Scientists have developed a new anti-aging diet based on simulating fasting

Scientists have developed a new anti-aging diet based on simulating fasting

It is generally accepted that longevity and dietary restrictions are closely related. And although this is not always confirmed in real life, there are many scientific works proving the benefits of therapeutic fasting or restrictive diets. Another work was published in the authoritative scientific journal Nature Communicatoins: its authors were able to prove that a fasting diet, if followed 5 days a month for three months, reduces a person’s biological age by 2.5 years, and also reduces the risk of developing a number of diseases , primarily cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

The fasting diet helps reduce signs of immune system aging, insulin resistance and reduce the number of fat cells in the liver in people, leading to a decrease in biological age. This is according to a study conducted by the new Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California.

The problem of obesity is called a new pandemic of the 21st century. Excess weight provokes the development of a huge number of chronic diseases. In particular, in obese people, fat is deposited in the liver, which in 75% of cases leads to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. What's next: the development of non-alcoholic fibrosis and hepatosis, which scientists predict will become the leading cause of liver-related mortality in the next 20 years. Research over the past decade has shown that obesity and associated changes in insulin levels, lipids, and inflammatory markers accelerate the aging of the liver, brain, adipose tissue, and other organs. In addition, obesity causes changes in the composition and function of the immune system, also known as immunosenescence, which over time leads to decreased immune function, increased vulnerability to infectious diseases, and susceptibility to age-related inflammatory diseases.

To find out how nutrition can improve the situation, American and Italian researchers conducted an analysis of short-term changes in diet. In particular, we decided to find out how a restrictive diet that simulates fasting (called FMD) affects the body. The five-day diet is based on a large amount of unsaturated fats, which contain few calories, as well as proteins and carbohydrates. The body reacts to such a diet as to the onset of hunger - but the person at the same time receives a sufficient amount of nutrients. The diet was developed by the laboratory of Professor Walter Longo from the Leonard Davis School of the University of Southern California. The diet includes plant-based soups, energy bars, drinks, snacks, tea and supplements high in minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids.

Scientists note that not only the level of calories consumed and the composition of macronutrients affect health and life expectancy, but also the number of hours during which food is consumed. If, for example, mice are restricted from eating, their health improves. Likewise, intermittent fasting (an eating pattern that alternates periods of binge eating and fasting), including alternate day fasting (days of low-calorie consumption or complete fasting alternating with days of ad libitum eating or feasting), protects against a variety of diseases and increases life expectancy.

Participants in the new study included 100 volunteers with an average age of 43 years (range 18 to 70 years). Half of them ate as usual, and the other half went on a calorie-restricted diet that simulated fasting for five days a month. After three months, participants in the second group, who adhered to FMD, managed to not only lose excess weight. They significantly (up to 50%) decreased the amount of fat in their liver; immune profile indicators have significantly improved. Those of them who were close to developing type 2 diabetes achieved a reduction in glucose levels to normal levels. In addition, many participants in group 2 were able to reduce their biological age by 2.5 years within just three months, regardless of weight loss.

“This study is the first to demonstrate evidence of a reduction in biological age, as well as rejuvenation of metabolic and immune functions, through a calorie-restricted diet,” said its developer, Professor Valter Longo. “Taken together, these results suggest beneficial effects of FMD on cardiometabolic risk factors and biomarkers of biological age.”

Previous research by the same authors shows that intermittent cycles of a fasting-mimicking diet provide a variety of benefits, including stem cell regeneration, reduced chemotherapy side effects, and reduced signs of dementia in mice. People who periodically adhere to such a diet reduce risk factors for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart and vascular diseases. So a restrictive diet, like fasting, may be an effective and achievable way to improve health without significant lifestyle changes, the study authors said. It is estimated that if you follow the experimental diet for 20 years, this will lead to an increase in maximum life expectancy by 12.5 years. However, some experts say that while the diet shows promise in reducing the risk of multiple chronic diseases, more research is needed on its long-term effects.

As therapist Yuri Zakharov told MK, fasting today is often recommended by oncologists against the background of chemotherapy and immunotherapy: “Numerous cycles of fasting have been shown to reduce immunosuppression (immune suppression) and mortality in cancer patients caused by chemotherapy. But there is a second way - dietary interventions, including foods high in polyphenols, including regular tea and coffee. Epidemiological studies and clinical trials have shown that regular coffee consumption is associated with inhibition of certain metabolic diseases, as well as a reduction in mortality. A recent study showed that both natural and decaffeinated coffee equally quickly induced autophagy in all organs tested (liver, muscle, heart) in mice. There are also so-called autophagy inducers in the form of dietary supplements.”

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