Low Sulfur Diet For Longer Life: Does It Work?

Many people try different eating plans mainly to lose weight. But some just aim to eat healthy to stay away from diseases and increase their chances for a longer life. 

A recent study, published in the journal Lancet EClinical Medicine, found a new way to extend your life. Researchers said it will only require eating less foods with high levels of sulfur amino acids.

Such foods are part of widely consumed meals, such as meats, dairy, nuts and soy. The study backs previous research that explored the effects of sulfur-rich amino acids called methionine and cysteine, CNN reported Monday.

“For decades it has been understood that diets restricting sulfur amino acids were beneficial for longevity in animals,” John Richie, a professor of public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, said in a statement. “This study provides the first epidemiologic evidence that excessive dietary intake of sulfur amino acids may be related to chronic disease outcomes in humans.”

In earlier studies with animals, reducing the consumption of foods that give dietary sulfur amino acids appeared effective in slowing down the effects of aging and increasing lifespans. One experiment in mice showed that cutting methionine by 80 percent could extend life by up to 43 percent. 

However, some rats had problems with their development since sulfur amino acids play key roles in growth. But in their first study in 2018, Richie and his colleagues found that giving a low sulfur diet to fully-grown animals still extended the animals’ lifespan but without any negative effect on their growth.

To see if a low sulfur diet will deliver the same benefits to humans, the researchers analyzed blood samples from more than 11,000 people in the U.S. The team said many Americans eat 2.5 times the amount of sulfur amino acid than the estimated nutritional requirement.

“Many people in the United States consume a diet rich in meat and dairy products,” Xiang Gao, study co-author and director of the nutritional epidemiology lab at Penn State University, said. “Therefore, it is not surprising that many are surpassing the average requirement when considering these foods contain higher amounts of sulfur amino acids.”

The people who regularly consumed foods high in sulfur amino acid also had a higher risk of having cardiovascular disease. Researchers said heart problems are more likely to occur in people who eat more fatty foods, such as red meat, dairy and other fats. 

However, the study also has limitations. The researchers took data from self-reported eating habits and did not analyze weight.

But many people have already been following low sulfur diets. Those are on plant-based eating plans who consume only fruits and vegetables, according to Zhen Dong, lead study author and a graduate of Penn State College of Medicine.

Low Sulfur Diet Low sulfur diet requires eating less foods that contain high levels of sulfur amino acids, such as meats, dairy, nuts and soy, and promises to help extend lifespan and reduce the risk of having cardiovascular disease. Pixabay