Dimethylglycine (DMG)

By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is dimethylglycine?

Dimethylglycine (DMG) is a supplement that is often used as a performance enhancer in racing animals such as dogs and horses for its alleged ability to reduce lactic acid buildup and therefore its ability to reduce muscle fatigue. It is a derivative of the amino acid glycine and is a natural product of choline metabolism in the body. Other reported uses/benefits have been for autism, seizures, lupus, melanoma, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, and improved immune and cardiovascular function in humans, although many of these uses have not been strongly corroborated by robust scientific studies.

Dietary supplements are substances that can be used to supplement the diet, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, botanicals, enzymes, and probiotics. While many supplements are sold over the counter, they still contain ingredients that have biological effects that should be managed by your veterinarian. Follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.

There are differences in how countries regulate supplements. In the United States, these substances are not as vigorously regulated by the FDA as other medications, which means they can be sold without the manufacturer proving their effectiveness, safety, and without a guarantee of consistent or accurately reported ingredients. In Canada, products that have been evaluated for quality, safety, and effectiveness by Health Canada and authorized for sale will have a license number on the label.

How effective is dimethylglycine?

Limited studies in animals have been performed, but there is anecdotal evidence that dimethylglycine may benefit those with certain immune, cardiovascular, or metabolic diseases. However, better clinical trials must be performed to evaluate these possible benefits.

How is dimethylglycine given?

Dimethylglycine is given by mouth in the form of a capsule, tablet, powder, or liquid. It may be given with or without food; however, if stomach upset occurs when dosed on an empty stomach, give future doses with food. Measure liquid forms carefully.

What if I miss giving my pet the supplement?

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember, but if it is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and give it at the next scheduled time, and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects?

Studies are limited for this supplement and therefore information regarding side effects is also limited. To date, there have not been any documented side effects.

Are there any risk factors for this supplement?

Studies are limited for this supplement and therefore information regarding risk factors is also limited. Because studies are limited, DMG should be used cautiously in pregnant or nursing pets, and in sick and debilitated pets.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

No drug interactions with dimethylglycine have been identified to date.

Vitamins, herbal therapies, and supplements have the potential to interact with each other, as well as with prescription and over the counter medications. It is important to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including all vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this supplement?

There is no specific monitoring that needs to be done while your pet is taking this medication. Your veterinarian may monitor your pet to be sure that the medication is working.

How do I store dimethylglycine?

In general, store this supplement in a cool, dry place and protected from light. There are many different manufacturers and formulations of this supplement, so always refer to the label for specific storage instructions.

What should I do in case of emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

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