Studies on a wide variety of species have found that calorie restriction almost always extends lifespan. Whether this applies to primates has been the subject of considerable debate since research conducted by two reputable organizations have reported conflicting results.
Now, however, those organizations — the University of Wisconsin and the National Institute on Aging — have come together in a study published in the journal Nature Communications, concluding that calorie restriction does in fact improve both the health and longevity of rhesus monkeys.
The trials were set up in the late 1980s, and many of the monkeys are still alive. Four of the NIA monkeys that began dieting as adults lived past 40, a near decade longer than their typical lifespan, breaking all known records for the species.
Meanwhile, the calorie-restricted male monkeys observed by the University of Wisconsin typically lived two years longer than controls who ate whatever they wanted, while calorie-restricted females lived six years longer.
There were also lower rates of heart disease and cancer in the calorie-restricted monkeys. These are some of the leading causes of death in people, strengthening the idea that the same results may apply to humans.
A calorie restricted diet might not be for everyone, but understanding the mechanisms behind it may one day lead to breakthroughs in anti-aging medications, according to Julie Mattison, Staff Scientist at the NIA. “The goal is to improve human health,” Mattison says.
Source: FOX News