DL-Methionine. What is it? And why is it in my pet’s food?
Dr. Greg Aldrich, pet food industry advisor, writes “Methionine is one of the 10-plus essential amino acids that are required by both the cat and dog.” The methionine supplement is called DL-Methionine.
Methionine can be found naturally in meat and fish pet food ingredients. Dr. Aldrich states “At the whole-animal level, methionine is part of body proteins and is important for skin and coat condition, eye health, heart health and more. It serves as a precursor to other amino acids like cysteine which can then be converted into taurine. Methionine can also be converted into glutathione, an important physiological antioxidant, and into the cat pheromone felinine. It is an amino acid that is vitally important to the long-term health of the dog and cat.”
So if methionine is found in meat and fish pet food ingredients, why would the supplement DL-Methionine be added to pet foods? “For diets that contain minimal amounts of meat proteins, are heavily weighted to vegetable proteins like soy or are low calorie foods diluted with inert ingredients such as cereals and cellulose, there may be a need for supplemental methionine.”
Dr. Aldrich also states some pet foods add DL-Methionine “to help promote the palatability of the diet, as cats have been reported to have an “appetite” for methionine.” (or could it be that cats have an ‘appetite’ for meat?)
How is the supplement DL-methionine made? More from Dr. Aldrich…“There are numerous companies and locations around the world that produce DL-methionine commercially; and there are hundreds of patents that describe the subtle nuances regarding DL-methionine synthesis and purification. The starting materials for production of DL-methionine are acrolein (a 3-carbon aldehyde) derived from propylene (a petroleum derivative), methyl mercaptan derived from methanol and various sulfur sources and hydrocyanic acid (HCN). Acrolein and methyl mercaptan are reacted to form a relatively stable intermediate, 3-methylmercaptopropionaldehyde, known as MMP. The MMP is then reacted with HCN to form a rudimentary mix of DL-methionine and contaminants which is further refined through clean-up steps.”
Is this supplement needed? Well, since methionine (the natural amino acid not the supplement) is found in meats and fish, you’ll have to decide if a supplement in your pet’s food is better than meat and/or fish.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
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