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Reduced Calorie Consumption Linked to Slower Aging Process

Feb 14, 2017 11:25 AM EST
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A new study revealed that reducing calorie consumption by eating less could slow the aging process at a cellular level.

The study, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, showed that cutting down calorie intake could slow down the production of ribosome, which is considered to be the cell's protein markers. As the ribosome production slows down, the aging process slows too. This gives existing ribosome enough time to repair themselves.

"The ribosome is a very complex machine, sort of like your car, and it periodically needs maintenance to replace the parts that wear out the fastest," said John Price, a biochemistry professor at Brigham Young University and senior author of the study, in a press release.

For the study, the researchers observed two groups of mice with different food restrictions. The first group was given unlimited access to food. On the other hand, mice in the second group were restricted to consume 35 percent less calories. Despite the lower food intake, the mice in the restricted diet were given all the necessary nutrients for survival.

The researchers observed an almost linear increase in the lifespan of mice in the group with restricted calorie consumption. Mice in the second group appeared to be more energetic and have suffered fewer diseases. Due to these, the researchers believe that the calorie restriction caused real biochemical changes that slowed that the rate of aging.

Price and his team is the first to recognize the role of ribosome in the youth-extending biochemical changes produced by the restricted calorie consumption. Ribosome uses 10 to 20 percent of the cell's total energy to develop all the necessary proteins for the cells to operate. The researchers observed eating less slowed the production of new ribosome, giving enough time for the old ribosome to fix themselves and continue producing high-quality proteins for the cell.

However, Price noted that people should not go on counting their calorie intake and expect to stay forever young. The reduced calorie intake is no yet tested as an anti-aging strategy for humans.

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