Towards a Practical, Palatable Low Methionine Diet
Low methionine intake has been shown, in animal studies, to mimic many of the same effects of calorie restriction, which is to say improved health and extended life span. A sizable fraction of the trigger mechanisms that produce improved metabolism as a result of lowered calorie intake appear to depend on methionine levels. Attempting a reduced methionine diet is about the hardest thing that any casual health enthusiast could choose to undertake when it comes to dietary self-experimentation. The sources of data on methionine content are incomplete and contradictory, and just about every common food stable is packed full of methionine. The specially formulated medical diets for people with conditions that require very low methionine intake in order to avoid pathology are expensive and unpleasant to consume in comparison to normal food. But perhaps there is a better way forward, and, given time, we may start to see low methionine options becoming more affordable and palatable.
"We've known for years that restricting the amino acid methionine in the diet produces immediate and lasting improvements in nearly every biomarker of metabolic health. The problem is that methionine-restricted diets have been difficult to implement because they taste so bad." Until now. Restricting methionine normally involves diets formulated with elemental (e.g., individual) amino acids. Individual amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. But diets made from elemental amino acids taste bad, and few are willing to tolerate the regimen.
A palatable solution emerged from the development of methods to selectively delete methionine from casein, the main protein in milk and cheese. Researches conducted proof-of-concept testing to establish that oxidized casein could be used to implement methionine restriction without the objectionable taste of the standard elemental diet. More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or have obesity. More than 40 percent of adults have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. A diet that offsets all the major components of metabolic disease would have an enormous impact.
A palatable, methionine-restricted diet could also ease a major frustration for those struggling to manage their weight. Each year, millions of people improve their metabolism and lose weight by reducing how much they eat. But eventually, most people gain back those pounds.
As I am sure you know, meats, fish, eggs and milk is where most people get the bulk of their methionine. Trading these for beans will make a huge dent in your methionine intake. It does seem to work: If a person were to use the Levine phenotypic age calculator spreadsheet you will likely notice that you get biologically younger as you reduce meat and animal fat. I improved by >5 years, if you trust the calculator.
A downside I have personally noticed is exercise intolerance from the lower BCAA intake that also comes with being more plant-based.
"Foods highest in Protein, and lowest in Methionine"
From my personal experience taking a weird diet is harder than doing (intermittent) fasting. YMMV, though.
Well, I think I a vegan diet is palatable to many people. I also think it could become palatable to many people if they ate it consistently. I think you develop a palate for whatever you consistently eat. As a kid, I used to like and eat tons of junk food. I can't eat it anymore because I am not used to it. The same goes for fast food. I crave healthier food because that's what I am used to
I am vegetarian, but not necessarily low in methionine. I eat two -three brazil nuts day for the selenium content, I eat an ounce of blue cheese for spermidine and it's reported anti-inflammatory benefits, I eat pumpkin seeds and quinoa. All of which are medium to high in methionine. I like the taste these foods and they are reputed to be healthy, so I don't really worry so much about the methionine content.
I am guessing that too low of a diet in methionine will have its own health drawbacks, though I don't know what those might be.
I don't think reduced methionine in milk, cheese, will necessarily cause a great reduction in methionine. All of the foods that I mention above except one are not milk or cheese based.
I take TMG which converts homocysteine into methionine. Query whether the increased methionine in the body from TMG is worse than the higher homocysteine that TMG is reducing.
Reason wrote "The sources of data on methionine content are incomplete and contradictory, and just about every common food stable (staple) is packed full of methionine. " After seeing the article a couple weeks ago here that stated how low methionine could mimic caloric restriction without the pain I started looking into what foods to reduce. If this chart is correct then this is quite simple and not difficult to consume way less.. But is this correct?: (SOURCE: USDA Nutrient Database Release 28) Why not?
Apple 2 Grapes (1 cup) 19 Refried beans 100
Berries 2-10 Broccoli 34 Cashews 105
Cucumber 3 Sweet potato 42 Black beans 110
Lettuce 3 Almonds 45 Soybeans (edamame) 110
Pear 4 Corn 50 Tofu 135
Watermelon 4 Peas 60 Sunflower seeds (2 TB) 140
Tomato 5 Potato 60 Surimi (imitation crab) 150
Banana 9 Baked beans 60 Cheese, cheddar (1oz) 155
Macadamia nuts 10 Soymilk (1 c.) 65 Cheese, mozzarella stick 195
Kale, cooked 11 Walnuts 70 Vegetarian burger 200
Carrots 13 Oatmeal (1 pk) 71 Milk, 1% (1 c.) 215
Green beans 15 Lentils 75 Yogurt, low fat, fruit (6oz) 245
Mushrooms 17 Peanut butter (2 TB) 85 Shrimp (8 large) 295
High Methionine >300mg
Brazil nuts 315 Beef, lean, ground patty 475
Canadian bacon (2 slices) 316 Chicken breast 490
Fish, salmon 335 Lobster, tail 530
Eggs (2) 390 Crab, cooked 730
Fish, canned tuna 445 Pork chop (1 chop) 1500
Turkey, roasted 450 Pork, cured ham, 1 slice 2230
Amounts listed above are estimates of methionine content. Unless otherwise stated, foods are listed in standardized portion sizes: ½ cup serving or
medium size whole fruit or vegetable,1 oz nuts, 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 2 oz meat, ½ cup beans.
I won't be eating much pork from now on!
Good and Bad? There are also plenty of studies stating the need for methionine. Methionine does crucial things like helping our bodies produce hormones and protectis our livers.
A deficiency of methionine can lead to inflammation of the liver (steatohepatitis), anemia, and grey hair. Methionine and its metabolites are critical for cell growth, Could the lifespan benefits from restricting it come primarily from reduced incidences of cancer and overall reduction in cancer mortality? When MRestriction is combined with chemotherapy or radiation, tumors become more sensitive towards the treatment [5,95] (Hoffman 2019, Gao 2019)
Methionine helps us detoxify heavy metals and helps to prevent kidney stones.
So it becomes even more difficult trying to figure out how to balance it..
But yes…. too much methionine is toxic.
A study this year found that a simple compound might almost eliminate methionine if that's what you want to do:
But, there is also a natural remedy worth looking into. Glycine can probably counteract the effects of methionine. Meaning that if you consume enough glycine, it protects you from the negative effects of methionine. Popping glycine supplements or drinking lots of bone broth sounds much easier than a MR diet!
Interesting take on glycine: