The positive effects of betaine

Perhaps the most studied situation regarding the beneficial effects of betaine is heat stress. Many animals live in environmental temperatures that exceed their thermal comfort zone, which causes heat stress.

Heat stress is a typical condition in which it is important for animals to regulate their water balance. Due to its ability to act as a protective osmolyte, betaine relieves heat stress, as evidenced by lower rectal temperatures and less dyspnea in broilers, for example.

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Reducing heat stress in animals encourages food intake and helps maintain productivity. Reports not only on broilers but also on hair, sows, rabbits, dairy cattle and beef cattle show a positive effect of betaine in maintaining productivity in hot weather and high humidity. 

In addition, betaine can help maintain gut health. The intestinal cells are constantly exposed to hyperosmotic intestinal contents, and in the case of diarrhea, the osmotic challenge for these cells is even greater. Betaine is important for the osmotic protection of intestinal cells.

Maintaining water balance and cell volume through the intracellular accumulation of betaine results in better gut morphology (taller hair) and better digestibility (due to well-maintained enzyme secretion and increased nutrient absorption surface). Betaine's positive effects on gut health have been especially seen in infected animals: for example, coccidiosis poultry and weaned piglets.

Betaine is also known as a cadaver modifier. Various functions of betaine play a role in protein, energy, and fat metabolism in animals.