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Methionine - Benefits, Side Effects, Uses & Warnings | Nu Image Medical®

Methionine - Benefits, Side Effects, Uses & Warnings | Nu Image Medical®
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 5 min read

Methionine is an amino acid; amino acids are used as “building blocks” by the body, which are in turn used to make proteins. The body can’t survive without protein, and for this reason, amino acids are essential. Deficiencies can be remedied by a Methionine supplement. Additionally, Methionine can be found in meat, in fish, you can consume dairy products, and other foods, to ensure proper levels of the amino acid are synthesized by the body. The amino acid plays an integral role to our cell-function process. There are many benefits one can derive when they have proper levels of this, and other amino acids.

Other functions of Methionine

Methionine can also be used by the body to help protect the liver. It can help protect the liver from damage when acetaminophen poisoning occurs; it can also help to flush the liver, ensuring proper function. Methionine has also been used to treat other conditions, including high acidity levels in urine, which can often lead to a UTI (urinary tract infection). Liver disorders, improving wound healing, and other benefits can be attained by the use of a Methionine from proper cell function, to treating depression, alcoholism, treating asthma, allergies, radiation, schizophrenia, radiation, and drug withdrawal symptoms.


Uses of Methionine

Methionine has many uses. These are a few of the common reasons why people use the amino acid supplement.

1.       Treat acetaminophen poisoning –

Research has shown that when individuals who take Methionine oral supplements or via IV treatment can help in treating acetaminophen poisoning. The treatment should be as quickly as possible, in order to ensure the best results are achieved. But, if an overdose is something that has occurred, if it important to begin the Methionine treatment within a ten-hour window, otherwise it is best to go to an ER, or seek medical attention with a specialist.


2.       Treat a cobalamin deficiency –

Long term exposures to nitrous oxide, which can occur when you are given anesthesia during surgery, might also cause side effects which are similar to those of a cobalamin deficiency. If this is the case, research also suggests that taking Methionine by mouth or IV, it can help reduce the side effects which are caused by the exposure to nitrous oxide. So, taking the Methionine prior to going in for surgery, or if you are going to be sedated by anesthesia for a routine procedure, is a simple way to ensure the overexposure does not cause the symptoms which you are trying to avoid.


3.       Colon cancer treatment –

For those who eat a diet which is rich in Methionine, or supplement with Methionine  this can also help to reduce the risk of colon cancer. And, when taken with a diet which is rich in B-type vitamins, this is even more of a benefit in prevention of colon cancer, and other forms of cancer. This is even more so the case for those who have a history of colon cancer, and would like to prevent this from occurring as they get older. If you are a heavy drinker, consuming a diet which is rich in folate and in Methionine is also beneficial in trying to prevent this type of cancer.


4.       Birth defects –

Studies and research also suggests that a diet which is rich in Methionine can help in treating neural tube birth defects. Women who consume more dietary Methionine while they are pregnant, seem to have a lower risk of birth defects. So, whether taken in the form of a supplement, or consuming Methionine in the foods you are eating through your diet, it can benefit you while pregnant, in properly carrying out to full  term, and prevention of neural birth defects.


5.       Parkinson’s Disease -

If you have a history of Parkinson’s in the family, early studies and research suggest that consuming a diet which is rich in Methionine or consuming a supplement on a daily basis, is a great way to help prevent the disease. Taking L- Methionine by mouth, for a period of up to 6 months, has been shown to help reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s. tremors, inability to control movements, and rigidity, are all reduced when taking a Methionine supplement, or consuming foods which are rich in this amino acid.

It has also been studied and research suggests that a diet which is rich in Methionine or when a supplement is taken, it can help in treating liver dysfunction, it can help improve overall liver function, and it can help in treating conditions such as depression, treating allergies, alcoholism, or even asthma.

Of course, no two people are alike, and the desired use when taking Methionine is going to vary for each person. Therefore, it is best to discuss with your doctor, to not only understand how it is going to interact with your body and diet, but also to understand the benefits of taking Methionine. No matter what condition you want to treat, the right levels of Methionine are highly beneficial, and can help improve overall body functions as well.

Methionine Side Effects

It is important to note that no two people will react or interact with a specific drug or Methionine supplement in the same way. For this reason, it is important to discuss with your doctor the medications you are taking, whether or not there is a risk for an adverse reaction, and you should also discuss any sensitivities that you do have to other medications or drugs. Not only will this help a doctor properly prescribe a Methionine supplement if you should be taking one, but in the event,  you should not take it, they can also inform you of other alternatives which might work best for you.

So, what are the possible side effects you should be familiar of if you plan on taking a Methionine supplement? Some things to consider include:

-          Self-treating. Although this technically is not a side effect, it is important to know that self-treatment with Methionine, or with any other medication or supplement is not advised. Not only can it lead to adverse reactions, but it may also lead to overdoses. So, prior to taking a Methionine supplement, or any other supplement for that matter, speak to your doctor.

-          Increased blood levels: If it is taken in extremely high levels, Methionine has been known to increase blood levels to unsafe levels. It can lead to heart disease (although this is on the more severe end of things) so it is important to note the proper dosage when you are using Methionine supplements.

-          Tumor growth: When taken at extremely high levels, Methionine has also been reported to possibly lead to growth of tumors in the body. In order to ensure this is not a risk, before you do begin a dosage cycle of Methionine, make sure you discuss this, and other health risks with your doctor, to ensure it  is safe for you to use.

-          Pregnant/breast-feeding: Not enough research is available to determine the safety of consuming Methionine while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. So, women who are nursing, should first discuss the sue with their doctor, to ensure it is safe. Otherwise, it is best to avoid the use of a Methionine supplement while pregnant, if you are unsure of how you are going to react when it is taken.

-          Acidosis: Again, when taken in high levels, Methionine can lead to higher blood levels, and can increase the acidity levels in the blood. It should not be used by those who have acidosis, or have other blood conditions, especially if it is not first discussed with a doctor prior to taking a supplement.

-          Hardening of arteries: Reports also suggest that when taken at very high levels, Methionine can lead to hardening of the arteries. Concerns of atherosclerosis, or worse, are some of the concerns that doctors and specialists have when taking Methionine, so it is important to ensure the proper dosage is known, prior to starting to use this supplement. Especially in those who do not consume enough folate, or enough of the B-vitamins in their diet, overdose of Methionine can be far more dangerous and can cause a great deal of risk that hardening of the arteries may occur.

-          Risk for heart disease: This is often a risk with many vitamins, minerals, and prescriptions, it is also a risk when taking Methionine if you are taking it in extremely high levels. And, if you do suffer from heart disease, or other ailments, you should not take Methionine without first discussing it with your doctor, to ensure it is safe for you to use.

-          Liver Disease: Methionine might make liver disease worse. Although it is intended to help with proper liver functions, if you suffer from liver dysfunction, you should not take Methionine, and you should understand the risks which it poses when you do take this amino acid supplement. If you suffer from liver disease, or if you have ever had problems with the liver flushing out, you should discuss the use of Methionine with your doctor before you do begin a dosage cycle, to ensure it is safe for you to use.

-          MTHFR: Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency (or MTHFR) is also possible in those who are taking Methionine supplements. This is an inherited disorder, which changes the processes of homocysteine in the body. For those who suffer from this condition, using Methionine supplements is not advised. Methionine might cause homocysteine to build up, and too much of it can cause a chance of the developing diseases of the heart or blood vessels. If you suffer from this condition, it is best to avoid use of Methionine supplements.

-          Schizophrenia: When taken in high dosage, Methionine supplements might cause confusion, it can cause delirium or disorientation, agitation, listlessness, and other symptoms which are common by those who suffer from this condition. So, before you do begin a dosage cycle of Methionine supplements, it is important to understand how it can cause these symptoms, and can worsen the condition if you do suffer from this condition, or others which are similar in terms of the symptoms.

Of course, there are many side effects which are not common, and they do not occur in all cases; even in the event of a Methionine supplement overdose. With this in mind, it is important to understand the most severe side effects which are possible, in order to know what to do if they occur, and how to treat them if you do overdose on Methionine supplements.

It if important to discuss the use with your doctor before you start a Methionine cycle. Not only so you know what to expect with use, and what the possible side effects are, but also so you know what precautions to take, especially if you are on other medications, or if you are taking a prescription which might adversely react to the Methionine supplements you do ingest.

The more you understand about how Methionine works, and how it can adversely react with other medications, the easier it is going to be for you to decide if it is safe for use, and if so, how often you are going to consume the Methionine supplements.

Methionine Dosing

Before you begin taking Methionine supplements, make sure you are familiar with dosage levels. It is best to speak to your doctor or a specialist, who can inform you of the best ways to use, and appropriate dosage levels to consume.

Methionine can be greatly beneficial for your general health and well-being. With this being said, there are always complications and risks one should be aware of prior to starting a dosage cycle. These are a few of the many factors you need to consider, if you are considering the use of a Methionine supplement. Not only so you know how to use it and at what frequency (dosage levels) but also to ensure you understand how to avoid overdose and other possible complications when Methionine interacts with other medications or drugs you are taking, which have been prescribed by a doctor or a specialist.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.