Everyone wants to live a long a healthy life. Only in this way you get to experience more while you are alive. Age is the dominant risk factor for many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, dementia, heart disease, stroke and so on. Now scientists from the Salk Institute together with partners in China found a way to live longer and reduce the risk of age-related diseases.
Scientists took a group of rats and divided them into two groups. Some of the rats ate their normal diet, while the animals from the other group received 30 % fewer calories from age 18 months through 27 months. In humans this would be equivalent to limiting your caloric intake from age 50 to 70. Before and after the experiment scientists isolated and analyzed a total of 168,703 cells from 40 cell types in the 56 rats. This allowed analysing condition of fat tissues, liver, kidney, aorta, skin, bone marrow, brain and muscle at cellular level.
Age causes changes at the cellular level. Cell division is not as effective, tissues are not as strong, various conditions start developing. Scientists noticed that compared to other rats, rats with calorie restricted diet were significantly healthier. As much as 57 % of the age-related changes in cell composition seen in the tissues of rats on a normal diet were not present in the rats on the calorie restricted diet. Some of these changes were related to immunity, inflammation and lipid metabolism, which are related with the processes of aging and development of diseases. Although more research needs to be done, scientists are happy to say that the increase in the inflammatory response could be repressed by caloric restriction.
Concepcion Rodriguez Esteban, one of the authors of the paper, said: “People say that ‘you are what you eat,’ and we’re finding that to be true in lots of ways. The state of your cells as you age clearly depends on your interactions with your environment, which includes what and how much you eat”.
Scientists homed on some transcription factors, which are active in the processes that determine a longer lifespan through a calorie restrictive diet. This means that in the near future there could be some medicine that would allow achieving these results while eating normal amounts of food. In particular the transcription factor Ybx1 could become a target in the future research.
However, in the meantime it might be a good idea to eat less. Reducing your diet by 30 % in terms of caloric intake is not that difficult. And it is good for you. While age is one of the biggest risk factors for many diseases, another one is obesity and fat. You should maintain a healthy weight, eat healthy food and be more physically active regardless of your age.
Source: Salk Institute