Friday, April 10, 2015

Unlocking the benefits of dietary restriction for humans

Cell: Scientists showed 80 years ago that rats given less to eat live longer and healthier lives. Since then, dietary restriction experiments have shown similar benefits in flies, fish, worms, chickens, dogs, monkeys, and other animals. It's time to start seriously pursuing this research in humans, say longevity researchers Luigi Fontana of Washington University in St. Louis and Linda Partridge of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing. "Dietary interventions that avoid unrealistic levels of self-deprivation and pharmacological interventions that recapture beneficial effects of [dietary restriction] are important goals to improve human health during aging," they write in their Review of the field. From their analysis, they conclude that more work is needed to conduct human experiments, including the development for biomarkers (e.g., protein levels in a blood test) that can identify differences between an individual who is eating well versus someone who is starving, as well as that can be used as metrics in clinical trials.