calorie restriction reduces cellular senescence, protects telomeres


onset calorie restriction reduces cellular senescence, protects

Late onset calorie restriction reduces cellular senescence, 
protects telomeres

Research presented at the
British Society for Research on Ageing conference, held July 15-16 in
Newcastle, England reveals that calorie restriction, even started later
in life, reduces cellular senescence: the point at which at which a cell
can no longer replicate, which has been hypothesized to be a major cause
of aging due to its impact on the body’s tissues.

Researchers at the Biotechnology
and Biological Sciences Research Council Centre for Integrated Systems
Biology of Ageing and Nutrition (CISBAN) at Newcastle University fed
adult mice a calorie restricted diet for a short period of time
beginning in adulthood and found a decrease of the accumulation of
senescent cells in their livers and intestines, which normally
accumulate high amounts of senescent cells with age. They also found
that the animals’ telomeres, which are protective caps on the ends of
the chromosomes that prevent errors as DNA replicates, were better
maintained and markers of cumulative oxidative tissue damage were

"Many people will have heard of
the theory that eating a very low calorie diet can help to extend life
span and there is a lot of evidence that this is true," lead researcher
Chunfang Wang commented. "However, we need a better understanding of
what is actually happening in an organism on a restricted diet. Our
research, which looked at parts of the body that easily show biological
signs of ageing, suggests that a restricted diet can help to reduce the
amount of cell senescence occurring and can reduce damage to protective
telomeres. In turn this prevents the accumulation of damaging tissue
oxidation which would normally lead to age-related disease."

"It’s particularly exciting that
our experiments found this effect on age-related senescent cells and
loss of telomeres, even when food restriction was applied to animals in
later life," added Professor Thomas von Zglinicki, who contributed to
the work. "This proof of principle encourages us at CISBAN in our search
for interventions that might in the foreseeable future be used to combat
frailty in old patients."

Calorie restriction


People imagine that caloric
restriction is associated with near-starvation and constant hunger, or
malnutrition due to inadequate intake of dietary nutrients. In fact,
caloric restriction, if undertaken correctly, is a healthy lifestyle
that is accompanied by weight loss, only occasional hunger, optimal
nutrition, and other health benefits. To stress the importance of a
healthy lifestyle, caloric restriction will henceforth be referred to as
"caloric restriction with optimal nutrition" or CRON.

Practicing CRON means decreasing
caloric intake by 30 percent to 40 percent while following the
principles of a healthy diet and greatly limiting the consumption of
calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods such as white flour and refined
sugar. It is also important that additional vitamins and minerals be
added to any caloric restriction program to supply any missing
nutrients. Only calories, not nutrients, should be limited (Nicolas AS
et al 1999).

Researchers initially speculated
that animals who consumed fewer calories would also expend less energy.
However, careful measurements of the energy expenditures of animals on
CRON indicate that they use as much or more energy than their
free-feeding counterparts (Duffy PH et al 1991; Masoro EJ et al 1982;
Masoro EJ et al 1992; McCarter RJ et al 1992).

In spite of the comparable
energy expenditure, however, CRON reduces the cellular damage that is
typically associated with higher energy expenditure, including
accumulation of ROS products, lipid peroxidation, oxidized proteins, and
other measures of cellular aging (Cook CI et al 1998; Dubey A et al
1996; Matsuo M et al 1993).



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