According to researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine, a diet low in sulfuric amino acids leads to health and longevity in animals . Further research is needed to observe the same relationship in humans.
Sulfur amino acids
Sulfuric amino acids include methionine(Met) and cysteine (Cys). These amino acids are found in products that are rich sources of protein, so their reduction is not easy. The review indicates, however, that many vegan diets naturally have low methionine and cysteine content. For example, beans and other legumes are a good source of protein with a low sulfur amino acid content .
Researchers were interested in limiting sulfur amino acids in the diet since the 1990s, when research began to show health benefits in animals fed a diet with a reduced content of methionine. In one study involving rats, an 80% reduction in methionine supply increased the average and maximum life span by 42-44%.
In the new research review, limiting the content of sulfur amino acids showed a number of beneficial effects, including the extension of life span – without the need to reduce the energy supply of the diet . The results were published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences .
The research results:
Analysis showed that restriction of methionine in the diet associated with delayed aging, and long life of human cells, yeast and animals, including rodents and fruit flies . In animals fed a diet with a limited sulfur content, also improved health, including reduction of body weight, fat content and oxidative stress. There were also fewer cases of malignant tumors and increased sensitivity of tissues to insulin.
In the case of young organisms, the reduction of sulfur amino acid supply along with food leads to growth inhibition. According to the new analysis, many health benefits were found when the reduction of the content of sulfur amino acids in the diet was introduced in adult fully developed animals. In studies, no other serious negative effects of reducing the amino acid content in the diet were found.
The results of previous studies with human participation suggest that dietary amino acids in the diet are associated with increased body mass, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and cancer, suggesting that preventive reduction of methionine and cysteine supply may protect against these conditions. Further research is needed . According to the research group, this review analyzed a number of studies that provide indications that reducing sulfur amino acids in the diet may bring some of the benefits observed in animal models , including inhibiting the development of tumors and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Source: Zhen Dong, Raghu Sinha, John P. Richie. Disease prevention and delayed aging by dietary sulfur. Amino acid restriction: translational implications. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2018;