Juvenon Health Journal volume 1 number 1 july 2002
Caloric Restriction – So What?
The most documented method for increasing lifespan in animals is through caloric restriction (CR). Scientists have known for decades that if they cut out a third of the normal diet (caloric content) fed to rats, worms, yeast and other organisms, the animals live longer. More recent studies with primates are demonstrating effects similar to those found with rodents.Caloric restriction has not been reliably tested in humans, and besides, few among us want to live in a constant state of hunger. What then, is the significance of this research? What promise does it hold for those of us who want to do the right things to live a long, healthy, active life?
Let’s look first at what happens at the cellular level under caloric restriction. The information obtained from intense study at many different labs demonstrates that caloric restriction increases the efficiency of energy production and reduces blood pressure, triglycerides levels, blood glucose levels, and body temperature. The animals on restricted diet also appear to have fewer chronic diseases, and their cellular proteins and DNA show less damage caused by free radicals. Caloric restriction also decreases insulin levels and increases insulin sensitivity, two important indicators of a healthy, non-diabetic physical state.
In an environment of food scarcity, cells appear to go into a self-preservation state involving the production of substances to protect structures vital for cell survival. The net effect is an efficient machine that produces a minimum of toxic substances (free radicals) and is protected from attack by toxic metabolites. The overall effect of caloric restriction is to redirect the cell from non-essential activities and focus it on those most important for maximum health and longevity.
These experimental results are promising for humans seeking to reach a maximum age with a high quality of life, in that they suggest the possibility of developing compounds that encourage cells to produce the same effects as caloric restriction but without the strict diet. One such compound has already been developed and tested on aged rats and canines with encouraging results, and others are currently being analyzed.
Welcome to the first issue of the Juvenon Health Journal. This email newsletter will be sent periodically to persons who have initiated email contact with Juvenon. (Opt-out instructions are listed below if you prefer not to receive the Juvenon Health Journal.)
The Juvenon Health Journal has two goals. One is expressed in our tagline, “Science Against the Effects of Aging.” We will present informed, authoritative summaries of emerging issues and serious investigation in the growing field of aging research. We will use everyday language to illuminate science-based facts and isolate the hype that plagues much discussion of the physical and cognitive declines associated with aging.
Our second goal is to provide a forum for subscribers and Juvenon customers to ask questions of Dr. Benjamin V. Treadwell, Ph.D. Dr. Treadwell is a member of Juvenon’s Scientific Advisory Board and served for many years as a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and researcher at Mass General Hospital. Questions for his Ask Ben column should be addressed to AskBen@juvenon.com.
Dr.Treadwell answers your questions about Juvenon™ Cellular Health Supplement
A. A., British Columbia, Canada
Benjamin V. Treadwell, Ph.D., is a former Harvard Medical School associate professor and member of Juvenon’s Scientific Advisory Board.