A Low Calorie Diet Slows Aging in the Brain

Low Calorie Meals

Here’s another reason to cut down on portions. Neurological scientists have proven that a low calorie diet inhibited the rising-falling action of close to 900 genes associated with aging, and the formation of memories in the brain. Researchers at NYU’s Langone Medical Center conducted the study. The results were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, this year held in Washington, D.C. Female laboratory mice were used as test subjects. Researchers found that low calorie diets with fewer carbohydrates helped stave off age-related, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. This has far reaching implications for all mammals, up to and including humans. Senior researcher Stephen D. Ginsberg, PhD said, “Our study shows how calorie restriction practically arrests gene expression levels involved in the aging phenotype — how some genes determine the behavior of mice, people, and other mammals as they get old.” So should you be putting grandma on a diet? Not so fast.

A low calorie diet wasn’t a veritable “fountain of youth” said the researcher. Ginsberg did however say that the study does “add evidence for the role of diet in delaying the effects of aging and age-related disease.” Restricted calorie diets have long been known to prolong life in mammals. Yet, previous research has not been able to pin down exactly how it works in humans. A low calorie diet lowers the risk of hypertension, heart disease and stroke significantly, says Ginsberg. Previous to this research however, the impact on the aging mind and memory was unknown. This analysis was able to cover an impressive 10,000 genes. Ginsberg said this research “widens the door to further study into calorie restriction and anti-aging genetics.” Since female mice have a higher rate of dementia than males, they were selected as subjects for this study. The mice were given 30% fewer calories than their counterparts. Tissue samples from their hippocampus were examined twice, both in middle-age and later adulthood. The hippocampus is the region that shows the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s.


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