Eat Less, Live Longer?

Research suggests turmeric compounds can mimic the anti-aging effects of calorie restriction.

One of the most powerful promoters and causes of unhealthy aging is obesity, a chronic inflammatory condition. Obesity promotes dysfunctional signaling pathways that can lead to other metabolic syndrome conditions — all of which are chronic diseases associated with unhealthy aging(iii.4271)

Inflammation from obesity is linked to higher risk of cancer, including postmenopausal breast cancer. It also significantly increases the risk of death from infection and trauma. (iii.427177)

Lower Calories Reduces Risk of Disease

On the flip side, calorie restriction (CR) is strongly linked to a lower incidence of the chronic diseases associated with aging. In fact, animal studies suggest CR could even help reduce inflammation in breast tissue caused by obesity. So how low do you have to go to achieve the anti-aging benefits of low-calorie dieting? (iii.7076)

CR Diet Guidelines

Researchers suggest CR means eating a healthy diet with anywhere from 30-40% less calories than typical diet guidelines. Population studies show that people who average between 1600-2000 calories a day also have lower rates of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases than those who consume 2500-3000 calories. However, recently published animal studies indicate that the benefits of CR are lost unless the diet is continued. (iii.7173747678)

Calorie Restriction May Not Be a Good Choice for Everyone

There can be some negative effects from calorie restriction. These include: (iii.79)

  • Reduced testosterone in men, which can cause:
    • Decreased sex drive.
    • Loss of muscle mass
  • Decline in bone density.
  • Lower quality of life.
  • Increased risk of infections (in theory).

Calorie Restriction Mimetics (CRMs)

For those who can't commit to CR for health or personal reasons, there may be another solution. Researchers have already identified natural and pharmaceutical compounds that mimic the anti-aging effects of CR. These compounds are referred to as calorie restriction mimetics, or CRMs. Not surprisingly, some of these include drugs used to treat chronic conditions associated with aging (such as diabetes). (iii.7072)

Some examples of potential calorie restriction mimetics include: (iii.707280)

Studies suggest that turmeric's curcumin compounds might work even better than these well-known CRM drugs, and may be safer too. (iii.488185)

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