Osmolytes are low molecular weight soluble organic molecules involved in cell osmosis. They have a primary role in maintaining cell volume and fluid balance, especially in stressful situations or in any pathological condition. In mammals, osmolytes are of particular importance in kidney cells.
Furthermore, these molecules help to provide stability to the proteins of the cytoplasm and, above all, protect these proteins from incorrect folding, which nullifies the activity or purpose of that protein. Osmolytes predominantly affect the protein skeleton; the balance between the osmolyte-skeleton interactions and the interactions of the amino acid side chain with the solvent, determine the correct folding of the proteins.
Apart from this intervention in protein folding, some of them intervene, such as Betaine in the DNA and RNA replication processes. Betaine has been a component used in performing PCR, due to its positive effect on increasing sequence amplification.
Natural osmolytes that can act as osmoprotectors include trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), dimethylsulfonium propionate, trimethylglycine, sarcosine, betaine, glycerol, osphorylcholine, myo-inositol, taurine, glycine, and others.
Betaine, also known as TRIMETILGLICINA (TMG), is a derived amino acid, is a naturally occurring osmolyte, with three reactive methyl groups and a dipole structure.
It was first discovered in sugar beets (Beta vulgaris), hence its name, but it can be found in numerous species of microorganisms, plants and animals.
In summer and high temperatures, betaine increases its concentration in cells to decrease the risks of cellular dehydration.
Methyl groups participate in numerous methylation reactions (mainly in the liver), ranging from methylation of DNA, RNA, and lipids of the cell membrane to the synthesis of essential molecules such as carnitine and creatine (Smolin and Benevega, 1989 ; Frontiera et al., 1994; Stryer, 1995).
Methyl groups (CH3) are important in the synthesis process of essential metabolites:
DNA / RNA SYNTHESIS
• PROTEIN SYNTHESIS
• IMMUNE FUNCTION
• SYNTHESIS OF CARNITINE
CURRENT USE OF BETAINE IN HUMAN AND ANIMAL FEEDING.
Betaine is a food additive widely used in poultry, swine and aquaculture production, and is even used in special dog feeds, for its positive results in productivity, especially when stress situations occur that affect the osmolarity of the cell, for example, in situations of heat stress or bacterial and viral infections. In stressful situations, animals need a greater supply of methyl groups in the diet.
Hydrochloric Betaine (Betaine Hcl) is used as a dietary supplement in humans to increase gastric acidity. The main indications of this product is the treatment of Hypochlorhydria, and gastric malfunction: heavy digestions, reflux, gases, and positive cases of this treatment have been reported. Children and young people produce more hydrochloric acid in the stomach, with age the heartburn decreases. Stomach protectors (proton pump inhibitors) such as omeprazole decrease the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, hydrochloric acid is our main disinfectant of what we eat, it breaks down in our stomach food including bacteria, fungi and viruses.
Accumulated evidence has shown that betaine has anti-inflammatory functions in numerous diseases. Betaine improves the metabolism of sulfur amino acids against oxidative stress, inhibits the activity of nuclear factor κB and the activation of the inflammasome NLRP3, regulates energy metabolism and mitigates stress and apoptosis of the endoplasmic reticulum. Consequently, betaine has beneficial actions in various human diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Betaine decreased Gumboro disease-induced mRNA expression levels in chickens (RNA virus) of IL-6, and IFNβ and IRF7 were suppressed by their methylation, reducing lesions and lymphopenia caused.
COVID-19 has been reported to produce an increase in IL-6 levels in the most severe and fatal cases, which is actively involved in the “cytokine storm”, treatment with tocilizumab works by blocking IL-6.
Betaine has shown with various studies its usefulness in the treatment of infectious diseases. In viral infections, apart from its action in regulating the immune response, there are indications of possible actions at various levels:
• Stabilization of cytoplasmic membrane, reducing viral penetration.
• Interaction with viral particles. Osmolytes stabilize the virus capsid proteins by interfering with the complete virus assembly.
• Interaction with Rna replication, there are certain Rna fragments that are denatured by osmolytes. Certain viral Rna fragments could be denatured, thereby blocking viral replication within the cell.
OTHER BENEFITS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT OF LA BETAINE:
• It’s economic.
• Not toxic. Easy to use . Recommended dosage of Betaine per day 500-1000 mg
• Highly available the market for widespread use. Availability as a food supplement in diet stores and online stores. Present in two formats Betaina Hcl and Betaina Anhidra (TMG).
Therefore, Betaine TMG can be an important aid in the treatment of coronavirus infection, especially if it is used in the early stages of infection, due to its possible action in the replication of the RNA and the union of the protein structures of the virus, avoiding a massive replication of the virus throughout the respiratory system, in addition to a stabilizing action of the cell and regulation of the immune system, avoiding the triggering of an excessive and deadly immune response (cytokine storm).