Animal testing studies demonstrate calorie-restricted diets increase lifespan by up to 40%. How about us?
Eight people unexpectedly tested this theory when locked into a bubble. From 1991-93, Biosphere 2 was a scientist’s Disneyland, a 3-acre ecological laboratory in Arizona which housed 8 different ecosystems. Completely isolated from the outside world in every sense, scientists recycled all their air and water and grew 100% of their food. Unfortunately, they experienced some logistical problems. For the first 6 months, the scientists food supply was limited to around 1,750 calories daily, just a little more than required for basic functionality. It wasn’t surprising that they lost 15% of their body weight on average, but what was surprising was that this metabolically stressful situation slowed their metabolism by reducing levels of insulin, lipids, glucose, and T3 thyroid hormones. So what does this mean to us?
Consider the population of Okinawa, Japan which has 4 to 5 times the average number of folks over age 100. What’s makes them unique? These folks grew up with a farming lifestyle and experienced a 20% reduced caloric intake as school children (when food was scarce in the wake of WWII) as compared to the mainland Japanese counterparts. The Okinawan’s diets were rich in nutrients, yet very low in calories. And?
Then there is the Dutch Överkalix genetics study. When researchers reviewed the lineage of 94 people out of a population of around 200 folks who were born in 1905, they found that grandsons of Överkalix boys who experienced a “famine” season just before puberty lived on average 6 years longer than the grandsons of Överkalix boys who had been exposed to “feast” during that same period. A Harvard University 2003 study may tie this all together.
“Interestingly, centenarians have lower blood glucose, insulin, leptin, free T3 and serum triglycerides than those who do not, live to be over one hundred years old. Therefore, the fundamental mechanism by which calorie restriction improves lifespan appears to alter these metabolic parameters”.
If this has gotten your attention, you might consider a simple form of fasting. According to Dr. Dale Bresdon MD, intermittent fasting is important to help enhance removal of old cells, optimize mitochondrial health, and reduce inflammation. This is especially important for individuals with compromised brain function and autoimmune conditions. The fast should be around 12 hours each night, starting around 3 hours prior to bedtime. Please continue to hydrate until bedtime.