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How Methionine May Serve As A Natural Anti-Depressant

Methionine is one of the 10 essential amino acids that cannot be produced in the body, and therefore must be derived from the diet. Like other amino acids, methionine is essential for the formation of infinite proteins that make up not only the body's dry tissue, but many of its important enzymes. Logically, because it is an essential component of protein, it is a protein food that is the best source of methionine food. Meat, chicken, fish and dairy products are known as first-class proteins because they contain all the essential amino acids. Diets containing a good supply for each of these food groups usually provide sufficient amino acids, including methionine, for most purposes, but vegetarians can also achieve satisfactory intake through careful combination of food.

Particular attention, however, has been focused on methionine as the precursor of s-adenosyl methionine, also known as SAM or SAM-e, a compound that is naturally produced in the body by methionine metabolism. S-adenosyl methionine was isolated in Europe in the 1950s, and was used there as a prescription drug, but has recently been seen as a dietary supplement in the US. Most biochemical reactions are known to require their presence, including the transmission of nerve impulses between cells. Conventional medical opinion argues that healthy people should get all the SAMs they need for this purpose from consuming their diet of methionine, but a variety of clinical or sub-clinical conditions can affect the body's ability to metabolize its SAM in this way.

In particular, the patient's brain from depression has been observed to be deficient in s-adenosyl methionine as well as serotonin, which is known as the "good" hormone. There is some good research evidence from Europe that supplementation with between 800 and 1,600 mg per day of SAM-e increases serotonin levels, significantly improves patients with severe clinical depression, and may help in some cases. This research seems to confirm the long-term training of methionine supplementation by psychiatrists who are interested in possible nutritional therapy.

Therefore, there seems to be good reason to believe that methionine or SAM-e may be a useful alternative to conventional drug therapy in some cases of depression, and may offer similar benefits without any side effects.

But depression is just one of the conditions where s-adenosyl methionine appears to offer therapeutic value. There is also good evidence from European studies that increasing doses similar to those used to treat depression may be helpful in treating problems with liver function, including hepatitis and even cirrhosis. As well as providing the potential for SAM-e to improve emotional and psychological health, some therapists have suggested that it may be useful in alcohol and drug addiction recovery programs.

At least one large-scale study has shown the anti-inflammatory effects of s-adenosyl methionine to provide relief from osteo-arthritis symptoms, and there are several speculative reasons to believe that it can also benefit patients with Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Opinions of orthodox medicine, however, emphasize that more research is needed before the potential value of s-adenosyl methionine for any of the above conditions can be precisely determined. While these concerns may appear to reflect unrealistic expectations, it is certainly true that in any case of methionine supplementation or any other amino acid cannot be taken separately for any length of time due to the risk of imbalance.

And importantly, in the case of s-adenosyl methionine, it should be noted that there is a potential risk of supplementation leading to the formation of homocysteine. This is another naturally occurring amino acid in the body, but excess levels are known to be a factor in increasing the risk of cardiovascular and related diseases. Fortunately, however, this is a risk that can be easily avoided simply by ensuring the intake of vitamin B, folic acid, B6 and B12. And, as is common with complex B, this does not work properly separately, so good food supply from the entire complex is also required.

With these important caveats, and while their potential benefits may have been exaggerated in the media, it seems that supplements with s-adenosyl methionine may be of sufficient value to those with certain conditions highlighted above, whose natural methionine and SAM levels may have been suppressed. both by their own circumstances and by other factors.


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