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Low Calorie Diet Slows Muscle Aging - Increases Life Span Eating Less Makes you Healthier

July 8th 2006

Low Calorie Diet Slows Muscle Aging - Increases Life Span Eating Less Makes you Healthier

Skeletal Muscle

New research from Canada indicates that a low calorie diet may do more than trim your waistline, but may also help you maintain younger muscles as you age.  The study was conducted with rats, and the researchers found that the elderly rats on a calorie-restricted diet had the muscle mass and function of much younger rats.

The rats came from the US-based National Institute of Aging, where they were bred from a young age.  The rats ate about 40 percent fewer calories than normal from nutritionally rich foods.  The Calgary Herald reported that Russ Hepple, a University of Calgary physiologist, believes the muscles age slower on a low calorie diet.  Hepple said “It's the equivalent of an 80-year-old rat with the muscles of a 20-year-old rat.”


Previous research has shown that a low caloric diet can increase life spans by as much as 35 percent, when compared to other diets.  The new study shows that it can also maintain muscle function.

It is not fully understood why a low calorie diet helps aging muscles.  It may be because the diet preserves the function of the mitochondria.  Mitochondria provide the cells with energy as the animal ages.  The diet may help animals rebuild and replace their muscles. 

Hepple said “The restriction of calories is so severe it's impractical.”  He added that humans need to eat a healthy diet, refrain from overindulging and remain active to maintain their muscles.


The next step is to study how genes and antioxidants affect muscles.  They hope to experiment with gene therapy and see if this can have an effect. The current study can be found in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences.

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Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

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Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.

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