Methionine

Nonessential Micronutrient

OVERVIEW

Summary

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.

Other names for Methionine

L-methionine

Where to find Methionine

Virtually all complete proteins, such as meat, fish, eggs, poultry, and cottage cheese contain methionine.

Popup: Foods highest in Methionine

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use 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.

Ways that Methionine can enhance Muscle Gain & Recovery:
  • Support the body’s ability to build and maintain lean mass as a building block of protein
Ways that Methionine can enhance Fat Loss:
  • Metabolize fats and prevent cholesterol buildup
Ways that Methionine can enhance Longevity:
  • Detoxify the body and fight free-radical damage

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of Methionine deficiency

Deficiency of Methionine has been linked to:

  • Breakdown in ability to process urine
  • Edema
  • Lowered resistance to infection
  • Decreased protein synthesis
  • Cataracts
Potential uses for Methionine

Research indicates that Methionine may also be useful in the treatment of:

  • Alcoholism
  • SIDS

DISCUSSION

More about Methionine

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.

Sulfur and healthy skin and hair

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.

Break down fats and other toxins

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.

Deficiency issues

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.

Other notable info

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.

In conclusion

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.

NOTES ON USAGE

Amount

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.

Timing

Methionine can be taken with or without food any time during the day.

Synergists of Methionine

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.

Toxicity of Methionine

No known toxicity.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Muller, F., et al., “Elevated Plasma Concentration of Reduced Homocysteine in Patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection,” Am J Clin Nutr 63.2 (1996) : 242-8.
  • Smythies, J.R., and Halsey, J.H., “Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease with L-Methionine,” South Med J 77.12 (1984) : 1577.
  • Toborek, M., and Hennig, B. “Is Methionine an Atherogenic Amino Acid?” J Optimalt Nutr 3,2 (1994) : 80-3.