Purported Benefits, Side Effects & More


Purported Benefits, Side Effects & More

Common Names

  • Dimethylglycine
  • Dimethylaminoacetic acid
  • N-methylsarcosine

For Patients & Caregivers

Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements you’re taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.

What is it?

Dimethylglycine has been used to improve immune function and to manage autism and seizures, but evidenced is mixed or lacking.

Dimethylglycine (DMG) is an amino acid found naturally in plant and animal cells and in many foods such as beans, cereal grains, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, and liver. It is used to improve energy, boost the immune system, and to manage seizures and autism. There are some positive reports of DMG efficacy on the immune system. However, none of these claims have been confirmed in clinical trials.

What are the potential uses and benefits?
  • Athletic-performance enhancer

    There is no scientific evidence to support this use.
  • Immunostimulant

    There is conflicting data about the efficacy of dimethylglycine in boosting the immune system.
  • Autism

    Limited studies have produced mixed results, and a recent systematic review did not find evidence of benefit with DMG for autism symptoms. 
  • Epilepsy

    Single case reports describe decreased seizure frequency, but larger studies have not documented any benefit.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

    There is no scientific evidence to support this use.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

    There is no scientific evidence to support this use.

For Healthcare Professionals

Scientific Name
Clinical Summary

Dimethylglycine (DMG) is a derivative of the amino acid glycine. It is found naturally in plant and animal cells and in certain foods such as beans, cereal grains, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, and liver. DMG is produced in cells during the metabolism of choline (1) and is considered an antioxidant and enhancer of oxygenation at the cellular level (2). Choline and DMG are present at higher levels in fetal versus maternal plasma (3). Plasma DMG levels have been found to be lower in children with cystic fibrosis than in healthy children (4).

Animal studies on whether DMG can enhance immune response are mixed (5) (6).

Data in humans are also quite limited. A few studies suggest DMG may help enhance both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses (2). However, DMG had no effect on oxygen consumption in children with SLSJ-COX deficiency (7), and its use to treat seizures or autism stays controversial as limited clinical trials have yielded mixed results (1) (8). In addition, a systematic review of supplements found no effects with DMG for autism symptoms (11).

In a small long-term trial of patients with progressive multiple sclerosis, oral DMG also did not improve fatigue, cognition, gait performance, or disability status (12).

DMG should not be confused with trimethylglycine (betaine), which is involved in the methylation of homocysteine to form methionine.

Food Sources

Beans, cereal grains, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, liver

Purported Uses and Benefits
  • Athletic performance
  • Immunostimulant
  • Autism
  • Epilepsy
  • ADHD
  • Chronic fatigue
Mechanism of Action

Choline and DMG are present at higher levels in fetal versus maternal plasma, suggesting that choline provides glycine via DMG for glutathione synthesis in fetal development (3).

Enhanced physical performance in animals with DMG supplementation may occur via improved oxygen utilization and reduced lactic acid formation. In humans, it is thought to enhance humoral and cell-mediated immune responses (2). No mechanisms have been uncovered to elucidate claims of DMG for autism, ADHD, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, or athletic performance enhancement. A recent metabolic analysis of healthy subjects correlated high plasma cholesterol levels with low levels for some metabolites related to mitochondrial metabolism including dimethylglycine (9).

DMG has been used as an ester to increase the solubility and bioavailability of a prodrug used in cancer research (10). However, DMG is not the active moiety and there is no evidence it has any antitumor effects.

Dosage (OneMSK Only)
  1. Kern JK, Miller VS, Cauller PL, et al. Effectiveness of N,N-dimethylglycine in autism and pervasive developmental disorder. J Child Neurol. 2001;16(3):169-73.
  2. Graber CD, Goust JM, Glassman AD, et al. Immunomodulating properties of dimethylglycine in humans. J Infect Dis. 1981;143(1):101-5.
  3. Friesen RW, Novak EM, Hasman D, Innis SM. Relationship of dimethylglycine, choline, and betaine with oxoproline in plasma of pregnant women and their newborn infants. J Nutr. 2007 Dec;137(12):2641-6.
  4. Innis SM, Davidson AG, Bay BN, Slack PJ, Hasman D. Plasma choline depletion is associated with decreased peripheral blood leukocyte acetylcholine in children with cystic fibrosis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar;93(3):564-8.
  5. Reap EA, Lawson, JW. Stimulation of the immune response by dimethylglycine, a nontoxic metabolite. J Lab Clin Med. 1990;115(4):481-6.
  6. Weiss RC. Immunologic responses in healthy random-source cats fed N,N-dimethylglycine-supplemented diets. Am J Vet Res. 1992;53(5):829-33.
  7. Liet JM, Pelletier V, Robinson BH, et al. The effect of short-term dimethylglycine treatment on oxygen consumption in cytochrome oxidase deficiency: a double-blind randomized crossover clinical trial. J Pediatr. 2003 Jan;142(1):62-6.
  8. Bolman WM, Richmond JA. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover pilot trial of low dose dimethylglycine in patients with autistic disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 1999;29(3):191-4.
  9. Bernini P, Bertini I, Luchinat C, et al. The cardiovascular risk of healthy individuals studied by NMR metabonomics of plasma samples. J Proteome Res. Nov 4 2011;10(11):4983-4992.
  10. Jones-Bolin S, Zhao H, Hunter K, et al. The effects of the oral, pan-VEGF-R kinase inhibitor CEP-7055 and chemotherapy in orthotopic models of glioblastoma and colon carcinoma in mice. Mol Cancer Ther. Jul 2006;5(7):1744-1753.
  11. Gogou M, Kolios G. The effect of dietary supplements on clinical aspects of autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review of the literature. Brain Dev. Sep 2017;39(8):656-664.
  12. Wolfsegger T, Böck K, Schimetta W, et al. N,N-Dimethylglycine in patients with progressive multiple sclerosis: result of a pilot double-blind, placebo, controlled randomized clinical trial. Neurol Res Pract. May 24 2021;3(1):29.
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