The newly found system, reported in the journal Nature Communications, is fuelled by methionine, an amino acid that cannot be manufactured in the body and does not come from herbal teas or supplements,
People get it only by eating protein. Methionine is found in high levels in eggs, meat, fish, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds and cereal grains.
“This is an important finding,” said Ed Schmidt, professor at the Montana State University.
“It tells us about humans and all living things. It is an alternative way to maintain the balance you need in your cells to be alive,” Schmidt added.
Some vitamins and supplements act as antioxidants, Schmidt said. They help protect cells from the damage that can lead to ageing, cancers and inflammatory diseases.
To investigate further, Schmidt’s lab generated mice whose livers lacked key components of two known natural systems in liver cells: the thioredoxin and glutathione systems.
The mice were not robust. They were on the brink of failure, Schmidt said. And yet they survived.
Pursuing the mystery, the researchers found the third antioxidant system and said it has broad implications for health issues in humans.
“Methionine, a sulphur-containing amino acid that is required in our diet so our cells can make proteins, is also a potent, but previously unrecognised antioxidant that, unlike any other antioxidant tested to date, can sustain the liver when the two other systems are absent or compromised,” Schmidt added.
Should Cancer Patients take supplements?
There continues to be controversy among mainstream medicine as to whether cancer patients should take vitamin and mineral supplements. Some in mainstream medicine have attached the use of vitamin supplements as being potentially harmful, despite scientific evidence indication that cancer patients who supplement, benefit. The criticism about cancer patients taking supplements is not limited to conventional oncologists. There have also been debates among scientific advisors as to what supplements are best for cancer patients to take. Here is the link to several studies: