Animal studies suggest that diets high in methionine, in the presence of B-vitamin deficiencies, may increase the risk for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by increasing blood levels of cholesterol and a compound called homocysteine.10 This idea has not yet been tested in humans. Excessive methionine intake, together with inadequate intake of folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, can increase the conversion of methionine to homocysteine—a substance linked to heart disease and stroke. Even in the absence of a deficiency of folic acid, B6, or B12, megadoses of methionine (7 grams per day) have been found to cause elevations in blood levels of homocysteine.11 Whether such an increase would create a significant hazard for humans taking supplemental methionine has not been established. Supplementation of up to 2 grams of methionine daily for long periods of time has not been reported to cause any serious side effects.12
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.