Consider The Evidence: Med/Peds Journal Roundup

April 8, 2006

Starve your way to longevity

Filed under: Uncategorized — medblog @ 11:15 pm

JAMA 4/13 – For several years, the hottest thing in aging research has been calorie restriction. Animal evidence from several species has demonstrated that severely limiting caloric intake leads to dramatically increased life-spans. The million dollar question is – does it work in humans?

Heilbronn et al. present an article in JAMA that lends credence to the possibility. The evidence is far from direct, and the 6-month study period is far from a lifetime. However, the subjects in the study that underwent calorie restriction showed evidence of a reduction in metabolic rate (via decreased temperature and fasting insulin level) which is thought to lead to the anti-aging effect. There was also less evidence of DNA damage in the calorie restriction group. Interestingly, the effects were not seen in the group that changed to a weight-maintenance diet after losing 15% of body weight – only those that had a continued caloric intake below their baseline energy requirements.

Whether the change in biomarkers will correlate to an actual increase in life-span will have to be studied by a much longer term study – if they can find enough people to be hungry for that long….

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