Our work at the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science has proven that methionine restriction (MR) extends lifespan and has many beneficial effects on various systems in animal models. Rodent MR models have shown improved cardiovascular function, bone development, insulin sensitivity, stress tolerance, and glucose metabolism, as well as a reduction in body mass and cancer development. Some of these effects have also been documented in invertebrate organisms, such as yeast, nematodes, and fruit flies.
In order for these effects to translate to humans, it is crucial to have access to the appropriate food sources. Building on their previous research, Associate Science Director Gene Ables and Senior Scientist Jay Johnson utilized information from the US National Nutrient Database to compile a list of various food sources that contain methionine content in order to give individuals an idea of what foods are best for a low-methionine diet. It was revealed that food sources for beef contained the highest content of methionine, followed by other animal-based sources such as poultry, fish, and dairy, whereas food like nuts, vegetables, cereals, and fruit contained less methionine. According to the data found, in order to achieve MR, a person has to eat more plant-based food and less animal-based food. This supports the idea that a vegan diet, which is naturally low in methionine, could be beneficial to healthspan.
Several interventions have been identified that significantly extend healthy lifespan in mammals. Caloric restriction, for example, has been shown to improve healthspan in a variety of organisms, including rodents. Conversely, animals fed a diet with a normal caloric content, but with limiting amounts of the essential amino acid methionine, are up to 45% longer-lived than control animals. These and many other studies collectively demonstrate that alterations in nutrition and metabolism can have profound effects on healthy aging.
While studies are ongoing using conventional and established approaches to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying healthspan-extending interventions, many powerful new techniques are also being developed (e.g., genome engineering, high-throughput sequencing, DNA methylomics) that can be used to great effect for studies of healthy aging.
To explore the interplay between aging, nutrition, and metabolism, as well as the important role that novel technologies will play in current and future studies, Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science and The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at The New York Academy of Sciences are bringing together several preeminent researchers in these fields. The event will take place Friday, December 2, 2016 from 12:30 PM – 6:30 PM at The New York Academy of Sciences (7 World Trade Center, 40th Floor, New York, NY, USA).
Attendance for this event is limited in order to facilitate high level discussions and interactions. For additional information on the symposium, speakers, and registration, visit the NYAS website.