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Study shows diet that mimics fasting reduces biological age and disease risk

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A new study led by the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of California, USA, shows that cyclical fasting-mimicking meals reduce insulin resistance and liver fat as well as signs of aging in the immune system in humans. , which could result in a decrease in biological age.

The study, published February 20 in Nature Communications, adds to the body of evidence supporting the beneficial effects of fasting-mimetic diets (FMDs).

FMD is a 5-day diet high in unsaturated fat and low in total calories, protein, and carbohydrates that mimics the effects of a water-only fast while providing the necessary nutrients and making it much easier for people to complete their fast. Designed to make it easier. fast. The diet was developed by the lab of Professor Walter Longo at the University of Southern California Leonard Davis, the new study’s lead author.

This is based both on changes in aging and disease risk factors and on a validated method developed by the Levine group, which suggests that food-based interventions that do not require chronic diet or other lifestyle changes are possible. This is the first study to show that it is possible to biologically rejuvenate people. This is to assess biological age. ”

Valter Longo, Professor, Leonard Davis School, University of Southern California

Previous research led by Longo has shown that short, regular FMD cycles are associated with a variety of beneficial effects. They can:

  • Promote stem cell regeneration
  • Reduce chemotherapy side effects
  • Reduces signs of dementia in mice

Additionally, the FMD cycle may lower risk factors for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other age-related diseases in humans.

The Longo lab has previously shown that one or two cycles of FMD for 5 days per month can extend the healthspan and lifespan of mice fed a conventional or Western diet, but FMD is associated with aging, biological age, Liver fat and aging of the human immune system were previously unknown.

Reduced risk of disease and more youthful cells

This study analyzed the effects of diet in two clinical trial populations, consisting of men and women, each aged between 18 and 70 years. Patients randomly assigned to the fasting-mimetic diet underwent 3-4 month cycles and adhered to FMD for 5 days. Then I ate a normal diet for 25 days.

FMD consists of plant-based soups, energy bars, energy drinks, chip snacks, 5-day portions of tea, and supplements that provide high levels of minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids. Patients in the control group were instructed to eat either a regular diet or a Mediterranean-style diet.

Analysis of blood samples from trial participants showed that patients in the FMD group had lower risk factors for diabetes, including lower insulin resistance and lower HbA1c results. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a reduction in abdominal fat as well as in the liver, an improvement associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome. Additionally, FMD cycles appear to increase the lymphoid to myeloid ratio, an indicator of a more youthful immune system.

Further statistical analysis of the results of both clinical studies showed that FMD participants lost an average of 2.5 years in biological age (a measure of how well their cells and tissues are functioning, not their chronological age). It was shown that

“This study shows for the first time evidence of biological age reduction from two separate clinical trials, with evidence of rejuvenation of metabolic and immune function,” Professor Longo said.

The study was supported by lead author Sebastian Brandhorst, USC Leonard Davis Research Associate Professor, and Morgan E. Levin, and provides further support for the potential of FMD as a short-term periodical. It’s an achievable dietary intervention that can help people reduce their risk of disease and improve their health without making significant lifestyle changes, Longo said.

“Many doctors already recommend FMD in the United States and Europe, but these findings encourage more medical professionals to treat patients with higher-than-desirable disease risk factors and the interested public.” “This should prompt us to recommend FMD cycles in patients with improved function and younger age,” Longo said.


Reference magazines:

Brandhorst, S. other. (2024). A diet that mimics fasting causes changes in liver and blood markers that are indicative of biological age and decreased risk of disease. nature communications. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-45260-9.

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