively than folic acid and other vitamins.

A minimum effective dose of TMG for homocysteine reduction is 500- 1,000 mg a day. Optimal doses for methylation enhancement and SAMe elevation are about 3,000 mg a day. In some studies, 6,000 mg a day of TMG were used.

Important note: In a minority of people who suffer from elevated homocysteine, it is necessary B6. These people lack an enzyme required to convert homocysteine into methionine and SAMe. The doses of vitamin B6 required are 500 to 1,500 mg a day. This much vitamin B6 may cause peripheral nerve damage if taken over a multi-year period of time. Other B-complex vitamins, magnesium, carnitine, omega 3 fatty acids, and alpha lipoic acid may reduce the risk of nerve damage in those have to take high doses of vitamin B6 to keep homocysteine levels within a safe range.

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