The Longevity Diet

It has been theorised for some time that eating fewer kilojoules can lead to a longer lifespan. One reason for this would be that natural by-products of food metabolism are molecules known as free radicals, which are believed to help drive the ageing process. Now a new study has suggested not only how eating less lengthens life beyond free radical reduction but also when you need to begin your longevity diet.

For this study researchers were looking at a theory called cell senescence which states that a major cause of ageing is when a cell reaches point where it can no longer replicate. For the research adult mice were fed a restricted diet for a short period of time. It was found that the mice had a reduced number of senescent cells in both the liver and the intestines. Both of these are organs that are known to accumulate senescent cells as animals age.

What was additionally interesting about this study was the impact that the restricted diet had on the chromosomes of the mice.

Telomeres are found on the ends of chromosomes and they prevent errors, and therefore disease, occurring as cells multiply. Unfortunately telomeres break down over time and shorter telomeres are associated with ageing. However, mice who had restricted their kilojoule intake had better maintained telomeres than mice who ate more liberally.

So a restricted diet not only slows cell senescence but it also protects telomeres. Presumable this achieved by reducing free radical based tissue damage and associated ageing. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this research is that it was done on adult mice. This means that if kilojoule restriction has the same effect on ageing in humans that it does on animals, then the interventions may yield benefits even if started later in life.

This is just another instance in support of the old adage that, “It is never too late to begin.”

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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