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The link between the diet and the production of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) in the body is now being explored by scientists, a smelly and toxic gas produced by the body in small amounts, but it is proving important for healthy aging and longevity.

There is now much scientific evidence to suggest that limiting some of the proteins we consume – especially those of meat – can be very important for healthy aging.

And the reason this happens is impressive: reducing meat tissues are pressured to produce hydrogen sulphide (H2S) [1], a gas, toxic when inhaled, that smells like a rotten egg, but promotes health inside the body!

Dietary restrictions that increase longevity

In laboratory experiments (with fungi, fruit flies, worms, and monkeys) when scientists put organisms on balanced but hypocaloric diets, organisms increase their life expectancy [2]. In mice, respectively, such diets reduce the risk of cancer, strengthen the immune system and improve cognitive function [3].

But because aging and longevity are complex processes, it is difficult for researchers to pinpoint their operating mechanisms. Recent studies have shed light on this field, indicating that H2S plays a critical role.

Studies since the 1990s have shown that reducing the intake of certain sulphuric amino acids, building blocks of proteins, can increase longevity in mice by about 30% [4]. More recently, a collaboration of scientists led by Harvard University conducted a series of animal studies that limited the intake of two sulphine amino acids – cysteine and methionine – to study the consequential effect.

Related: 10 Best Longevity Supplements According to Science

As a result, H2S production increased in animal tissues, which triggered a number of beneficial effects, such as increased production of new blood vessels – a phenomenon that enhances cardiovascular health – and better resistance to oxidative stress in the liver associated with liver diseases [5].

The question, then, was whether similar effects could be recorded in humans. Not long ago, a study that used data from 11,576 adults from America’s National Nutrition Survey provided data showing that this is possible [6]. In particular, it was found that reduced dietary intake of these sulphuric amino acids is associated with fewer cardiometabolic risk factors, including lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.

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Less meat, longer life

The conclusion drawn from this research is that limiting the intake of foods containing high levels of sulphuric amino acids can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease and promote healthy aging.

Read Also: 40 Foods To Eat To Live Longer, Happier and Healthier

In the countries of the Western world, the average daily consumption of sulphuric amino acids can exceed by up to 2.5 times the daily needs of the body, since these amino acids are found in foods such as meat, dairy, and eggs, which are prominent in the modern diet.

Red meat, in particular, is rich in sulphur amino acids, but fish and poultry are quite high in content as well, so switching to plant proteins can help limit intake. Beans, lentils, and legumes are good sources of protein and have a low sulphur content of amino acids.

Other Roles of H2S

In addition, hydrogen sulphide has been shown to help reduce inflammation by opening a door for possible new treatments for arthritis or for its possible use as a painkiller.

The important thing is to administer it where necessary and safely. Many pharmaceutical companies work on compounds that bind it while passing through the body and release it in small doses into the tissues. When necessary, this could serve as a preventive measure to support healthy aging.


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