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The sad failure of calorie restriction

calorie restriction and your waistlineI can’t say it’s a surprise that calorie restriction has failed to extend life in higher primates.  It was at least successful in flies, worms and some lower mammals.  I understand it has not led to mass gorging on the part of the CR society, who bravely soldier on in the face of this recent finding, perhaps refusing to believe it, or maybe just having too much invested to quit now.

CR, as a way of life, is no picnic. If you have seen some of these people, they are thin to the point of emaciated. Clearly, it takes a determined and brave person to fight one of the most basic urges – the one to eat. I believe the current plan is for the CR society to look at their data around 2030 to 2050.

You have to hand it to them. They are in truth doing the world’s only attempted human longevity study, where people are actually followed into their old age and death over several decades.  When people say things to me like, “Well, TA-65 is not proven to extend life!”,  I say “You are right! Nothing is, because no one has ever done a study that goes out long enough to prove that point.”  The CR society may be the very first to do this and win, lose or draw, on this one I have to say they have some serious guts.

Especially in the face of what has to be a very basic mistake on the part of people researching this. In case you missed it, the big glitch was that the longer lived monkeys were actually fed a much healthier and more controlled diet than the shorter lived ones, who were given the equivalent of McDonald’s every day, in monkey terms.  I think there is enough human data to prove that would kill people off early, too.

Still, there is a lot we have gained from these experiments and much more to learn.

We now understand the interaction of some “metabolic stress handlers” like mTOR, FOXO and the sirtuins. We know they build up the antioxidant defenses of the body to a greater degree than an ad libitum diet, and we know that they help manage insulin and glucose in the process. Such knowledge could come in very handy when developing new treatments for diabetes. We also know these metabolic stress handlers help control the expression of telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres. It won’t be long before we know how telomeres control the expression of these proteins in reverse, so to speak.

All of this helps us understand the aging process better and develop new strategies to combat disease, suffering and aging as a whole.

So it’s time for a prediction. When the CR society data is finally in, I think we will see that they are dying far less of stroke and heart disease complications, and far more of immune dysfunction and cancer.

Unless of course, they remember to take their fish oil and TA-65!

Brave souls, I commend you and wish you well!

Doc

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