According to a new study, calorie restriction is great for improving immune and metabolic responses which can really contribute not only to how long a person lives but also to how healthy they are during those years!
Associate Executive Director for Clinical Science at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Eric Ravussin, explains that “Two years of moderate calorie restriction reprograms the pathways in fat cells that regulate the way mitochondria generate energy, the body’s anti inflammatory responses, and even, potentially longevity. In other words, calorie restriction really rewires many of the metabolic and immune responses that boost lifespan and health span.”
The research was published not too long ago in the journal Science and is based on data from Pennington Biomedical’s CALERIE 2 (Comprehensive Assessment of the Long Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy), which is the longest running calorie restriction trial.
What this study was able to conclude was that people who lower their calorie intake by around 14 per cent over a time period of two years at the least, can generate more T cells, which contributes not only to improving immune function but also to slowing down aging.
Ravussin goes on to also explain that “As people age, their thymuses also shrink and produce fewer T cells. As a result, older individuals tend to have a harder time fighting off infections and certain cancers. Calorie restriction helps prevent the thymus from shrinking so the person generates more T cells.”
Of course, aside from improving immunity, such an increase in T cells also improves one’s ability to burn their fat stores for more energy.
The reason why this process is so important is that the fat can really build up in organs like the liver and in muscle if it does not get burned and transformed into energy.
This often leads to obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and rapid aging.
And that is not all! The study also found that calorie restriction can also improve metabolic health and reduce age-related inflammation!
Other studies have also shown that by restricting calories by 40 per cent in rats, their lives were extended.
However, with such a significant limitation in caloric intake, there were some trade-offs as well, namely in reproduction, growth and immunity.
All in all, calorie restriction is able to also reduce the levels of gene encoding platelet activating factor acetyl hydrolase (PLA2G7) which, as mentioned before, comes with a lot of health benefits such as improving one’s metabolism and lowering age-related inflammation.
About this, John Kirwan, the Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical, said that “If researchers can find a way to harness PLA2G7, they could create a treatment to extend a person’s health span, the time an individual experiences good health.”