Dimethylglycine (DMG) is a derivative of glycine, the simplest of the amino acids. It 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. It acts as a building block for many important substances, including the amino acid methionine, choline, a number of important hormones and neurotransmitters, and DNA. 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 Dimethylglycine. However, several products entered the supplement marketplace called pangamic acid or calcium pangamate, and these did not contain Dimethylglycine. Some of these products contained, instead of Dimethylglycine, 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 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 (see Trimethylglycine). DMG is absorbed from the small intestine and from there transported by the portal circulation to the liver. DMG is metabolized in the liver to monomethylglycine or sarcosine which, in turn, is converted to glycine. Dimethylglycine dehydrogenase, a flavoprotein, is the enzyme that catalyzes the oxidative demethylation of DMG to sarcosine. The methyl group produced in this reaction returns to the one carbon pool at the level of N10-hydroxymethyl-tetrahydrofolic acid. DMG itself is formed from trimethylglycine or betaine. DMG that is not metabolized in the liver is transported by the circulatory system to various tissues in the body.
Taking supplemental DMG can have a wide range of possible beneficial effects, including helping the body maintain high energy levels and boosting mental acuity. DMG has been found to enhance the immune system and to reduce elevated blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It improves oxygen utilization by the body, helps to normalize the functioning of many important organs. It may also be useful for controlling epileptic seizures. DMG (dimethylglycine) is basically the amino acid glycine attached to two methyl groups. DMG is a normal physiologically active nutrient found in low levels in such foods as cereal grains, liver and beans. Humans also naturally produce DMG in small amounts. As a nutritional supplement, DMG acts as a building block for the synthesis of many important substances such as choline, SAM-e, the amino acid methionine, several hormones, neurotransmitters and DNA.