Biomedical

Calorie restriction diets, the microbiome and ageing. How to live longer.

 

Your body has a lot of microorganisms on and inside of it. Nothing to worry about, those microorganisms are essential, they help you digest food and they can even control your mood and appetite. This is called the microbiome.

Scientists have been very interested latelly in the effects of the microbiome to our health. According to many studies your microbiome has a great impact on you. But you also have a great impact on it. It is dynamic, it is changing based on how you behave and especially how you eat. You diet can change you microbiome in your gut. And it is impressive how big the effect of those changes is.

People think, and this is supported by experimental evidence, that calorie restriction can improve health and lifespan. This refers to a diet with limited calories, low fat, low carbohydrates etc. It is true that especially in mice those diets have shown interesting results. This has been suggested to be due to inflammation. Under an unhealthy diet we do damage to our bodies which leads to increased inflammation.

There is a theory that inflammation causes ageing, called inflammaging. There are evidence that support it and it seems reasonable, that sustained chronic inflammation even if it is little can lead to deterioration of health after years. Just like a car unserviced for years will eventually show signs of deterioration. So many scientists try to see what would happen if we reduced inflammation. Would this damage be reversed or at least stop?

A study published this year (2018) examined the relationship of a calorie restriction diet and the microbiome. Calorie restriction has been linked to reduced inflammation and thus improvements in ageing. This study showed that in this diet, Lactobacillus murinus , a gut bacteria species, thrives and expresses a prtP-encoded serine protease lactocepin, that is thought to have anti-inflammatory effects.

The study concluded: “Our study demonstrated that a strain of Lactobacillus murinus was promoted in CR mice and causatively contributed to the attenuation of ageing-associated inflammation.”

The fight against ageing has become increasingly popular and that is amazing. As we treat human diseases, we need to enhance our bodies, to learn how to maintain them so that they can withstand a prolonged lifespan with very late-onset or non existent pathology. Imagine living to be 80-90-100 years old without developing dementia, alzheimers, cognitive decline, sarcopenia, cancer, arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Just by treating your body like a car, fixing issues before they cause problems, maintaining it periodically.

Sources: Predominant gut Lactobacillus murinus strain mediates anti-inflammaging effects in calorie-restricted mice.

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