It’s well documented that restricting calories and eating healthy has many health benefits. Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding unhealthy foods has been tied to reduced risk for many diseases and a longer, healthier life in general. New research published in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics now suggests another benefit to calorie restriction – actually slowing aging!
The researchers who worked on the study found that when ribosomes – the protein makers of the cell – slow down, the aging process slows down too. If you give your ribosomes less work to do, it seems that your cells remain younger and healthier and don’t wear out as fast as the ribosomes have more 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 Brigham Young University biochemistry professor and senior author John Price. “When tires wear out, you don’t throw the whole car away and buy new ones. It’s cheaper to replace the tires.”
Price and fellow researchers observed two groups of mice, one group had unlimited access to food and the other had restricted calories by 35%. The study found that restricted calories led to a linear increase in lifespan. The team isn’t the first to show a connection between reduced calories and longevity, but they are the first to connect the ribosome’s role in these anti-aging changes.
“The calorie-restricted mice are more energetic and suffered fewer diseases,” Price said. “And it’s not just that they’re living longer, but because they’re better at maintaining their bodies, they’re younger for longer as well.”
Despite this study’s results, Price stressed that this hasn’t been fully studied in humans – only mice. However, it’s very likely that these findings will transfer over to the human experience when further studied.