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Methionine is an amino acid that must be obtained through the diet.  It is vital for the body and has a number of health benefits.  Read on to learn more about why it is so necessary.

What is Methionine?

Methionine is an essential amino acid that is needed for good health.  However, it cannot be produced in the body and so must be obtained through the diet.  One important function of methionine is its ability to be a supplier of sulphur and other compounds that are needed by the body for normal metabolism and growth.  Sulphur (or sulfur) is a key element – without enough sulphur, the body is unable to make and use a number of antioxidant nutrients.  Methionine is also a methyl donor, giving off a methyl group this is needed for a variety of chemical and metabolic reactions in the body.

Methionine belongs to a group of compounds called lipotropics that help the liver to process fat in the body.  Once it is in the liver, methionine is converted into SAMe (s-adenosyl methionine) and SAMe is therefore the metabolite of methionine.  As much as 8 grams of SAMe is produced by the liver each day under ideal conditions.

Sources of Methionine

Sources of methionine include:

• meat
• fish
• dairy products
• whole grains
• garlic
• onions
• beans
• lentils

Benefits of Methionine

Methionine has a number of benefits for the body.  It can treat depression, inflammation, liver diseases, and certain muscle pains.  It is beneficial in people that are suffering from estrogen dominance, where the amount of estrogen in the body is excessively high when compared to the opposing hormone progesterone.  Methionine converts the stronger and carcinogenic estradiol into estriol, the “good” estrogen.

SAMe also has many benefits.  It can be used to fight hepatitis and cirrhosis, and it can also be used to alleviate depression.  Both methionine and SAMe have anti-inflammatory effects and thus can be used in combination to treat osteoarthritis.  SAMe may also be helpful for multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue.

Other benefits of methionine are as following:

• improves tone and pliability of hair, skin, and nails as it is essential for the formation of healthy collagen
• chelates heavy metals, allowing them to be eliminated from the body
• helps prevent premature ejaculation
• helps prevent chronic depression
• reduces the levels of inflammatory histamines in the body
• helpful for treating urinary tract infection as it stops bacteria from sticking to and proliferating in the walls of the urinary tract

Methionine Supplementation

Most people do not require methionine supplementation if they are in good health.  However, strict vegetarians and anyone on a low protein diet should consider supplementation.  If supplementation is required, taurine, cysteine and other sulphur containing amino acids, as well as vitamin B6 and folic acid should also be included.  The recommended supplementation dosage ranges from 200mg to 1000mg in divided doses through the day.

Topic: Nutrition

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