Calorie Restriction Found to Slow Biological Ageing: Findings from the CALERIE™ Intervention
A study published in Nature Aging has found evidence that calorie restriction could slow the pace of biological ageing in humans. This two-year trial, known as the CALERIE™ intervention, involved 220 healthy, non-obese men and women who were randomly assigned to either a diet with a 25% calorie restriction or a regular diet.
The team studied the methylation patterns on DNA taken from white blood cells. These marks are chemical tags on the DNA sequence that regulate the expression of genes and are known to change with ageing. The researchers focused on three measurements of the DNA methylation data, including the PhenoAge and GrimAge clocks, which estimate biological age or the chronological age at which a person’s biology would appear “normal.” The third measure studied was DunedinPACE, which estimates the pace of ageing, or the rate of biological deterioration over time.
The study found that the average calorie reduction was 12% by the end of the trial and participants still lost an average of 16 pounds over the course of the two-year study. However, DunedinPACE did find a 2% to 3% reduction in the pace of ageing, which translates to a 10-15 percent reduction in mortality risk – the same decrease people see when they quit smoking.
The authors of the study caution that it is important to be cautious and not encourage people, particularly older people, not to eat less in order to slow down the ageing process. Maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and eating a varied and healthy diet with enough protein is known to reduce the risk of falls.
The team is now conducting follow-up assessments of the study participants to assess whether the CR intervention produced any long-term impacts on healthy ageing. The results of this study could provide insight into interventions that could be used to slow down the biological ageing process.
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