Eating a very low-calorie yet nutritionally balanced diet is good for your heart. Studying heart function in members of an organization called the Caloric Restriction Society, investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that their hearts functioned like the hearts of much younger people. The researchers report their findings in the Jan. 17 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Ultrasound examinations showed that the hearts of people on caloric restriction appeared more elastic than those of age- and gender-matched control subjects. Their hearts were able to relax between beats in a way similar to the hearts in younger people.
"This is the first study to demonstrate that long-term calorie restriction with optimal nutrition has cardiac-specific effects that ameliorate age-associated declines in heart function," says principal investigator Luigi Fontana, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis and an investigator at the Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome, Italy.
Research on mice and rats has shown that stringent and consistent caloric restriction increases the animals' maximum lifespan by about 30 percent and protects them against atherosclerosis and cancer, but human study has been difficult because the caloric restriction lifestyle requires a strict diet regimen, both to keep the total number of calories low and to insure that people consume the proper balance of nutrients.
The researchers studied 25 calorie-restricted individuals who had voluntarily been consuming a very low-calorie diet for an average of six years (consuming about 1,400 to 2,000 calories per day). They ranged in age from 41 to 65. The study compared their heart function to 25 age- and gender-matched individuals who ate a typical Western diet (about 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day).
In Western countries, heart attacks and strokes are responsible for about 40 percenPage: 1 2 3 4 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Jim Dryden
Washington University School of Medicine
. Michigan-CDC study supports value of social restrictions during influenza pandemics2
. Sleep restriction affects childrens speech3
. Better health twice as likely for nonsmokers who live and work with smoking restrictions4
. Resident work hour restrictions may be costly for teaching hospitals5
. Weight loss through calorie restriction, but not exercise, may lead to bone loss6
. Resident work-hour restrictions yield little improvement in perceived quality of patient care7
. Air travel and flu: Post-9/11 restrictions delayed start of season8
. Calorie restriction appears better than exercise at slowing primary aging9
. Breastfeeding as good for childrens blood pressure as exercise and salt restriction10
. DNA vaccine against multiple sclerosis appears safe, potentially beneficial11
. ADHD appears to be associated with depressed dopamine activity in the brain