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How eating less might make you live longer

which suggests improved mitochondrial function. Their analysis of genes involved in mitochondria formation indicated that CR and CREX both increased the number of mitochondria in muscle. Both interventions also reduced the amount of DNA damagea marker of oxidative stressin the participants' muscles.

The researchers also examined gene expression in the study participants. In yeast, worms, and flies the activation of the Sir2 gene increases life span and regulates cellular metabolism. An important question is whether caloric restriction can regulate SIRT1 (the mammalian equivalent of Sir2) in humans. Civitarese and colleagues found that indeed fewer calories can improve whole body metabolism in conjunction with an increase in SIRT1 gene expression in skeletal muscle. These results raise the possibility that SIRT1 may contribute to more efficient metabolism, less oxidative stress, and increase longevity in humans as it does in lower organism.

The results suggest that even short-term caloric restriction can produce beneficial physiological changes leading to improved health. Whether caloric restriction and the associated health benefits can be sustained over longer term remains to be established in humans.


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Contact: Andrew Hyde
press@plos.org
44-122-346-3330
Public Library of Science
5-Mar-2007


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