|A labeled Tamil vegetarian meal.|
Source: KARTY JazZ (CC: 4.0)
But is a vegetarian diet beneficial for everyone all the time, especially in the case of antiaging and longevity? There is conflicting evidence. Research does show that being vegetarian does significantly reduce heart attack risk in under-65s by 45%, but this drops to only an 8% reduction after 80. Some studies do not show that vegetarians live longer than meat eaters, but two studies on people who rarely eat meat found an average life extension of 3.6 years. Another on Seventh-Day Adventists found a lifespan increase of about 7 years in men and 4 years in women. However, other research has found that vegetarians are very low in a nutrient called carnosine. Carnosine plays a key role in reducing the harmful glycation reactions which are known to be responsible for so much of aging. But how to the animals that give us carnosine through food obtain it themselves? Carnosine is made of the amino acids beta-alanine and L-histidine, and research on older adults (55-92) does show that beta-alanine supplementation improves physical working capacity. Additionally, sprint training increases the level of carnosine in muscle, because just like herbivorous animals, we make carnosine ourselves. In conclusion, yes, vegetarian diets are best for at least some people, and there are ways to make up for what you miss out on with a meat-free diet.