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article imageCan calorie restriction prevent the negative effects of aging?

By Tim Sandle     Mar 6, 2020 in Science
New research has explored the impact of calorie restriction on the rate of aging and in relation to the 'negative' effects of getting older. The data to date relates to an animal model, paving the way for further studies.
The new research comes from the Salk Institute and it looks at the cellular effects of a calorie-restricted diet using rodents. The data suggests that calorie restriction can help to protect an animal from the consequences of aging in cellular pathways.
The basis of the study was to examine rats who consumed 30 percent fewer calories compared with rats fed normal diets. The diets of the two groups were controlled from age 18 months through 27 months. This period of time was selected because in humans, the time period would be approximately equivalent to a person following a calorie-restricted diet beginning at the age of 50 through 70 years.
Across the course of the study, the researchers examined 168,703 cells relating to 40 different cell types, focusing on the genes using single-cell genetic-sequencing technology. This in-depth analysis revealed that 57 percent of the age-related changes occurring in cells from rats fed a normal diet were not detected in the rats who underwent the calorie restricted diet. The age-related changes included the effects of immunity, inflammation and lipid metabolism.
If the effects are the same for humans, then the indications are that if you eat less, you may live longer. This is in relation to lowering levels of inflammation throughout your body, and to delay the onset of age-related diseases.
READ MORE: Biological pathways which boost lifespan identified
According to lead researcher Dr. Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte: "We already knew that calorie restriction increases life span, but now we've shown all the changes that occur at a single-cell level to cause that."
The focus on a cellular target also means that it may be possible to develop a drug that works on a specific molecular pathway and which could deliver the same effects as calorie restriction.
Further information about the research can be found in the following video:
ALSO READ: The secret to longer life is cellular recycling
The research has been published in the journal Cell. The research paper is titled "Caloric Restriction Reprograms the Single-Cell Transcriptional Landscape of Rattus Norvegicus Aging."
More about Diet, Aging, Ageing, Calories
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