Posted on 3 November 2020
Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.
Why is this research important: Atherosclerosis is the buildup of fatty deposits on artery walls, causing a restriction to blood flow. Over time these plaque accumulations can build up, resulting in less and less blood being able to pass through the artery, leading to heart disease, one of the leading causes of global deaths.
Calorie restriction (CR), or sometimes known as dietary restriction, is one of the most robustly tested forms of life extension therapies we have to date. It involves the long term feeding of an individual at 60-70% of their normal calorie intake.
What did the researchers do: A research team based at the Washington University School of medicine, led by Prof. Luigi Fontana, gathered 18 subjects who had been on a calorie restricted diet for an average of 6 years each. These individuals underwent blood tests to measure a number of biomarkers to determine whether their CR lifestyle had had an impact on their risk of developing heart disease.
Key takeaway(s) from this research: When compared to the matched controls (these are subjects which are similar to the test subjects i.e similar age and socioeconomic status, yet they were fed on the ‘typical American diet’ not calorie restricted), the CR subjects exhibited 40% reduction in fatty plaque accumulation on the walls of their arteries.
The results also revealed that CR group had lower body mass index BMI (19.6 vs. 25.9), lower body fat percentage (8.7% vs. 24%) and lower triglycerides, amongst a host of other positive measurements of CR.
This study showed that long-term calorie restriction has a powerful effect on the risk of developing atherosclerosis, and therefore could be an effective therapeutic pathway in the battle against heart disease.