Dimethylglycine (DMG)

Dimethylglycine or DMG is a non-protein amino acid found naturally in animal and plant cells. DMG is produced in cells as an intermediate in the metabolism of choline to glycine. DMG is a solid, water-soluble substance. DMG should not be confused with TMG (trimethylglycine or betaine). TMG is involved in the methylation of homocysteine to form methionine.

There has been much confusion surrounding the history of DMG as a nutritional supplement. DMG appeared as a supplement in the 1960s under the names vitamin B15, pangamic acid and calcium pangamate. Calcium pangamate was originally a mixture of calcium gluconate and DMG. Calcium pangamate was intended as a delivery form of DMG. However, several products entered the supplement marketplace called pangamic acid or calcium pangamate, and these did not contain DMG. Some of these products contained, instead of DMG, a substance called diisopropylammonium dichloroacetate. At present, DMG supplements are available that do contain dimethylglycine.

DMG-containing calcium pangamate was popular with Russian athletes and cosmonauts because it was reputed to enhance oxygenation at the cellular level, reduce fatigue and enhance physical stamina. None of those claims, however, was ever substantiated. DMG is neither a vitamin nor an essential nutrient. DMG is also known as N, N-dimethylglycine, (dimethylamino)acetic acid and N-methylsarcosine. DMG increases the ablity of the red blood cells to carry oxygen to the cells and carbon dioxide from the cells to the lungs. It also stimulates the white blood cells (the immune defence). It has a detoxifying effect and enhances the function of the liver.

DMG is good for muscle problems, blood sugar problems, asthma and when having difficulties breathing, oxygen deficiency in body tissue, reduced detoxication, heart- or liver problems and it curbs alcohol cravings. Lozenges of 120 mg. are used by mountaineers, technicians who work in areas with air pollution, firemen, competitive athletes, and other groups exposed to physical stress. Sports people use DMG because it enhances oxygen uptake and thereby counteracts the formation of lactic acid in the muscles. Research indicates that DMG can improve the immune function. There are also reports that mentally handicapped children that have been given a supply of DMG improve their attention and their ability of speach. DMG has also been used for lowering the frequence of epilectic attacks, but the effect in this area is quite controversial.

In nature, the substance can be found in seed kernels - especially almonds and apricot kernels - but also in brewers' yeast, rice husks, and maize. In animal products, horse liver, ox blood are the most common sources.