Washington: The researchers have recently revealed the key molecular mechanism, which identifies that dietary restrictions or reduced food intake without malnutrition are beneficial for health.
The findings here show that restricting two amino acids, methionine and cysteine, results in increased hydrogen sulfide (H2S) production and protection against ischemia reperfusion injury, damage to tissue that occurs following the interruption of blood flow as during organ transplantation and stroke.
Increased H2S production upon dietary restriction was also associated with lifespan extension in worms, flies, and yeast.
Although H2S gas was extremely toxic in high amounts, low levels present in naturally occurring sulfur springs have long been associated with health benefits. Mammalian cells also produce low levels of H2S, but this was the first time that this molecule has been linked directly to the health benefits of dietary restriction.
Dietary restriction was a type of intervention that can include reduced overall food intake, decreased consumption of particular macronutrients such as protein, or intermittent bouts of fasting. It was known to have beneficial health effects, including protection from tissue injury and improved metabolism.
It has also been shown to extend the lifespan of multiple model organisms, ranging from yeast to primates. The molecular explanations for these effects are not completely understood, but were thought to require protective antioxidant responses activated by the mild oxidative stress caused by dietary restriction itself.
The study is published in Cell.