Reduced calorie intake has been shown to improve health and lifespan in laboratory animals, and recent research shows these benefits may extend to humans as well.
In a study from Yale University, scientists found that moderate calorie restriction in people reduces the production of a protein called SPARC, which then reins in harmful inflammation and improves health in the aged.
The study follows previous research that identified key health benefits of moderate calorie reduction in humans.
In this study, the team analyzed data from participants who reduced their calorie intake by 14% for two years. The researchers then tracked the long-term health effects.
Specifically, the team analyzed trial data to identify molecules that are responsible for the positive effects of calorie reduction and could be targets for treatment.
Looking for genetic changes in participants’ fat tissue after one and two years, the team found that those who consumed fewer calories had reduced amounts of a protein called SPARC—or secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine—which has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and inflammation.
Because inflammation plays such a big role in age-related decline, the team wanted to better understand whether a pro-longevity intervention like calorie restriction works through SPARC in controlling inflammation and immune responses.
The researchers found that SPARC triggered inflammation by converting anti-inflammatory immune cells called macrophages into a pro-inflammatory state.
However, lowering SPARC production by fat cells in mice reduced inflammation, improved metabolism, and extended their health span as they aged.
The team says the findings could lead to the prevention of age-related decline.
They now have a better understanding of how SPARC affects inflammation and health span by acting on macrophages.
And it may be a useful target for inducing the health benefits of calorie restriction without having to actually alter calorie intake.
If you care about aging, please read studies about a new way to reverse aging, and these anti-aging drugs may protect older people from severe COVID-19.
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The study was conducted by Vishwa Deep Dixit et al and published in the journal Immunity.
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