How does what we eat affect our health span and longevity?

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How does what we eat affect how we age?

In a study from Columbia University, scientists found the answer to this relatively concise question is unavoidably complex.

While most analyses had been concerned with the effects of a single nutrient on a single outcome, a conventional, unidimensional approach to understanding the effects of diet on health and aging no longer provides us with the full picture:

A healthy diet must be considered based on the balance of ensembles of nutrients, rather than by optimizing a series of nutrients one at a time.

Until now little was known about how normal variation in dietary patterns in humans affects the aging process.

In the study, the team used multidimensional modelling techniques to test the effects of nutrient intake on physiological dysregulation in oldler people.

They analyzed data from 1,560 older men and women, aged 67-84 years.

The team identified key patterns of specific nutrients associated with minimal biological aging.

They found the optimal level of nutrient intake was dependent on the aging metric used. Elevated protein intake improved/depressed some aging parameters, whereas elevated carbohydrate levels improved/depressed others.

Optimal levels of one nutrient often depend on levels of another (e.g. vitamin E and vitamin C). Simpler analytical approaches are insufficient to capture such associations.

The results of this study are consistent with earlier experimental work in mice showing that high-protein diets may accelerate aging earlier in life, but are beneficial at older ages.

This finding therefore provides further support to the importance of looking beyond ‘a single nutrient at a time’ as the one size fits all response to the age-old question of how to live a long and healthy life.

The results are also concordant with numerous studies highlighting the need for increased protein intake in older people, in particular, to offset muscle loss and decreased physical performance associated with aging.

If you care about diet, please read studies about common sugar in American diet that may lead to fatty liver disease, and this diet could help reverse heart failure without meds.

For more information about nutrients, please see recent studies about green diet that may strongly lower non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and results showing this dieting method may improve long-term memory function.

The study was conducted by Alan Cohen et al and published in the journal BMC Biology.

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