The Antioxidants Section
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Methionine is an essential amino acid that helps the body process and eliminate fat. It contains sulfur, a substance that is required for the production of the body’s most abundant natural antioxidant, glutathione. The body also needs plenty of methionine to produce two other sulfur-containing amino acids, cysteine and taurine, which help the body eliminate toxins, build strong, healthy tissues, and promote cardiovascular health.
Methionine is a lipotropic, or a chemical substance that helps the liver process fats (lipids). Other lipotropics include choline, inositol, and betaine (trimethylglycine), all of which help prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver and thus ensure normal liver function, which is essential for the elimination of toxins from the body. Methionine also supports liver function by regulating glutathione supplies; glutathione is needed to help neutralize toxins in the liver.
Methionine is needed to make creatine, a nutrient naturally found primarily in muscle tissue that provides the energy our muscles need to move, and has been found to boost athletic performance during short, intense workouts. Creatine is necessary for all muscular function, and thus supports normal functioning of the heart and circulatory system.
Methionine is essential for the formation of healthy collagen used to form skin, nails, and connective tissue, and helps reduce the level of inflammatory histamines in the body. People with conditions linked to excessive histamine production, such as arthritis and chronic allergies, may benefit from methionine supplementation.
People with AIDS have low levels of methionine. Although research in this area is preliminary, some researchers suggest that methionine deficiency may be linked to certain aspects of the disease process, such as deterioration that occurs in the nervous system that can cause dementia. One study reported that taking just 6 grams of methionine each day can improve memory recall in people with AIDS.
Preliminary research indicates that methionine may also help treat symptoms of pancreatitis and Parkinsons disease. It has also been found to be helpful for treatment of urinary tract infections; like cranberry, methionine helps prevent bacteria from sticking to and proliferating in the walls of the urinary tract.
Recently a form of methionine supplement called SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) has become available. Research has shown that SAMe is effective for treatment of arthritis and some forms of depression. The average dose is 400 milligrams three times daily, and it works best when taken with a B-complex vitamin. You can also obtain SAMe at any local pharmacy or health food store.
Methionine is an essential vitamin, which means it must be obtained through dietary sources. It is found in a variety of natural food sources, including beans, eggs, fish, garlic, lentils, meat, onions, soybeans, seeds, and yogurt. It is also available at health food stores and from online distributors in capsule and powder forms.
Average-size adults require approximately 800 to 1,000 milligrams of methionine per day. It is important to note that 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 cardiovascular disease. However, supplementation of up to 2 grams of methionine daily for long periods of time has not been reported to cause any serious side effects.
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