Dimethylglycine, also known as N,N dimethylglycine and DMG, is a nutrient the body produces in small amounts. It also occurs in liver and other types of meat, and in grains and beans. As of 2010, research results on the benefits of this nutrient as a supplement are mixed, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Consult a qualified health care provider before taking DMG supplements.
DMG consists of the amino acid glycine attached to two methyl groups, according to physician Ray Sahelian, who specializes in natural supplements. The synthesis of many substances in the body depends on methyl groups, and DMG is important for the synthesis of DNA and RNA, the essential nutrient choline, the essential amino acid methionine and certain vitamins, hormones, neurotransmitters and enzymes.
Proponents of DMG supplements claim it enhances the immune system, boosts neurological function and athletic performance and helps treat epilepsy and autism, according to the MSKCC. Sahelian calls DMG an anti-stress supplement that may have anti-aging effects, while cautioning that research on DMG is in the very early stages and has not confirmed this potential benefit.
Research results are mixed in regard to DMG benefits, explains the MSKCC. Some studies suggest that DMG may enhance oxygen utilization during hypoxia, or oxygen deficiency, and decrease lactic acid accumulation due to stress. While some studies indicate DMG may enhance immune responses, others do not show DMG to have any effect in this area. Although some people believe that DMG supplements can reduce the frequency of seizures, a study published in the January/February issue of "Epilepsia" did not find this to be the case when using either 300 mg or 600 mg per day.
The MSKCC calls the use of DMG to treat autism controversial, explaining that clinical studies have achieved mixed results. Authors of a research report appearing in the June 1999 issue of the "Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders" comment that while influential nonmedical literature supports DMG as more effective than medication, their study did not indicate these benefits. The authors note that the DMG dosage may have been too low and the sample size was small, with only eight participants. During another study, this one appearing in the "Journal of Child Neurolology" in March 2001, 37 children with autism or pervasive developmental disorder took either DMG or a placebo for four weeks. Both groups improved in all behavioral measurements.
DMG does not cause toxicity, and no significant negative effects are associated with this substance, according to the MSKCC. It is not the same as a related supplement with a similar name, trimethylglycine, commonly called betaine. That supplement contains glycine along with three methyl groups rather than two, and it has different uses.