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Así es como la restricción calórica previene los efectos negativos del envejecimiento en las células

Eva María Rodríguez |

Calorie restriction , that is, limiting energy intake from diet, has many health benefits . In other words, cutting out what we want will not only help us maintain weight or even lose weight, but it will help us live a healthier life.

But calorie restriction brings us another gift: delayed aging .

All this data is supported by various scientific studies. In this article we are going to talk about one in particular, which clarifies how calorie restriction prevents the negative effects of aging on cells.

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Prevention of cellular aging and calorie restriction

The Salk Institute in the US has published the most detailed report to date on the cellular effects of a calorie-restricted diet in rats. Although the benefits of calorie restriction have long been known, the new results show how this restriction can protect against aging in cellular pathways. The study was published in the journal Cell in February 2020.

That calorie restriction increases lifespan is something we already knew. What the researchers have explained is how all the changes that occur with respect to a single cell occur to cause that.

Aging is the greatest risk factor for many human diseases, including cancer, dementia, diabetes , and metabolic syndrome. Calorie restriction has been shown in animal models to be one of the most effective interventions against these age-related diseases. And although researchers know that individual cells undergo many changes as the body ages, they haven’t known how calorie restriction might influence these changes.

To carry out their study, the researchers compared rats that ate 30% fewer calories with rats on normal diets. The animals’ diets were monitored from 18 months to 27 months. In humans, this would be roughly equivalent to someone following a calorie-restricted diet from age 50 to 70.

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Normal diet Vs calorie restriction diet

At both the beginning and end of the diet, the research team isolated and analyzed a total of 168,703 cells from 40 cell types in the 56 rats. In each isolated cell, the researchers used single-cell genetic sequencing technology to measure gene activity levels. They also looked at the overall composition of cell types within any given tissue. Then, they compared old and young mice on each diet.

Many of the changes that occurred as rats on the normal diet aged did not occur in rats on a restricted diet. Even in old age, many of the tissues and cells of the animals in the diet closely resembled those of the young rats.

Overall, 57% of the age-related changes in cellular composition observed in tissues from rats on a normal diet were not present in rats on the calorie-restricted diet.

Some of the cells and genes most affected by diet are related to immunity, inflammation, and lipid metabolism. The number of immune cells in almost all tissues studied increased dramatically as control rats aged, but was not affected by age in calorie-restricted rats. In brown adipose tissue, a calorie-restricted diet reverted the expression levels of many anti-inflammatory genes to those observed in young animals.

«The main discovery in the current study is that the increased inflammatory response during aging could be systematically repressed by caloric restriction,» the researchers explain.

⇒Read this also: Why does exercise help fight inflammation? Study offers answer

 We are the ones who eat

«People say ‘you are what you eat,’ and we’re finding that to be true in many ways,» says Concepción Rodríguez Esteban, another of the paper’s authors and a researcher at the Salk Institute. «The state of your cells as you age clearly depends on your interactions with your environment, including what and how much you eat.»

The team is now trying to use this information in an effort to discover aging drug targets and implement strategies to increase lifespan and health.

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