Eating Well, Health, Women's Health

Eat Less, Age Slower

Want to stay younger longer? Try eating less. That’s the practical suggestion of research findings at Brigham Young University, where scientists working with mice, not humans, found that when ribosomes — the cell’s protein makers — slow down, the aging process slows too. Why? Because the decreased speed lowers production but gives ribosomes extra time to repair themselves. A Brigham Young news release reports that researchers studied two groups of mice, one of which had unlimited access to food while the other was restricted to 35 percent fewer calories. The researchers found that the calorie restricted mice were more energetic, had fewer diseases, and lived longer. They point out that because ribosomes use 10–20 percent of the cell’s total energy to build all the proteins necessary for the cell to operate, it’s impractical to destroy an entire ribosome when it starts to malfunction. But repairing individual parts of the ribosome on a regular basis enables ribosomes to continue producing high-quality proteins for longer than they would otherwise. This top-quality production in turn keeps cells and the entire body functioning well. Sounds great, but the researchers are careful to warn that people shouldn’t start counting calories and expect to stay forever young. Calorie restriction has not been tested in humans as an anti-aging strategy.

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