Time-restricted eating boosts longevity in mouse study

May 9, 2022
Time-restricted eating boosts longevity in mouse study

Calorie restriction has proven beneficial to the lifespan of various animals: past experiments show markedly improved glucose regulation, lowered blood pressure, reduced inflammation, and weight loss, among others. A new investigation led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Joseph Takahashi, a molecular biologist, has found that calorie restriction plans that emphasise eating only at certain times of the day significantly slowed down cellular and genetic aging in mice.

In a study of hundreds of mice over four years, some of the mice, on automatic feeders, could eat as much as they wanted, while others had their calories restricted by 30 to 40%. A reduced-calorie diet alone was found to extend the animals’ lives by 10%; while feeding mice the same diet only at nighttime, when mice are most active, extended life by 35%.

The researchers estimated that a reduced-calorie diet plus a nighttime eating schedule added about nine months to the animals’ typical two-year median lifespan – for people, an analogous plan would restrict eating to daytime hours.

Takahashi’s new study shows that calorie restriction, especially when timed to the mice’s nighttime active period, helped offset several genetic changes as they aged e.g., genes linked to inflammation and metabolism, which become more and less active during aging, respectively.

The investigator hopes that learning how calorie restriction affects the body’s internal clocks as we age will help scientists find new ways to extend the healthy lifespan of humans either through calorie-restricted diets, or drugs that mimic those diets’ effects.

In the meantime, Takahashi is taking a lesson from his mice and restricts his own eating to a 12-hour period.

Category: Education, Features

Comments are closed.