Aging & Longevity

Restricting Methionine from the Diet Increases Lifespan 

According to research, one can extend their lifespan by restricting the amino acid, methionine from the diet. Methionine is an essential amino acid used in the body for growth and metabolism. It also is needed to manufacture homocysteine and some other compounds. 

There has been a great deal of research showing that reducing calories extends life span, but the exact mechanism is not clear. It has been shown in research since the 1990’s that by restricting methionine from the diet it can extend lifespan (Orgeron ML et al, 2014). It is believed to mimic the effects of calorie restriction since it extends life in a similar manner. It has been puzzling since just by reducing methionine, it increases longevity, but also it reduces obesity without restricting calories or by increasing exercise (Orgeron ML et al, 2014). 

Reduced methionine extends life and may reduce obesity 

Animal research revealed that by reducing methionine in the diet it increases longevity, but also over a 2 year period it reduced the accumulation of body weight by 40% (Orentreich N et al, 1993). Surprisingly, the animals ate 90% more than the control group over 3 months and 62% higher over a 2 year period. 

The original animal research was done by the Orentreich group. They removed from the diet, the amino acid cysteine and reduced methionine from 8.6 grams per kg of the diet to the low level of 1.7 grams per kg of the diet. The study showed that this regimen increased longevity by 30–40% (Orentreich N et al, 1993). During this study no food was restricted. The research was performed with different animal varieties and showed that by reducing methionine it reduced mortality from all causes of death (Orentreich N et al, 1993). 

The connection between the restriction of sugar and methionine 

Restricting the simple sugar, glucose has also been studied and has been shown that there is a strong association between it and methionine restriction (Zou K et al, 2020). At the cellular level there is communication between glucose sensing and regulating methionine. Restricting glucose from the diet causes a down regulation of particular methionine enzymes and transporters, which reduces intracellular methionine (Zou K et al, 2020). If methionine is added to the diet it prevents the extension of life span. 

It is believed that there are other benefits to metabolic health by restricting dietary methionine. Newer research implies that restriction of methionine improves insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism (Luo T et al, 2019). 

  • Bottom line, reducing methionine and its uptake into the cells helps to increase longevity (Zou K et al, 2020) and has other health benefits. 

Some foods high in methionine are beef, pork, certain types of fish, turkey, tofu, milk and cheese. 

If individuals have a health condition and/or are on medication they should always check with their health care practitioner prior to making a change in their diet. 

In summary, restriction of methionine, an essential amino acid found in different protein sources has been associated with the extension of lifespan. It has thought to have a similar effect as calorie restriction. It appears to be associated with glucose at the cellular level. If glucose is restricted it inhibits methionine from being taken up by the cells.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is not for advertising purposes. 

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