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Calorie Restriction May Delay Aging

Chronic inflammation is associated with age-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and dementia. A recent study suggests that restricting calorie intake by 25% may lower chronic inflammation in healthy, non-obese people and delay some of the effects of aging.

Participants in the study included 220 people who were randomized into two groups — a control and a test group. The test group was supported in switching to a high-satiety diet that included a 25% calorie restriction as well as customized behavioral guidance. They were also given multivitamin and mineral supplements to help prevent micronutrient malnutrition. Their calorie prescriptions were reduced three times throughout the two-year study in order to keep the 25% balance as they lost body fat and muscle mass.

The researchers measured inflammation and immunity biomarkers at the beginning of the study, at 12 months, and at 24 months. They measured cell-mediated immunity by administering three vaccines and a skin prick test to test antibody response, white blood cell count, and self-reported illness. They also measured inflammation by checking serum levels of inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, TNF alpha, and leptin.

Calorie restriction resulted in a 10.4% weight loss in the test group over the 2 year period. The test group also had a significant reduction in inflammatory markers after 24 months, but no difference in immune response compared to the control group. Weight, fat mass, and leptin level reductions were most pronounced at 12 months in the test group but significant drops in C-reactive protein and TNF alpha did not occur until the 24 month mark.

Researchers from Tufts University conducted the study. It was published in the July 2016 issue of Aging.

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