Can you slow the aging process?
Cutting calories may delay biological aging and reduce the likeliness of developing diseases associated with getting older, a new study suggests.
Biological aging, as opposed to inevitable chronological aging, is the gradual worsening of functions of the body in living things. This new study suggests that senescence, another term for biological aging, could be slowed down by limiting calorie intake.
Dr. Beata Styka, a geriatric medicine physician at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., explains that, “If we can find a way to slow senescence, it may be possible to delay or even prevent many illnesses and diseases associated with old age.”
Research conducted prior to this study showed that reducing intake of worms and flies in mice was proven to lengthen their life spans. Intrigued by this finding, researchers at Duke University wanted to see if human caloric reduction would produce the same or similar results.
In the study, a group of 145 participants who experienced a 12 percent reduction in their calorie intake were watched while a control group of 75 people did not restrict their calories. Researchers measured the biological age of participants by looking at health factors such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The results were eye-opening. During the two years of follow-up to the study, biological age increased by an average of .11 years every 12 months in the group that restricted their calories, while the control group’s age rose by an average of .71 years in the same time span.
“The findings of this research further support the already established benefits of watching what you eat and help provide techniques for delaying signs of aging,” says Dr. Styka. “The results show a clearly slower rise in age for the calorie restricted group of randomized individuals. This study offers an opportunity for the future to create health therapies aimed at cutting back calories in order to see measurable results.”
About the Author
Kristen Bainbridge, health enews contributor, is the marketing and public affairs intern for Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, IL. Kristen is a senior Marketing major and Public Relations minor at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio., and will graduate in the spring of 2018. During the school year, Kristen will be the Marketing and Communications intern in Xavier’s Career Development Office. In her free time, Kristen loves dancing, traveling, and cheering on the Xavier basketball team. Go Musketeers!