What Is Methionine?
Devoting a bit of your day to researching your supplement ingredients and methionine piqued your interest? Good for you. Knowledge is power and we’re about to give you a higher rank.
Let’s hop right in.
Methionine is an essential amino acid which means the body cannot make it, and you have to obtain it from dietary sources.
Foods like beef, lamb, turkey, fish, pork, shellfish, fish, soy, eggs, nuts, dairy and beans all contain this amino acid.
Absorption by the body is higher when consuming dairy or taken pure. The recommended daily intake is around 4-5 mg per pound of body weight. So if you’re 200 pounds, your maximum recommended dose is 900 mg.
You should not exceed the recommended dosage.
We’ll get to that in a moment.
Let’s talk about what it does…
Methionine Helps Form Cartilage and Decreases Fat Deposits
It is often associated with its cartilage triggering properties. It is one of only two sulfur-containing amino acids and sulfur is required for cartilage production. Deficiency in sulfur can lead to joint pain and is seen in patients with arthritis.
It combats hair loss and fortifies nails. It also decreases fat deposits in the liver by increasing the liver’s production of lecithin which helps clear out stored fat.
Methionine Helps Form Creatine
It is one of three amigos that make creatine which are glycine, arginine, and methionine. Thus, having it available to transform into a part of creatine is important.
It also universally initiates protein synthesis—the process of repairing and rebuilding proteins which build muscle. So it stands to reason that the more you have available, the more protein synthesis and creatine production that can take place. Right?
But—don’t become a ‘meth-head.’ Seriously, methionine has serious side effects on the brain.
Excess Consumption of Methionine is Linked to Alzheimer’s
Methionine has been used as a treatment for depression and improved brain function. Those with AIDS and other diseases that result in low levels can benefit from it. As such, many studies have been conducted into its efficacy (that’s a science-y word for effectiveness. Say it with a British accent and you’ll sound SUPER refined.)
Methionine is converted into homocysteine and later transforms into α-ketobutyrate and cysteine. Homocysteine can convert back to methionine, too. We wrote about betaine’s impact on lowering homocysteine levels by converting it into methionine through passing off a methyl.
So, now we have lowered homocysteine but increased methionine. Studies show increased levels of this amino acid can lead to diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. It’s important to note this result is in normal healthy subjects, not those suffering from a deficiency as a result of a disease.
Aside from health issues, high consumption of this amino acid can actually promote brain damage. Methyl donors, which is what the guys in white lab coats call nutrients that share methyls, can aggravate psychotic symptoms.
Recent studies also link high levels with Alzheimer’s disease. Long term-exposure to high levels induces memory loss and neurotoxic effects.
Research Supplement Ingredients Before You Buy
What’s the moral of the story? Just because methionine, or any other ingredient, is natural doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful.
Given the wide range of food sources that contain this amino acid, coupled with the small recommended daily dosage, you’re likely getting enough through food sources if you’re an average healthy human.