Methionine is an essential sulphur amino acid. Essential, and quite broadly useful, as it has several functions in the human body:
- It is an ingredient of protein synthesis
- It is a cofactor in a number of metabolic processes. One of foremost importance is as a cofactor for the synthesis of S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAM). SAM is critical to many downstream reactions and processes, where it is the principal methyl donor in a great many crucial processes.
- It is a source of sulphur, another essential element required by the human body (and one which is almost all obtained from amino acids and proteins).
- It has a minor role in cases of vitamin B12 deficiency, in which it is able to replace some of the functions of methylcobalamin. However, this is no substitute for correcting the body's B12 balance.
Although we need to consume essential proteins and amino acids there is no RDA as such. But it is generally thought that adults should have somewhere in the range of 780 - 960 mg of sulphur amino acids each day. Specifically for methionine, the amount is thought to be in the range of 300 - 780mg.
Dietary methionine can be found in most protein rich foods, and especially animal proteins. Good sources include meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts - brazil nuts and peanuts are good - and pulses.
One capsule of this supplement provides 310mg methionine, so is ideal for general supplementation.
To be fully effective, methionine supplementation may benefit from additional vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid. (Folic acid is of particular relevance to the synthesis of SAM.)
Alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of methionine supplementation.
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