Methionine, a building block of protein, is a powerful antioxidant that protects body tissues from destructive free radicals — aiding muscle building, protecting against muscle breakdown, helping skin remain pliable and healthy, and protecting and strengthening hair and nails.
Virtually all complete proteins, such as meat, fish, eggs, poultry, and cottage cheese contain methionine.
Popup: Foods highest in Methionine
While people on a high-protein diet usually obtain adequate amounts of methionine from food, some athletes still claim that supplementation helps diminish muscle-tissue breakdown due to intense workouts.
Deficiency of Methionine has been linked to:
Research indicates that Methionine may also be useful in the treatment of:
Methionine is an essential amino acid that functions as a building block of all proteins, as do all aminos. It also plays a key role in the formation of RNA and DNA and acts as a powerful antioxidant to protect the body from destructive free radicals (especially those released by alcohol).
Because it is not synthesized by the body, methionine must be obtained from food or supplementation. This is especially important to note for vegetarians because methionine is the least abundant amino acid in many foods, particularly beans and nuts.
As one of the sulfur amino acids (along with cysteine), methionine is known for its ability to help keep the skin pliable, condition the hair, and strengthen the nails. Sulfur is also involved in the production of protein, slowing the aging process, and protecting the cells from some forms of pollution, such as smog.
People who consume high-fat diets may benefit from methionine supplementation because it appears to help break down fats by helping the liver produce lecithin, which prevents dangerous deposits of cholesterol from forming in the blood vessels, thus potentially lowering the chances of heart disease as well as gallstone formation. Because of its conversion to cysteine, methionine may also help neutralize toxins.
A deficiency of methionine has been linked to the breakdown of our ability to process urine, which may lead to water retention and swelling, as well as a greater susceptibility to infection. A deficiency also appears to decrease muscle protein synthesis. Yet, once it is “reintroduced,” that synthesis again increases. Recent studies have demonstrated that methionine deficiencies may be associated with the development of cataracts.
The multifunctional role of methionine also includes the synthesis of carnitine, creatine, and glutathione. It’s also been shown to help lower high serum copper levels and pull other heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, out of the body.
What’s more, methionine has been shown to lower levels of histamine in the blood, which could make it helpful for people with allergies as well as people with schizophrenia because histamine is what causes the garbled messages that are so confusing for people with this mental illness.
Okay, methionine isn’t a red-hot nutrient. It isn’t one you’re going to read headlines about heralding it’s many benefits. Yet this non-assuming nutrient still remains important to a number of functions in the body. Vegetarians and people on high-fat diets may especially want to make sure they’re consuming enough of this nutrient.
Some athletes reportedly obtain their methionine needs from protein sources, including powders, bars, and meal-replacement drinks. Others prefer to supplement with between 500 and 2,000 mg per day.
Methionine can be taken with or without food any time during the day.
Methionine helps increase the absorption of selenium, a trace mineral and powerful antioxidant.
Methionine and choline are needed to detoxify the byproducts of protein metabolism.
No known toxicity.