What slows down aging

How Eating Less Slows Down Aging

La Jolla - In his speech on Ash Wednesday, Cardinal Schönborn spoke true words: Fasting is "good and healthy". On the other hand, there is no scientifically proven conclusion that it is more important during Lent to go into oneself and to better perceive the presence of God.

It has long been researched that a reduction in calorie intake has positive effects on health. The life-prolonging effects have already been proven in various model organisms - from roundworms to mice. In humans, it is naturally a little more difficult to perform clinical hunger tests.

However, it is not entirely clear how the positive effects of reduced calorie consumption come about at the cellular level. But for the first time there is also concrete evidence for this, as an international team headed by the molecular biologist Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte (Salk Institute in La Jolla, California) reports in the journal "Cell".

30 percent fewer calories

The researchers reduced the diet of 28 rats by 30 percent for nine months, while the control group of 28 rats could continue to eat as before. The test animals were 18 months old at the start of the experiment. Converted to the human lifespan, the experiment took place between the ages of 50 and 70.

During the study period, the researchers isolated and analyzed a total of 168,703 cells that they had taken from the test animals from various body tissues - from the liver to the bones to the brain. The analyzes of the 40 different cell types were carried out using single-cell gene sequence technology, in particular to measure the activity levels of the different genes. However, the overall composition of the cell types within a certain tissue was also examined.

The results were clear: 57 percent of the age-related changes that were found in the rats on a normal diet were not found in the "fasting rats". Their cells remained significantly younger, especially with regard to inflammation, immunity and lipid metabolism.

Finding a drug

In their study, the researchers also looked for approaches for a therapy and found a protein that is related to fasting and has a positive effect on the activity of 23 different cell types. Before it becomes a drug, all those who want to age more slowly now have to extend the fasting period indefinitely. (tasch, February 29, 2020)

Original publication