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What Is Vitamin B16?

author image Allison Adams
Allison Adams has worked as a registered dietitian since 1996. She began writing professionally in 2000, with work featured in a variety of medical publications such as "Women's Health Magazine" and the "New England Journal of Medicine." Adams holds a Master of Science in nutrition and food sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
What Is Vitamin B16?
Bowl of curried chick peas and rice. Photo Credit: AD077/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin B-16, also known as dimethylglycine, N,N-Dimethylglycine, dimethylamino acetic acid, N-methylsarcosine or DMG, is more of a dietary supplement than a vitamin. Vitamin B-16 is a derivative of the amino acid glycine. Medically, vitamin B-16 is not a true vitamin because a lack of B-16 does not lead to any ill effects in your body. Manufacturers of vitamin B-16, however, claim that it can improve athletic performance, stimulate your immune system and help treat autism, epilepsy and mitochondrial disease. You should not use or take vitamin B-16 to treat a specific medical condition without consulting with a medical professional.

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Description of Vitamin B-16

Vitamin B-16 is a derivative of the amino acid glycine; it has a similar chemical structure to a water-soluble vitamin. The structural formula of vitamin B-16 is (CH3)2NCH2COOH. In your body, your small intestine absorbs vitamin B-16, and then your liver converts it into other useful metabolites. Vitamin B-16 also functions as a building block to DNA, amino acids, neurotransmitters and hormones.

Uses of Vitamin B-16

Manufacturers of vitamin B-16 supplements claim that as a supplement, vitamin B16 can enhance your immune system, stimulant neurological functions and help to manage autism and epilepsy. According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, vitamin B-16 enhances immune responses in humans and animals by improving oxygen utilization during hypoxia, a medical condition in which your body does not receive sufficient oxygen. Vitamin B-16 can also reduce lactic acid build-up in your blood during stressful events helping to prevent seizures. However, the use of vitamin B-16 as a medical supplement remains controversial, as currently available studies do not confirm the medical benefits of vitamin B-16.

Benefits of Vitamin B-16

Vitamin B-16 is a methyl donor. Methyl donors facilitate your body in the production of brain chemicals and thus, can improve sexual enjoyment, mood, energy, well-being, alertness, concentration and visual clarity. According to “The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book,” vitamin B-16 is an effective energy booster and a stamina-enhancing and cardiovascular-building nutrient. Additionally, vitamin B-16 can provide protection against infectious agents in your body and can optimize performance for athletes and active individuals.

Sources of Vitamin B-16

Physiologically, vitamin B-16 is a byproduct of choline. It circulates in your body in small amounts for only seconds at a time. You can find vitamin B-16 naturally in both animal and plant cells and in certain foods including liver, beans and cereal grains. Additionally, you can find vitamin B-16 in the outer coating of rice, brewer’s yeast, grain and many types of seeds. This vitamin is also sold in supplement form. However, you should speak with a medical professional prior to taking any health supplement including vitamin B-16.

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  • "The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book (Avery Health Guides)"; Shari lieberman and Nancy Pauling Bruning; 2003
  • "Dietary Supplements (Forensic Science and Medicine)"; Melanie Johns Cupp and Timothy S. Tracy; 2002
  • "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine"; Dennis Kasper et al; 2004
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Disclaimer
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