Reducing Calories and Eating at the Right Time of Day Prolongs Mice’s Lives

Reducing Calories and Eating at the Right Time of Day Prolongs Mice's Lives

Experiments that tested various diets in mice found that the animals lived the longest on a low-calorie diet with daily fasting periods. Credit: Fernando Augusto / Used with permission.

A recipe for longevity is simple, if not easy to follow: eat less. Studies on various animals have shown that calorie restriction can lead to a longer and healthier life.

Now, new research suggests that the body’s daily rhythms play a big role in this longevity effect. Eating only at the most active time of the day greatly extends the lifespan of mouse on a low-calorie diet, Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher Joseph Takahashi and colleagues report May 5, 2022 in the journal Science.

In his team’s study of hundreds of mice over four years, a low-calorie diet alone extended the animals’ lives by 10%. But feeding the mice only at night, when the mice are most active, extended life by 35%. This combo — a low-calorie diet plus a nighttime meal schedule — added an extra nine months to the animals’ typical two-year median lifespan. For people, a similar plan would limit meals to daytime hours.

The research helps unravel the controversy around diets that emphasize eating only at certain times of the day, says Takahashi, a molecular biologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Such plans cannot accelerate weight loss in menas a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported, but they could incite health benefits which add to a longer lifespan.

The findings of Takahashi’s team highlight the crucial role of metabolism in aging, says Sai Krupa Das, nutrition scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Center for Human Nutrition Research on Aging, who was not involved in the work. . “This is a very promising and landmark study,” she says.

fountain of Youth

Decades of research have shown that calorie restriction extends the lifespan of animals ranging from worms and flies to mice, rats and primates. These experiments report weightlossimproved glycemic regulation, lower blood pressureand reduces inflammation.

But it’s been difficult to systematically study calorie restriction in people, who can’t live in a lab and eat measured food portions for their entire lives, Das says. She was part of the research team that conducted the first controlled study of calorie restriction in humans, called the Comprehensive Evaluation of the Long-Term Effects of Reduced Energy Intake, or CALERIE. In this study, even a modest reduction in calories “was remarkably beneficial” in reducing the signs of aging, Das says.

Scientists are just beginning to understand how calorie restriction slows aging at the cellular and genetic level. As an animal ages, genes related to inflammation tend to become more active, while genes that help regulate metabolism become less active. Takahashi’s new study found that calorie restriction, especially when timed for the mice’s nocturnal activity period, helped offset these genetic changes as the mice aged.

A matter of time

The past few years have seen the rise of many popular diets that focus on what is known as intermittent fasting, such as fasting every other day or eating only for six to eight hours per week. day. To unravel the effects of calories, fasting, and daily or circadian rhythms on longevity, Takahashi’s team undertook an extensive four-year experiment. The team housed hundreds of mice with automated feeders to monitor when and how much each mouse ate over its lifetime.

Some of the mice could eat as much as they wanted, while others had their calories restricted by 30-40%. And those on low-calorie diets ate on different schedules. Mice fed low-calorie food diet overnight, over a two-hour or 12-hour period, lived the longest, the team found.

The results suggest that a time-limited diet has positive effects on the body, even if it does not promote weight loss, because the New England Journal of Medicine suggested study. Takahashi points out that his study also found no difference in weight in mice with different feeding schedules – “however, we found profound differences in lifespan,” he says.

Rafael de Cabo, a gerontology researcher at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, says the Science paper” is a very elegant demonstration that even if you restrict your calories but you are not [eating at the right times]you don’t get the full benefits of calorie restriction.”

Takahashi hopes to learn how calorie restriction affects the body’s internal clocks as we age will help scientists find new ways to extend healthy human lifespans. This could be from low-calorie diets or medications that mimic the effects of such diets.

In the meantime, Takahashi takes a lesson from his mice – he limits his own feeding to a 12-hour period. But, he says, “if we find a drug that can speed up your clock, then we can test it in the lab and see if it sticks. lifetime.”

Year-Long Study Shows Time-Limited Diets Offer No Benefit

More information:
Victoria Acosta-Rodríguez et al, Circadian alignment of early caloric restriction promotes longevity in male C57BL/6J mice, Science (2022). DOI: 10.1126/science.abk0297.

Quote: Reducing Calories and Eating at the Right Time of Day Extends Life in Mice (2022, May 5) Retrieved May 6, 2022 from – mouse.html

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