The adage ‘you are what you eat’ has been around for years. Now, important new research provides another reason to be careful with your calories.
Neuroscientists at NYU Langone Medical Center have shown that calorie-reduced diets stop the normal rise and fall in activity levels of close to 900 different genes linked to aging and memory formation in the brain.
“Our study shows how calorie restriction practically arrests gene expression levels involved in the aging phenotype—how some genes determine the behavior of mice, people, and other mammals as they get old,” says senior study investigator and NYU Langone neuroscientist, Stephen D. Ginsberg, PhD. Ginsberg cautions that the study does not mean calorie restriction is the “fountain of youth,” but that it does “add evidence for the role of diet in delaying the effects of aging and age-related disease.”
While restrictive dietary regimens have been well-known for decades to prolong the lives of rodents and other mammals, their effects in humans have not been well understood. Benefits of these diets have been touted to include reduced risk of human heart disease, hypertension, and stroke, Ginsberg notes, but the widespread genetic impact on the memory and learning regions of aging brains has not before been shown. Previous studies, he notes, have only assessed the dietary impact on one or two genes at a time, but his analysis encompassed more than 10,000 genes.