Animal studies have suggested a link between eating less and living longer, but whether a low-calorie diet can protect brain against disease and extends longevity are not well understood.
Now a study published in Aging Cell provide new clues to help solve the mystery. Researchers find that a 40% reduction in calorie intake can help avoid the death of neurons in the brain.
Neuron death is associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and stroke.
The study was conducted on mice. The researchers compared two groups of mice. The control animals were given food and water for 14 weeks and were overweight at the end of the experiment.
The other group received a 40% caloric restriction diet for the same period, and the researchers supplemented their diet with vitamins and minerals to avoid malnutrition due to the restricted amount of food.
Researchers found that the low-calorie diet group didn’t become underweight and remained healthy.
Furthermore, the researchers observed an increase in the activity of antioxidant enzymes the low-calorie diet group.
This suggests that this group had an enhanced capacity to manage cerebral oxidative stress, a condition that contributes to the onset of several degenerative diseases.
The current results are in line with many findings on the effects of caloric restriction on metabolism and cell signaling.
In the future, the researchers will focus on whether nutritional intervention can be used for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
Citation: Amigo I, et al. (2016). Caloric restriction increases brain mitochondrial calcium retention capacity and protects against excitotoxicity. Aging Cell, published online, DOI: 10.1111/acel.12527.
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