Study – Intermittent Fasting a Powerful Tool To Increase Lifespan
How Does This Process Work?
Mitochondria are the structures in your cells that produce energy, and they exist in networks that change shape depending on the energy demand they face. Their elasticity declines with age, however, and the reason why this happens has been a mystery, at least until now. In this new study, researchers were able to show a casual link between the changes in mitochondrial network shape and longevity.
Using nematode worms, which have a lifespan of only two weeks, researchers were able to study aging in real-time in the lab. While mitochondrial networks usually alternate between fragmented and fused states, researchers found that by restricting the worms’ diet and mimicking dietary restriction by using an energy-sensing protein called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), they could maintain the fused mitochondrial networks — those in a more “youthful” state. They also determined that these more youthful networks increased lifespan by directly communicating with organelles called peroxisomes to modulate fat metabolism.
“Low-energy conditions such as dietary restriction and intermittent fasting have previously been shown to promote healthy aging. Understanding why this is the case is a crucial step toward being able to harness the benefits therapeutically,” said Heather Weir, lead author of the study, who conducted the research while at Harvard Chan School. “Our findings open up new avenues in the search for therapeutic strategies that will reduce our likelihood of developing age-related diseases as we get older.”
“Although previous work has shown how intermittent fasting can slow aging, we are only beginning to understand the underlying biology,” said William Mair, associate professor of genetics and complex diseases at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “Our work shows how crucial the plasticity of mitochondria networks is for the benefits of fasting. If we lock mitochondria in one state, we completely block the effects of fasting or dietary restriction on longevity.”
They then explored the role that mitochondrial networks have in the effect of fasting in mammals, and whether mitochondrial inflexibility might explain the association between obesity and the risk of age-related diseases.
What Is Intermittent Fasting, and Can It Help You?
Intermittent fasting or time restricted eating is when you consume your calories in a shorter period of time.. and not eating for the rest of the time. Many people follow a 16:8 window which means that they have an 8 hour window to eat their daily food and for the rest of the 16 hours you only consume water. Some people also consume herbal teas and/or coffee however some people such as Dr Rhonda Patrick would not recommend this.
There are many other benefits of intermittent fasting, which include weight loss and cell regeneration. Read more