Eating Little Extends Life There is increasing evidence to support the benefits associated with caloric restriction. Issues such as intermittent fasting, hypocaloric diets and other methods of reducing intake are very promising.
Especially now that we have, for the first time, with the first cellular map of aging, an incredibly detailed “atlas” that shows how caloric restriction affects many cell lines molecularly. What have we learned? Recent research published in the prestigious CELL has given the most detailed description to date on the benefits of caloric restriction to curb aging. This shows, basically, a kind of molecular map of what happens to the cells according to the amount of calories we eat.
Specifically, the study shows that with a caloric restriction of at least 30% daily, some important cellular changes begin to be shown. Molecular markers and cell profiles eloquently change reducing the chances of suffering various types of metabolic diseases. But the results are not only indirect. Reducing the amount of daily food lengthens the life time, literally, in rats, laboratory mice and even macaques.
It is evidence that we already knew, although now we can begin to explain why. And also happens in humans? This is more difficult to confirm because it is not easy to track people: it is not ethical, comfortable, logistically viable or cheap. However, we do know that eating less is a substantial improvement in some human cell markers.
This implies an improvement in said health markers and a reduction in the incidence and severity of certain diseases associated with metabolism. To make matters worse, many of the molecules that vary according to the restriction in mice are also found in humans. That is, there are many indications that caloric restriction also affects human beings in a very positive way.
This study represents the best detailed cellular atlas to date in mammals. With it you can determine an incredible multitude of molecular and cellular relationships. This catalog also includes how the interactions between cells change and their communication with age.
The amount of information is impressive, and it gives us a tool of incomparable value when it comes to analyzing the way you have to change your metabolism. In this way, in addition to checking that restricting the amount of calories is good for your health, we can also find useful information on how you do it, which gives us access to new treatments, better diagnoses and other issues.
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One of the most interesting contributions is that the rats whose feeding had been restricted showed a very significant change in all their markers of aging and, with them, the health of the animals. This also highlights one issue: it is never late and aging is “reversible.”
The researchers conducted the study with rats, as we said. Having done so allows cell interactions equivalent to people between 50 and 70 years to be determined. This is of vital importance because studies in primates (such as humans) show that the benefits of the restriction are only adult patents, and not so much in young people.
To understand it, what better than an example. During aging there is a deregulation of the immune system that results in a state of chronic systemic inflammation. This is associated with the onset of age diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. With caloric restriction, however, markers related to inflammation disappear. Moreover, these disappear even having been present for some time.
That is, the markers of aging are, in other words, reversible. Another of the molecular changes that the study has revealed is found in Ybx1, a protein that is also present in humans. Its production is different in up to 23 different cell types when food is restricted. It goes without saying that this protein is involved in various levels of tissues and with aging. This could be a new target to develop a drug against the harmful effects of age.
In short, this study has given a huge amount of information related to aging, something that will help confirm, also, other benefits applied such as intermittent fasting, so fashionable right now, or that of some restrictive nutritional patterns. These will undoubtedly be related to the study findings. How will we use it for our benefit? Time will tell.