Scientists from Montana State University (MSU) and Sweden have discovered an antioxidant system that helps sustain the liver when other systems are missing or compromised. Like a generator kicking in when the power fails or an understudy taking the stage when a lead actor is sick, the newly found system steps up during a crisis. It's fueled by methionine, an amino acid that can't be manufactured in the body and people can only obtain by eating protein. "This is an important finding," said Dr. Ed Schmidt, a professor in MSU's Department of Microbiology and Immunology and co-author of a newly published study in Nature Communications. The article is titled “Dietary Methionine Can Sustain Cytosolic Redox Homeostasis in the Mouse Liver.” "It tells us about humans and all living things. It's an alternative way to maintain the balance you need in your cells to be alive." Dr. Schmidt and his collaborators at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm published their findings online on March 20, 2015 in Nature Communications. Some vitamins and supplements act as antioxidants, Dr. Schmidt said. These antioxidants help protect cells from the damage that can lead to aging, cancers, and inflammatory diseases. However, vitamins and supplements cannot replace two known natural systems in liver cells: the thioredoxin and glutathione systems.
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