Low Protein Diet Boosts Longevity Through Hormone


It has long been known that reducing the amount you eat improves health and extends lifespan, and there has been increasing interest in the possibility that reducing protein or amino acid intake contributes to this beneficial effect.

Several recent studies suggest that diets that are low in protein, but not so low that may produce malnutrition, can improve health. Conversely, overconsumption of high-protein diets has been linked to increased mortality in certain age groups.


A few years ago, Pennington Biomedical’s Neurosignaling Laboratory discovered that the metabolic hormone FGF21 was a key in linking the body to the brain during protein restriction. Without this signal, young mice failed to change their feeding behavior or metabolism when placed on a low-protein diet.

Our data suggest that FGF21 talks to the brain, and that without this signal the mouse doesn’t ‘know’ that it is eating a low-protein diet. As a result, the mouse fails to adaptively change its metabolism or feeding behavior,” said Christopher Morrison, Ph.D., Professor, and Director of the Neurosignaling Lab.

The group’s newest work demonstrates that low-protein diets produce beneficial metabolic effects in aged mice, improving metabolic health, reducing frailty, and extending lifespan.

Brain Action Is Critical for Health And Lifespan

The previous finding showed that FGF21 acts in the brain to improve metabolic health in young mice fed a low-protein diet. These new data extend this work by demonstrating that FGF21 also improves metabolic health and extends lifespan.

It’s unclear exactly how these observations will translate to aging humans, but the hope is that this work will uncover novel molecular and neural pathways that can be leveraged to improve health in people.

This ground-breaking research has important implications for extending the health and lifespan of people. If scientists can better understand how diets and nutritional hormones like FGF21 act to extend lifespan, these discoveries could offset many of the health issues that occur in middle age and later.

Source: Medindia

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