The Amino Acid-Sulfur Deficiency Pattern Has Been Found in Human Chronic Liver Disease.

A study about advanced liver disease (chronic liver disease) demonstrates that the metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids—like methionine and cysteine (but no difference in taurine)—is impaired.  A study by P Almasio, G Bianchi, et al., was done at the Clinica Medica R, Università di Palermo, in Italy. Their findings in 60 people with chronic liver disease from a clinical trial were fascinating.

Cysteine and Methionine Benefits Those Suffering from Chronic Liver Disease

In the study, 10 of the subjects were healthy (used as a control), whereas the other 50 patients had these chronic liver diseases (proven with biopsy):

30 cases of chronic hepatitis
10 cases of compensated cirrhosis
10 cases of decompensated cirrhosis
(hypermethioninemia—an extreme amount of methionine—was present in only these latter cases)

The results of this human clinical trial showed that cysteine, which is a metabolite of methionine metabolism, was “markedly reduced in patients with compensated chronic liver disease, while in advanced cirrhosis its concentration was within the normal range.”

Methionine is an essential amino acid (meaning it must be gotten through dietary proteins like beef, chicken, fish, or eggs since these proteins provide all 22 amino acids). Cysteine is a non-essential amino acid (meaning your body can produce it on its own rather than needing dietary supplementation). The amino acid taurine (in plasma levels), however, were observed between the different groups yet no differences were observed.

What was discovered was the derangement in sulfur-containing amino acid metabolism “possibly located at various steps along the trans-sulphuration pathway, is also present in mild forms of chronic liver disease.”

Methionine Benefits

The bottom line is that chronic liver disease proves out a marked deficiency of sulfur-containing amino acids in the people suffering from it for cirrhosis (except in decompensated cirrhosis), or even hepatitis. This study did not provide information on whether supplementation of methionine or cysteine would positively affect these patients with chronic liver disease; however, that these amino acids are associated with healthy livers, and abnormal in diseased livers, is certainly telling.

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