Get access

Betaine supplementation causes increase in carnitine metabolites in the muscle and liver of mice fed a high-fat diet as studied by nontargeted LC-MS metabolomics approach




Betaine (BET) reduces diet-induced liver lipid accumulation, and may relieve obesity-related metabolic disturbances. The aim of our study was to analyze metabolite alterations after supplementation of BET, polydextrose (PDX, a soluble dietary fiber), or their combination (BET PDX) via drinking water to C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat (HF) diet.

Methods and results

BET supplementation increased BET levels in plasma, muscle, and liver (p < 0.05), and the nontargeted LC-MS metabolite profiling revealed an increase in several metabolites in the carnitine biosynthesis pathway after BET supplementation both in liver and muscle. These included carnitine and acetylcarnitine (1.4-fold, p < 0.05), propionylcarnitine and γ-butyrobetaine (1.5-fold, p < 0.05), and several other short-chain acylcarnitines (p < 0.05) in muscle. These changes were slightly higher in the BET PDX group. Furthermore, BET reduced the HF diet induced accumulation of triglycerides in liver (p < 0.05). The supplementations did not attenuate the HF diet induced increase in body weight gain or the increase in adipose tissue mass. Instead, the combination of BET and PDX tended to increase adiposity.


Our results suggest that increased availability of BET in different tissues, especially in muscle, after BET supplementation has an impact on carnitine metabolism, and this could further explain the link between BET and lipid metabolism.