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Anti-aging diet - caloric restriction (CR)

Caloric restriction (CR) is the practice of limiting dietary energy intake to improve health and retard aging. In human subjects, CR is known to slow the signs of aging, as indicated by biomarkers such as cholesterol and blood pressure. Every animal species tested with CR so far, including monkeys, spiders and rats, has shown corresponding lifespan extension. CR is the only known dietary measure capable of extending maximum, as opposed to average, lifespan.

Energy intake must be minimised, but sufficient quantities of vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients must still be taken. To emphasise this, CR is often referred to as CRON or CRAN (caloric restriction with optimal or adequate nutrition.)

Aging is a reduction in the amount of order in living systems, which require a high degree of order. More energy, in the form of more calories, creates more disorder (which scientists call entropy). It is believed that caloric restriction slows the energy flow through our body so we "disorder" (i.e. age) at a slower rate. Cryonics is above all a means of extending human life, but its effectiveness is unproven. Extending life by more certain means may give critical additional years of life during which cryonics goes from being an uncertain procedure to a certain one. It is believed that eating fewer calories reduces body temperature and alters metabolic function leading to less cell damage. These metabolic changes also slow other cell-damaging activities in the body and, in turn, appear to slow the aging process. Calorie restriction also lowers insulin and blood sugar levels and increases insulin sensitivity. This lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It is difficult to know if the benefits of calorie restriction in humans are the same as in animals. Since humans live longer than animals, no such studies have been completed on humans; however, the Longitudinal Baltimore Study of Aging is looking at calorie restriction and longevity in humans. The ongoing study has found that men who live the longest have the biological markers of aging seen in calorie reduced animals such as reduced body temperature and lower insulin levels.

The first major demonstration of the benefits of caloric restriction was an experimental trial conducted by Richard Weindruch. In 1986, Weindruch reported that restricting the calorie intake of laboratory mice proportionally increased their lifespan compared to a group of mice with a normal diet. The calorie-restricted mice also maintained youthful appearances and activity levels longer, and showed delays in age-related diseases. The findings have since been accepted, and generalised to a range of other animals. Researchers are investigating the possibility of parallel physiological links in humans (see Roth et al below). In the meantime, many people have independently adopted the practice of caloric restriction in some form, hoping to achieve the expected benefits themselves.

Calorie restriction works on three different levels: As food intake decreases, metabolism goes down. Free radicals form as by-products of the metabolic cycle of your body decrease. Less free radicals means less cellular damage and less likelihood of cancer and other free radical linked diseases. Calorie restrictions cause an increase in protective enzymes such as superoxide dimutase and glutathione peroxidase, both of which oppose free radicals. Certain hormone production such as melatonin, which has anti-oxidant function, is increased. Calorie restrictions, if properly carried out through eating more frequent smaller meals rather than few big meals, reduce insulin secretion and stabilize blood sugar level.

Recent research has demonstrated that it is not reduced intake which influences longevity. This was done by studying animals which have their metabolism changed to reduce insulin uptake, consequently retaining the leanness of animals in the earlier studies. It was observed that these animals can have a normal dietary intake, but have a similarly increased lifespan. This suggests that lifespan is increased for an organism if it can remain lean and if it can avoid any accumulation of fatty tissue: if this can be done while not diminishing dietary intake (as in some minority eating patterns, see e.g. Living foods diet or Joel Fuhrman) then the 'starvation diet' anticipated as an impossible requirement by earlier researchers is no longer a precondition of increased longevity. The extension of these findings to human nutrition and longevity is as noted above still in progress. Also in progress are the development of Cr mimetic interventions.

More information on anti-aging

What is aging? - Aging is a syndrome of changes that are deleterious, progressive, universal and thus far irreversible. Aging is usually understood to include reductions in reproductive capacity.
What're signs and symptoms of aging? - There is a reduction of the thymus gland to 5-10% of its original mass by age 50. Levels of antibodies increase with aging. One third of men and half of women over 65 report some form of arthritis.
Theories of aging - Aging is the process of growing older and includes changes in both biology and psychology. Theories that explain aging can generally be divided between the programmed and error theories of aging.
What is the anti-aging treatment and prevention? - A healthy lifestyle, caloric restriction with adequate nutrution (CRAN), and perhaps even supplements can do no more than slow the aging process or extend mean lifespan.
Anti-aging diets - Caloric restriction (CR) - Caloric restriction (CR) is the practice of limiting dietary energy intake to improve health and retard aging. In human subjects, CR is known to slow the signs of aging.
Anti-aging hormones - Hormones are chemicals released into the bloodstream from glands. The hormones DHEA, melatonin, thyroid, and somatotropin (GH) decline with age.
Anti-aging supplements and nutrients - Supplements are a critical component for health and disease prevention. Anti-aging supplements address and prevent any possible deterioration in the cells that may accelerate the aging process.
Anti-aging medicine - Anti-aging medicine incorporates many of the principals of ortho-molecular medicine to retard aging and rejuvenate the body.
Anti-aging skin care - The largest growth area in cosmetic facial treatment is related to aging. People are living longer and healthier and want their appearance to reflect their vital state of mind and health.
Anti-aging tips - The single best thing you can do for your health and longevity is quit smoking. Drink only in moderation. Find a doctor who specializes in geriatrics or anti-aging.
Human growth hormone (HGH) and anti-aging - Human growth hormone (HGH) is produced in the pituitary gland of humans, and the hormone is secreted throughout a persons lifetime.
DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) and anti-aging - DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a natural sterone produced naturally in the body by the adrenal glands and is the sole precursor and regulator for the natural production of every steroid and sex hormone in the body.
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