Calorie Restriction Trial in Humans Suggests Benefits for Age-Related Disease


Source: Cell Press

Summary: A new study explored the effects of calorie restriction on humans showed that cutting caloric intake by 15% for 2 years slowed aging and metabolism and protected against the age-related disease.


Restricting calories can slow your basal metabolism, and if by-products of metabolism accelerate aging processes, calorie restriction sustained over several years may help to decrease risk for chronic disease and prolong life. A new study explored the effects of calorie restriction on humans showed that cutting caloric intake by 15% for 2 years slowed aging and metabolism and protected against the age-related disease. The study found that calorie restriction decreased systemic oxidative stress, which has been tied to age-related neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as cancer, diabetes, and others. CALERIE (Comprehensive Assessment of the Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy) was the first randomized controlled trial to test the metabolic effects of calorie restriction in non-obese humans. The study findings were published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Restriction of Calorie Intake

This graphical abstract depicts the effects of a 2-year calorie restriction (CR) trial in healthy, non-obese humans, which found evidence that prolonged CR enhances resting energy efficiency, resulting in decreased oxidative damage to tissues and organs. Credit: Redman et al./Cell Metabolism

Those in the calorie restriction group lost an average of almost 9 kg, although they did not follow a particular diet and weight loss was not the study’s goal. No adverse effects, such as anemia, excessive bone loss, or menstrual disorders were noted; in fact, both trials led to improvements in mood and health-related quality of life. Many factors, such as antioxidant mechanisms and dietary and biological factors, influence metabolism, but current theories hold that a slower metabolism is most beneficial for healthy aging and that organisms that burn energy most efficiently should experience the greatest longevity. Next steps include establishing robust biomarkers of human aging and examining the effects of calorie restriction in conjunction with antioxidant foods or substances like resveratrol, which mimic calorie restriction.

Assoc. Prof. Leanne M. Redman said, “The CALERIE trial rejuvenates support for two of the longest-standing theories of human aging: the slow metabolism ‘rate of living’ theory and the oxidative damage theory.”


More Information: Redman et al, “Metabolic Slowing and Reduced Oxidative Damage with Sustained Caloric Restriction Support the Rate of Living and Oxidative Damage Theories of Aging”, Cell Metabolism (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.02.019


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