‘Choline and betaine sources are 1:1 interchangeable!’ is an often heard statement, but where is it based on?

Both products donate three methyl groups, making them equal methyl donors in the methionine cycle. In this cycle methyl donors are used to convert homocysteine into methionine. However betaine is more efficient than choline. Choline can not be stored and is converted into the trimethyl glycine molecule or, in other words, betaine. This makes choline a less efficient methyl donor. In addition, betaine plays an important role in many biochemical routes.

A few biochemical properties of betaine are:

  • Betaine plays an essential role in the synthesis of, among others, carnitine, creatine and phosphatidylcholine. The latter is a precursor to lecithin.
  • Betaine has a catalysing effect on the breakdown of fats in the liver (lecithin is also involved in this process). The positive effects of this property are: improved performance and improved carcass quality (less abdominal fat and improved breast meat).

By directly adding betaine to feed instead of choline, the body saves energy because choline has to be converted inside the body. This saving could, for example, generate extra growth. Choline is still an essential nutrient for some processes, but this substance is naturally present, in sufficient amounts, in raw materials. ActiBeet® L is a natural source of betaine and ideally suited for the abovementioned processes.

It can be concluded that choline added to feed is 1:1 interchangeable with betaine.