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Michael Lam, MD, MPH
Methionine is one of
the essential amino acids needed for good health but cannot be produced
in the body, and so must be provided through our diet.
One of the important functions
of methionine is its ability to be a supplier of sulfur and other compounds
required by the body for normal metabolism and growth. Sulfur is a key element
and vital to our life. Without an adequate intake of sulfur, our body will
not be able to make and utilize a number of antioxidant nutrients. Methionine
is also a methyl donor, capable of giving off a molecule with a single carbon
atom with 3 tightly connected hydrogen atoms, called a methyl group which
we need for a wide variety of chemical and metabolic reactions inside our
fish, and dairy products are all excellent sources of methionine. Vegetarians
can obtain methionine from whole grains, but beans are a relatively poor
source of this amino acid.
Together with choline, and inositol,
methionine belongs to a group of compounds called lipotropics which help
the liver to process fat in the body. Once in the liver, methionine is converted
into SAM(s-adenosyl methionine) and SAM is therefore the metabolite of the
amino acid methionine. As much as 8 grams of SAM is produced in the liver
each day when conditions are ideal. However, the amount of SAM produced
in the body can be reduced significantly when the liver function is compromised.
Methionine is a valuable
nutritional compound that is of multiple benefits for the body. In Europe,
doctors have been using it with excellent results to treat depression, inflammation,
liver diseases, and certain muscle pains. Methionine is an especially important
nutrient beneficial for those suffering from estrogen dominance, where the
amount of estrogen in the body is excessively high when compared to its
opposing hormone called progesterone. Similarly, those who are on oral contraceptives
or estrogen replacement therapy will find methionine to be helpful. Since
estrogen is cleared through the liver, an enhanced liver function will reduce
the body’s estrogen load. Specifically, methionine converts the stronger
and carcinogenic estradiol (E2) into estriol (E3) which is the “good”
estrogen as compared to estradiol.
SAM, the metabolite
of methionine, has many good attributes. A daily dose of up to 1600mg of
SAM has been used to fight hepatitis and cirrhosis. Another major application
of SAM also involves the alleviation of depression. A dose of 800-1600mg
a day helps to elevate mood and provide relief to those who are clinically
depressed. Both methionine and SAM have anti-inflammatory effects and are
therefore used often in combination to treat osteoarthritis. A daily dose
of 5g of methionine has been linked to reduced lymph rigidity and Parkinson’s
disease. However, the use of SAM has not been able to reproduce similar
effects. SAM however, has been of help to those who have multiple sclerosis.
SAM’s anti-inflammatory properties have also proven helpful with fibromyalgia
when taken at 1gram a day. In Britain, methionine as well as SAM are quite
frequently used in the treatment of chronic fatigue.
Because methionine is
a essential amino acid and our body is not able to produce it, we must get
it from our diet. Most of us do not need to have methionine supplementation
if we are in good health. However, strict vegetarians and anybody who follows
a low protein diet should consider methionine supplementation. Those whose
a diet high in soy should also consider methionine supplementation as soy
is low in amino acids. During methionine supplementation, intake of taurine,
cysteine, and other sulfur containing amino acids, as well as B6 and folic
acid should also be included. Recommended dosage ranges from 500 mg to 4,000
mg in divided dosages throughout the day.
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About The Author
Michael Lam, M.D., M.P.H., A.B.A.A.M., is a western trained physician specializing in nutritional and anti-aging medicine. Dr. Lam received his Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health. He is board certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine where he has also served as a board examiner. Dr. Lam is a pioneer in using nontoxic, natural compounds to promote the healing of many age-related degenerative conditions. He utilizes optimum blends of nutritional supplementation that manipulate food, vitamins, natural hormones, herbs, enzymes, and minerals into specific protocols to rejuvenate cellular function.
Dr. Lam was first to coin the term, ovarian-adrenal-thyroid (OAT) hormone axis, and to describe its imbalances. He was first to scientifically tie in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) as part of the overall neuroendocrine stress response continuum of the body. He systematized the clinical significance and coined the various phases of Adrenal Exhaustion. He has written five books: Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome - Reclaim Your Energy and Vitality with Clinically Proven Natural Programs, The Five Proven Secrets to Longevity, Beating Cancer with Natural Medicine (Free PDF version), How to Stay Young and Live Longer, and Estrogen Dominance. In 2001, Dr. Lam established www.DrLam.com as a free, educational website on evidence-based alternative medicine for the public and for health professionals. It featured the world’s most comprehensive library on AFS. Provided free as a public service, he has answered countless questions through the website on alternative health and AFS. His personal, telephone-based nutritional coaching services have enabled many around the world to regain control of their health using natural therapies.
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