Take this interesting fact: over 75 years of research demonstrates that caloric restriction can extend lifespan and healthspan in flies, worms, and mice. But, is it the same for humans?
Recently, a Yale study confirmed the healthspan benefits of moderate caloric restriction in humans. Researchers also identified a protein that could be responsible for these benefits. A group of 200 participants reduced their caloric intake by 14%. Over the next two years, researchers investigated the long-term health effects of calorie restriction.
- After two years, calorie-restricted participants had less thymus fat and greater functional volume. The thymus gland is essential to immune function. For a typical 40 year old, 70% of the thymus is usually fatty and nonfunctional, resulting in decreased immune function.
- Positive changes in the gene expression of body fat were seen after one year: the protein called PLA2G7 was significantly inhibited.
- Reducing PLA2G7 in lab mice protects them from age-related inflammation,thymus gland dysfunction, and diet-induced weight gain.
- The researchers concluded that PLA2G7 is a driver of the beneficial effects of calorie restriction.
The Hearty Take
At Hearty we know that identifying driving factors for the benefits of caloric restriction increases the understanding of potential targets that could be used to improve the immune system, reduce inflammation and enhance human healthspan. We believe that similar research could lead to strategies used to manipulate genes, such as PLA2G7, to effectively implement the benefits of calorie restriction.