ST. LOUIS Want to slow the signs of aging and live longer? New Saint Louis University research suggests cutting back on calories could be a promising strategy.
Calorie restriction has long been shown to slow the aging process in rats and mice. While scientists do not know how calorie restriction affects the aging process in rodents, one popular hypothesis is that it slows aging by decreasing a thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine (T3), which then slows metabolism and tissue aging.
A new study in the June 2008 issue of Rejuvenation Research, found that calorie restriction cutting approximately 300 to 500 calories per day had a similar biological effect in humans and, therefore, may slow the aging process.
"Over recent years, there has been a huge amount of debate about whether calorie restriction slows the aging process in humans," said Edward Weiss, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University's Doisy College of Health Sciences and lead author of the study.
"Our research provides evidence that calorie restriction does work in humans like it has been shown to work in animals. The next step is to determine if this in fact slows age-related tissue deterioration. The only way to be certain, though, is to do a long-term study."
In the current study, Weiss wanted to know if calorie reduction would lower T3 levels in humans. To determine if the lowered levels of T3 were a result of calorie restriction and not decreases in fat mass in general, Weiss also recruited volunteers to lose weight through exercise.
Study volunteers included sedentary, non-smoking, 50- to 60- year-old men and post-menopausal women with average or slightly above average body man index values. They were in otherwise good health and did not have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, lung disease, uncontrolled hypertension and evidence of malignancy.
Volunteers were randomly assigned to one o
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Saint Louis University