Since the mid-1930s, scientists have theorized that lowering caloric intake may lower the risk of many potentially deadly diseases such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, and cancer. Studies performed on virtually every animal and mammal species have demonstrated that dietary restriction extends lifespan by 20 to 50 percent while dramatically lowering the risk for developing most illnesses associated with aging. Over the past decade, researchers have begun to test calorie restriction principles on one of the longest living mammalian species, human beings.
Scientists from the Gladstone Institutes in California have identified a novel mechanism by which a type of low-carb, low-calorie diet, commonly referred to as a “ketogenic diet,” could delay the effects of aging. Publishing in the journal, Science, researchers reveal how such a diet could slow the aging process and may one day allow practitioners to better treat or prevent age-related diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and many forms of cancer.
As the baby boomer set continues to age, suddenly one in six Americans are over the age of 65 and many are at significant risk for chronic disease and early mortality. This has prompted researchers to advance their work to determine how calorie restriction works at the cellular level and if it may help prevent unnecessary illness and extend lifespan in this rapidly expanding age group. To this end, scientists have identified the role that a chemical compound in the human body plays in the aging process, and which may provide the key to new therapies for treating or preventing a variety of age-related diseases.
Dropping caloric intake by 20 percent ignites a health preserving metabolic pathway to health
Researchers identified the compound Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BOHB), a so-called “ketone body” that is produced during a prolonged low-calorie or ketogenic diet. Although ketones are considered toxic in high concentrations in people with diabetes, lower concentrations help protect cells from “oxidative stress” that is known to occur as certain molecules build to toxic levels in the body and contribute to the aging process.
The lead study author, Dr. Eric Verdin commented “Here, we find that BOHB — the body’s major source of energy during exercise or fasting — blocks a class of enzymes that would otherwise promote oxidative stress, thus protecting cells from aging.” A growing number of people now follow a diet known as ‘calorie restriction with optimal nutrition’ (CRON), where calories are cut by 20 to 30 percent in an attempt to minimize energy intake and ensure all nutritional needs are met.
Although it will be years before CRON can be scientifically validated to extend human lifespan, individuals following a ketogenic diet experience significantly lower blood pressure, heart rate and glucose levels and likely will be among the first to live beyond the current milestone of 120 years. Dr. Verdin concluded “Identifying sOHB as a link between caloric restriction and protection from oxidative stress opens up a variety of new avenues to researchers for combating disease.” Try slowly eliminating 10 to 20 percent of your daily calorie intake to take advantage of this newly identified metabolic pathway to dramatically lower chronic disease risk.
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About the author:
John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of ‘Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan‘, a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resourceto continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your Free 48 page copy of ‘Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan’.