Is That Your Stomach Rumbling as You Drink From the Fountain of Youth?

The irony is quite delicious:  Scientists believe they have indeed found the Fountain of Youth and it is found right at the entry of our mouths- as long as we seriously restrict our calorie intake while maintaining all essential nutrients?

For the first time, researchers have shown that restricting calories in primates maintains their youth and prevents age-related disease.

According to a  long-running study by  Richard Weindruch, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin Madison, and colleagues running study of rhesus macaques, suggest that a similar effect might occur in humans and open the door to drugs that would mimic so-called caloric restriction, “We now have proof of efficacy of caloric restriction in primates,” Dr. Weindruch said, and  once the mechanisms are understood, it may be possible to develop “mimetics”– drugs that would have the same effect, but without the need for altering human diets.

Our diet controlled monkeys did extraordinarily well on calorie-restricted diets:

None of the animals on caloric restriction — even those with compromised metabolic function at baseline — had impaired glucose homeostasis.

The incidence of neoplasia was reduced by 50% in the animals on caloric restriction, compared with controls.

The incidence of cardiovascular disease was reduced by half in the diet-controlled monkeys, compared with controls.

They had  significantly slower rates of age-associated brain atrophy in some regions than controls.

The researchers also monitored when age-associated diseases appeared and found that caloric restriction reduced disease onset significantly.

Monkeys on the restricted diet appeared and acted biologically younger than their counterparts in the control arm and physically looked considerably better.

“Not only do the animals stay biologically younger longer, they look younger longer,” Dr. Weindruch said.

Dr. Sierra’s institute is sponsoring a study on calorie restriction in humans — the so-called CALORIE study — but he noted that “you have to be a special type of person to subject yourself to this . . . it’s a self-selected group.” Conducting a calorie restriction study in people in general “would be difficult, let’s put it that way,” he said.

You think?

15. July 2009 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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