(NaturalNews) Seventy-five years of research shows that dietary restriction (DR) is the one tried and tested means to extend lifespan and to improve many markers of health.
One form of DR is a calorie-restricted (CR) diet with optimal nutrition. The idea is to provide adequate nutrition with the least amount of calories (in other words, under-nutrition without mal-nutrition). Intermittent fasting (IF) is another form of DR. Intermediate fasters eat about the same amount of calories as non-fasters on a carefully restricted schedule. This implies that the episodic deprivation, irrespective of the caloric count, produces the physiological effects of IF.
In almost every species studied, including yeast, fish, rodents, dogs, and primates, DR seems to mysteriously slow aging, extend youth, and postpone diseases associated with old age. In laboratory experiments, some animals have been able to expand their healthy life spans by up to 400% with optimal DR.
The rationale behind the DR theory of longevity is that organisms become stronger and more resistant to diseases in response to the stress of a continual state of mild hunger. Some scientists believe that this could have been an evolutionary adaptation, which allowed our ancestors to survive periods of food scarcity.
The physiological effects of IF and CR are similar. Both CR and IF prompt cells to set up defenses against stress, which protect against aging and degenerative diseases. However, since IF fasters are allowed to eat as much as they want when given access to food, IF is usually more appealing than the continual self-denial of CR.
Many mechanisms of DR induced life extension have been proposed. One of the most prominent is the discovery that DR up-regulates autophagy, or what is called the repair mechanism of the cell. This effect is related to the down regulation of insulin and insulin-related molecules.
Studies indicate that insulin's role as the body's blood sugar regulator is simply a consequence of its major role of regulating cellular reproduction, and therefore lifespan. Insulin -predominantly secreted in response to dietary carbohydrates- signals to the body that it is well nourished and conditions are prime for cellular reproduction. On the other hand, when insulin level is low, the body senses famine, down-regulating reproductive pathways and up-regulating cellular maintenance and repair.
The beneficial effects of DR are plenty. They include:
-Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease
-Improved learning and memory (via increased brain derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF)
-Lowers body mass index (BMI)
-Cardio-protective effect (protects heart and brain cells against injury and improves outcomes in stroke and myocardial infarctions; increase levels of circulating adiponectin).
-Less expression of age markers in the liver and brain
-More youthful appearance
-Resistance of neurons in the brain against excito-toxins
-Prevention of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation under stress
-Reduced vascular endothelial (inner lining of blood vessel) damage
-Reduce oxidative stress
-Less chance of developing/improvement of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, brain degeneration
Part 2 will discuss practical ways to take advantage of the latest findings in DR/longevity research
[Editor`s Note: NaturalNews is strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the healthand wellbeing of all living creatures.]
1."Cardio-protective effect of intermittent fasting is associated with an elevation of adiponectin levels in rats" (The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, May 2010).
2."The fast route to a longer, healthier life" (New Science Magazine, May 2003)
3."Fasting Away Disease? Intermittent Eating Seems To Fight Diabetes" (Psychology Today, July 1, 2003).
6."Short-term calorie restriction reverses vascular endothelial dysfunction in old mice by increasing nitric oxide and reducing oxidative stress" (Aging Cell, January 2010)
7.Primal Body-Primal Mind (Gedgaudas)
About the authorAndrew Kim
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