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Methionine : The essential amino acid which assists with metabolic function, breaks down fat, and is the primary source of sulfur in the body.

Methionine is one of the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein), meaning that it cannot be produced by the body, and must be provided by the diet. It supplies sulfur and other compounds required by the body for normal metabolism and growth. Methionine also belongs to a group of compounds called lipotropics, or chemicals that help the liver process fats (lipids). Others in this group include choline, inositol, and betaine (trimethylglycine). Methionine was first isolated in 1922 from casein and belongs to a group of compounds called lipotropics – the others in this group include choline , inositol , and betaine. It is important in the process of methylation where methyl is added to compounds as well as being a precursor to the amino acids cystine and cysteine.

Methionine is an essential amino acid that assists in the breakdown of fats, thus helping to prevent a buildup of fat in the liver and arteries that might obstruct blood flow to the brain, heart, and kidneys.  Methionine helps lower cholesterol levels by increasing the liver’s production of lecithin; reduces liver fat and protects the kidneys. It regulates the formation of ammonia and creates ammonia-free urine which reduces bladder irritation. Additionally, the DSIB indicates that studies have shown methionine to help reduce histamine levels, which are amino acids that control dilation of blood vessels and influence brain function

Function and Benefits of Methionine

  • Supplies sulfur and other compounds required by the body for normal metabolism and growth. Improves memory recall in people with AIDS-related nervous system degeneration.
  • Methionine amino acid helps the digestive system; helps to detoxify harmful agents such as lead and other heavy metals; helps diminish muscle weakness, prevent brittle hair, and protect against radiation; and is beneficial for people with osteoporosis or chemical allergies.
  • People with AIDS have low levels of methionine. Some researchers suggest this may explain some aspects of the disease process, especially the deterioration that occurs in the nervous system that can cause symptoms, including dementia. A preliminary study has suggested that methionine (6 grams per day) may improve memory recall in people with AIDS-related nervous system degeneration.
  • It is also good for people with Gilbert’s syndrome, an anomaly of liver function, and is required for the synthesis of nucleic acids, collagen, and proteins found in every cell of the body.
  • It is beneficial for women who take oral contraceptives because it promotes the excretion of estrogen.
  • It reduces the level of histamine in the body, which can be useful for people with schizophrenia, whose histamine levels are typically higher than normal.
  • As levels of toxic substances in the body increase, the need for methionine increases. The body can convert methionine into the amino acid cysteine, a precursor of glutathione
  • Methionine  protects glutathione; it helps to prevent glutathione depletion if the body is overloaded with toxins. Since glutathione is a key neutralizer of toxins in the liver, this protects the liver from the damaging effects of toxic compounds.
  • It has also been found to act as an antioxidant as its sulfur group removes the free radicals which are harmful to our various organs.
  • Methionine along with other amino acid also forms creatine which is an important constituent of the muscles and provide them strength.

Deficiency Symptoms of Methionine

Severe deficiency may manifest in dementia, while lesser deficiencies may be known by symptoms like fatty liver, slow growth, weakness, edema and skin lesions.

Food Sources of Methionine
  • Good food sources of methionine include:  Almonds, brazil nuts, broccoli, chickpea, beans, eggs, fish, garlic, lentils, meat, oats, onions, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soyabeans, seeds, and yogurt.
  • Because the body uses methionine to derive a brain food called choline, it is wise to supplement the diet with choline or lecithin (which is high in choline) to ensure that the supply of methionine is not depleted.
  •  Most fruits and vegetables contain very little of it.  Also in Sea vegetable like laver and spirulina