The impact of dietary protein intake on longevity and metabolic health

EBioMedicine. 2019 May:43:632-640. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.04.005. Epub 2019 Apr 8.


Lifespan and metabolic health are influenced by dietary nutrients. Recent studies show that a reduced protein intake or low-protein/high-carbohydrate diet plays a critical role in longevity/metabolic health. Additionally, specific amino acids (AAs), including methionine or branched-chain AAs (BCAAs), are associated with the regulation of lifespan/ageing and metabolism through multiple mechanisms. Therefore, methionine or BCAAs restriction may lead to the benefits on longevity/metabolic health. Moreover, epidemiological studies show that a high intake of animal protein, particularly red meat, which contains high levels of methionine and BCAAs, may be related to the promotion of age-related diseases. Therefore, a low animal protein diet, particularly a diet low in red meat, may provide health benefits. However, malnutrition, including sarcopenia/frailty due to inadequate protein intake, is harmful to longevity/metabolic health. Therefore, further study is necessary to elucidate the specific restriction levels of individual AAs that are most effective for longevity/metabolic health in humans.

Keywords: Branched-chain amino acids; Longevity; Low protein intake; Low-protein/high-carbohydrate diet; Metabolic health; Methionine; Red meat.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Proteins*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Longevity*
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Signal Transduction


  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1