An article published in The FASEB Journal reports the discovery of Temple University researchers of the benefit of a low methionine diet in slowing or reversing early to moderate stage Alzheimer’s disease in an animal model.*
The researchers divided mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease to receive a high methionine diet or a healthy (control) diet for 5 months, following which the group receiving the methionine-rich diet was subdivided to receive the same regimen or the healthy diet for two months. Mice on the methionine-rich diet had higher homocysteine levels and significant behavioral impairments at 5 months compared to the control group. While those that remained on the high methionine diet continued to show elevations in homocysteine, those that were switched to the healthy diet experienced reductions in homocysteine as well as improvements in fear-conditioning performance and a decrease in brain amyloid levels, which are elevated in Alzheimer’s disease.
Editor’s note: A byproduct of methionine metabolism is homocysteine, which when elevated has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as cardiovascular disease. Adequate B vitamin intake can help reduce homocysteine production. Those who consume red meat often have higher methionine levels.
* FASEB Journal. 2010 Jun 2.