Researchers at Duke University have confirmed the theory that a reduced calorie diet can slow the aging process. Previously shown to effectively slow the natural aging of mice, worms and flies, lead researcher Daniel Belsky and colleagues at the Duke University School of Medicine have now observed those results in humans.
The purpose of the study was to see if an established geroprotector like restricting calories would affect biological aging in humans. Biological aging is the slow but steady deterioration of the human body’s systems over time. It’s thought that if this rate can be slowed it might lead to the delay or prevention of age-related disabilities or diseases that might normally occur.
A total of 220 non-obese study participants were divided into a group of 145 in a restricted calorie group and 75 in a control group. At the outset, both groups had an average biological age of 37 and an average chronological age of 38.
A modest reduction of 12 percent in calorie intake showed a statistically significant slowing in the rate of biological aging in study participants compared to those who maintained their normal calorie intake. After one year the restricted calorie group had an average increase in biological age of 0.11 years, while the control group had an increase of 0.71 years.
Another measure of aging used in the study was the level of deviation from an established benchmark defined by young and healthy individuals. At first, both groups differed at the same level but as the study went on the control group followed the same deviation but the restricted calorie group got closer to the established young and healthy reference point.
According to researchers, weight loss did not account for the observed effects. The report that was published online in the Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.
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