Effects of Betaine on Energy Utilization in Growing Pigs - A Review

Krzysztof Lipiński 1 , Ewa Szramko 1 , Heinz Jeroch 2 ,  and Paulius Matusevičius 2
  • 1 Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Management, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Oczapowskiego 5, 10-718 Olsztyn-Kortowo, Poland
  • 2 Department of Animal Science, Veterinary Academy of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Tilzes 18, LT-47181, Kaunas, Lithuania

Effects of Betaine on Energy Utilization in Growing Pigs - A Review

One of the well known biological functions of betaine is that of a methyl donor. Therefore, betaine may partly replace choline and methionine in the diet. Another widely documented role of betaine is to restore and maintain the osmotic balance. As an organic osmotic compound, betaine regulates the water balance, thus exerting a stabilizing influence on tissue metabolism, particularly within the digestive tract. As a donor of methyl groups necessary for various reactions in the body, betaine is indirectly involved in lipid metabolism. Due to its metabolic functions, betaine is also believed to play a significant role in energy metabolism in pigs. Of particular note are the results of experiments in which a positive effect of betaine supplementation was observed as the energy content of the diet was decreased.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Casarin A., Forat M., Zabaras-Krick B. (1997). Interrelationships between betaine (Betafin-BCR) and level of feed intake on the performance parameters and carcass characteristics of growing-finishing pigs. J. Anim. Sci., 75 (Suppl. 1), p. 75.

  • Craig S. A. S. (2004). Betaine in human nutrition. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 80: 539-549.

  • Cromwell G. L., Lindemann M. D., Coffey R., Parker G., Petty A., Monegue J., Randolph J., Laurent K. (2003). Dietary supplement has marginal benefits. National Hog Farmer, p. 2.

  • Cromwell G. L., Lindemann M. D., Randolph J. R., Laurent K. M., Parker G. R., Coffey R. D. (2000). Effects of betaine levels in reduced energy diets for finishing pigs. J. Anim. Sci., 78 (Suppl. 1), p. 189.

  • Cromwell G. L., Lindemann M. D., Randolph J. R., Monegue H. J., Laurent K. M., Parker G. R. (1999). Efficacy of betaine as a carcass modifier in finishing pigs fed normal and reduced energy diets. J. Anim. Sci., 77 (Suppl. 1), p. 179.

  • Eklund M., Bauer E., Wamatu J., Mosenthin R. (2005). Potential nutritional and physiological functions of betaine in livestock. Nutr. Res. Rev., 13: 31-48.

  • Feng J., Liu X., Wang Y. Z., Xu Z. R. (2006). Effects of betaine on performance, carcass characteristics and hepatic betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase activity in finishing barrows. Asian-Austrial. J. Anim. Sci., 19 (3): 402-405.

  • Fernández-Fígares I., Conde-Aguilera J. A., Nieto R., Lachica M., Aguilera J. F. (2008). Synergistic effects of betaine and conjugated linoleic acid on growth and carcass composition of growing Iberian pigs. J. Anim. Sci., 86: 102-111.

  • Fernández-Fígares I., Wray-Cahen D., Steele N. C., Campbell R. G., Hall D. D., Virtanen E., Caperna T. J. (2002). Effect of dietary betaine on nutrient utilization and partitioning in the young growing feed-restricted pig. J. Anim. Sci., 80: 421-428.

  • Finkelstein J. D., Martin J. J. (1984). Methionine metabolism in mammals. Distribution of homocysteine between competing pathways. J. Biol. Chem., 259, 15: 9508-9513.

  • Finkelstein J. D., Martin J. J. (1986). Methionine metabolism in mammals. Adaptation to methionine excess. J. Biol. Chem., 261, 4: 1582-1587.

  • Gagucki M., Skomiał J. (2000). Effects of adding betaine to diets with different energy level on slaughter value and composition of loin and fat tissues in growing-finishing pigs (in Polish). Rocz. Nauk. Zoot., Supl. 6: 162-166.

  • Hanczakowska E., Urbańczyk J., Świątkiewicz M. (1999). The efficiency of betaine and organic compounds of chromium in fattening of pigs with ad libitum or restricted feeding. Ann. Anim. Sci., 26, 4: 263-274.

  • Haydon K. D., Campbell R. G., Prince T. J. (1995). Effect of dietary betaine additions and amino:calorie ratio on performance and carcass traits of finishing pigs. J. Anim. Sci., 73 (Suppl. 1), p. 83.

  • Huang Q. C., Xu Z. R., Han X. Y., Li W. F. (2007). Effect of betaine on growth hormone pulsatile secretion and serum metabolites in finishing pigs. J. Anim. Physiol. Anim. Nutr., 91: 85-90.

  • Huang Q. C., Xu Z. R., Han X. Y., Li W. F. (2008). Effect of dietary betaine supplementation on lipogenic enzyme activities and fatty acid synthase mRNA expression in finishing pigs. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 140: 365-375.

  • Kidd M.T, Ferket P. R., Garlich J. D. (1997). Nutritional and osmoregulatory functions of betaine. World Poultry Sci. J., 53: 125-139.

  • Le Rudulier D., Strom A. R., Dandekar A. M., Smith L. T., Valentine R. C. (1984). Molecular biology of osmoregulation. Science, 224: 1064-1068.

  • Lowry K. R., Izquierdo Q. A., Baker D. H. (1987). Efficacy of betaine relative to choline as a dietary methyl donor. Poultry Sci., 66: p. 135.

  • Löest C. A., Titgemeyer E. C., Drouillard J. S., Coetzer C. M., Hunter R. D., Bindel D. J., Lambert B. D. (2002). Supplemental betaine and peroxide-treated feather meal for finishing cattle. J. Anim. Sci., 80: 2234-2240.

  • Matthews J. O., Southern L. L., Pontif J. E., Higbie A. D., Bidner T. D. (1998). Interactive effects of betaine, crude protein, and net energy in finishing pigs. J. Anim. Sci., 76: 2444-2455.

  • McNeil S. D., Nuccio M. L., Hanson A. D. (1999): Betaines and related osmoprotectants. Targets for metabolic engineering of stress resistance. Plant. Physiol., 120: 945-949.

  • Nakev J., Popova T., Vasileva V. (2009). Influence of dietary betaine supplementation on the growth performance and carcass characteristics in male and female growing-finishing pigs. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 15: 263-268.

  • Odle J., Heo K. N., Lin X. (2000). The role of carnitine and betaine in lean growth modulation of swine. Asian-Austral. J. Anim. Sci., 13, Special Issue, pp. 386-395.

  • Overland M., Rorvik K. A., Skrede A. (1999). Effect of trimethylamine oxide and betaine in swine diets on growth performance, carcass characteristics, nutrient digestibility, and sensory quality of pork. J. Anim. Sci., 77: 2143-2153.

  • Partridge G. G. (2003). Betaine's dual role. Pig Progress, 19, p. 10.

  • Petronini P. G., De Angelis E. M., Borghetti P., Borghetti A. F., Wheeler K. P. (1992). Modulation by betaine of cellular responses to osmotic stress. Biochem. J., 282: 69-73.

  • Puchala R., Zabielski R., Lesniewska P., Gralak W., Kiela P., Barej W. (1998). Influence of duodenal infusion of betaine or choline on blood metabolites and duodenal electrical activity in Friesian calves. J. Agric. Sci., 131: 321-327.

  • Remus J. C., Virtanen E. (1996). Use of liquid betaine in low methionine diets for broilers. Poultry Sci., 75, (Suppl. 1), p. 35.

  • Rojas-Cano M. L., Lara L., Lachica M., Aguilera J. F., Fernandez-Figares I., (2011). Influence of betaine and conjugated linoleic acid on development of carcass cuts of Iberian pigs growing from 20 to 50 kg body weight. Meat Science, 88: 525-530.

  • Saarinen M. T., Kettunen H., Pulliainen K., Peuranen S., Tiihonen K., Remus J. (2001). A novel method to analyze betaine in chicken liver: effect of dietary betaine and choline supplementation on the hepatic betaine concentration in chick. J. Agric. Food Chem., 49: 559-563.

  • Sales J. (2011). A meta-analysis of the effects of dietary betaine supplementation on finishing performance and carcass characteristics of pigs. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 165: 68-78.

  • Saunderson C. L., MacKinlay J. (1990). Changes in body-weight, composition and hepatic enzyme activities in response to dietary methionine, betaine and choline levels in growing chicks. Brit. J. Nutr., 63: 339-349.

  • Schrama J. W., Heetkamp M. J., Simmins, Gertis W. J. J. (2003). Dietary betaine supplementation affects energy metabolism of pigs. J. Anim. Sci., 81: 1202-1209.

  • Schrama J. W., Simmins P., Gerrits W. J. J. (2001). Effect of dietary betaine supplementation on energy partitioning in pigs. J. Anim. Sci., 79 (Suppl. 1), p. 184.

  • Siljander-Rasi H., Peuranen S., Tiihonen K., Virtanen E., Kettunen H., Alaviuhkola T., Simmins P. H. (2003). Effect of equi-molar dietary betaine and choline addition on performance, carcass quality and physiological parameters of pigs. Anim. Sci., 76: 55-62.

  • Simon J. (1999). Choline, betaine and methionine interactions in chickens, pigs and fish (including crustaceans). World Poultry Sci. J., 55: 353-374.

  • Swain B. K., Johri T. S. (2000). Effect of supplemental methionine, choline and their combinations on the performance and immunoresponse of broilers. Brit. Poultry Sci., 41: 83-88.

  • Szramko E., Lipiński K., Purwin C., Tywończuk J., Antoszkiewicz Z. (2006 a). Possibility to reduce the levels of energy and amino acids in diets for growing pigs supplemented with betaine and feed enzymes. Ann. Anim. Sci., Suppl. 2/1: 215-219.

  • Szramko E., Lipiński K., Purwin C., Tywończuk J., Antoszkiewicz Z. (2006 b). Response of growing-finishing pigs to reduced levels of energy and amino acids in diets supplemented with betaine and feed enzymes. Pol. J. Natur. Sci., Suppl., 3: 369-376.

  • Van Milgen J., Noblet J., Dubois S. (2003). Effect of betaine on energy partitioning in growing pigs. J. Anim. Sci., 81, (Suppl. 1), p. 141.

  • Virtanen E. (1995). Piecing together the betaine puzzle. Feed Mix, 3, 1: 12-17.

  • Virtanen E., Junnila J., Soivio A. (1989). Effects of food containing betaine/amino acid additive on the osmotic adaptation of young Atlantic salmon, Salmo solar L. Aquaculture, 83: 109-122.

  • Virtanen E., Remus J., Rosi L., McNaughton J., Augustine P. (1996). The effect of betaine and salinomycin during coccidosis in broilers. Poultry Sci., 75 (Suppl. 1), p. 149.

  • Więckowski M. R., Zabłocki K. (1996). Osmolality and regulation in kidney cells (in Polish). Post. Biochem., 42, 2: 167-177.

  • Woyengo T. A., Sands J. S., Guenter W., Nyachoti C. M. (2008). Nutrient digestibility and performance responses of growing pigs fed phytase- and xylanase-supplemented wheat-based diets. J. Anim. Sci., 86: 848-857.

  • Wray-Cahen D., Fernandez-Figares I., Virtanen E., Steele N. C., Carpena T. J. (2004). Betaine improves growth, but does not induce whole body or hepatic palmitate oxidation in swine (Sus scrofa domestica). Comp. Biochem. Physiol., Part A, 137, 1: 131-140.

  • Yang H. S., Lee J. I., Joo S. T., Park G. B. (2009). Effects of dietary glycine betaine on growth and pork quality of finishing pigs. Asian-Austral. J. Anim. Sci., 22: 706-711.

  • Yao Z., Vance D. (1989). Head group specificity in the requirement of phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis for low density lipoprotein secretion from cultured hepatocytes. J. Biol. Chem., 264: 11373-11380.

  • Zabaras-Krick B. (1997). Betaine improves energy utilisation. Intern. Pig. Topics., 12, 5: 12-14.

  • Zeisel Z. R., Mar M. H., Howe J. C., Holden J. M. (2003). Concentration of choline-containing compounds and betaine in common foods. J. Nutr., 133: 1302-1307.

  • Zulkifli I., Mysahra S. A., Jin L. Z. (2004). Dietary supplementation of betaine (Betafin®) and response to high temperature stress in male broiler chickens. Asian-Austral. J. Anim. Sci., 17, 2: 244-249.


Journal + Issues