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Methionine

Methionine

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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).

Where is it found?

Meat, fish, and dairy are all good sources of methionine. Vegetarians can obtain methionine from whole grains, but beans are a relatively poor source of this amino acid.

Methionine has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):

Science Ratings Health Concerns
2Stars

Pancreatitis

Parkinson’s disease

1Star

HIV support

Liver support

3Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.

Who is likely to be deficient?

Most people consume plenty of methionine through a typical diet. Lower intakes during pregnancy have been associated with neural tube defects in newborns, but the significance of this is not yet clear.1

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How much is usually taken?

Amino acid requirements vary according to body weight. However, average-size adults require approximately 800–1,000 mg of methionine per day—an amount easily obtained or even exceeded by most Western diets.

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Are there any side effects or interactions?

Animal studies suggest that diets high in methionine, in the presence of B-vitamin deficiencies, may increase the risk for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by increasing blood levels of cholesterol and a compound called homocysteine.2 This idea has not yet been tested in humans. Excessive methionine intake, together with inadequate intake of folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, can increase the conversion of methionine to homocysteine—a substance linked to heart disease and stroke. Even in the absence of a deficiency of folic acid, B6, or B12, megadoses of methionine (7 grams per day) have been found to cause elevations in blood levels of homocysteine.3 Whether such an increase would create a significant hazard for humans taking supplemental methionine has not been established. Supplementation of up to 2 grams of methionine daily for long periods of time has not been reported to cause any serious side effects.4

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with methionine.

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References
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