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How Fasting Affects Aging | Telomere Research

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How Fasting Affects Aging | Telomere Research – Thomas Delauer

Fasting & Telomeres – Study

From the journal PLoS One, researchers used young mice – just three months old – and reduced their caloric intake by 40% before observing them until the end of their life cycle

The researchers found that a calorie-restricted diet lowered the telomere shortening rate when compared to mice fed a normal diet, which led to a 20% increase in lifespan

More specifically, they found that when mice are fed half their normal number of calories, they survive to either an extended lifespan of 32 to 45 months or – better yet – a maximal lifespan of 40 to 53 months

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0053760

Fasting & Telomeres – Study in Monkeys

Another study, published in the journal Nature, found that a calorie-restricted diet would produce similar results in rhesus monkeys

After an 11-year span, the calorie-restricted monkeys had lower triglyceride and insulin levels compared to the free-feeding controls – they also showed better neuronal activity, higher energy levels, and reduced body fat

In 2009, a full 19 years after the experiment began, the control animals began dying from age-related diseases, with a death rate of 37%

The calorie-restricted monkeys, on the other hand, had a death rate of 13% – for reference, rhesus monkeys typically live from 27 to 40 years

https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms4557

Why Does Fasting Increase Telomeres (Stem Cells)

There’s an enzyme called telomerase that can re-lengthen telomeres that are shortened during DNA replication

Unfortunately, not every cell in your body expresses telomerase, and as we get older the cells that do express telomerase express less of it

Over time, our ability to replenish our cells diminishes, our function declines, and we die – however, we have some cellular saviors called stem cells

Stem cells are the sentinel cells of our body – when our cells incur damage, stem cells swoop in and secrete proteins that initiate the repair process

When our cells die, they give birth to daughter cells that can replace the cells we lose through a process called differentiation

The great thing about stem cells is that they express telomerase, so they tend to maintain long telomeres

Additionally, cells that are born directly from stem cells likely have longer telomeres than cells that aren’t, based on the simple fact that they’re one cell division away from exposure to high levels of telomerase

However, we lose stem cells as we grow older, primarily through apoptosis and senescence – but the good thing about stem cells is that they aren’t a one-trick pony

In addition to differentiation in to other types of cells, they can also duplicate themselves through a process called self-renewal, creating more stem cells

These new stem cells also express telomerase, so their daughter cells will also have long telomeres

References

1) Why Fasting May Be the Key to a Long, Healthy Life. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://agingdefeated.com/why-fasting-may-be-the-key-to-a-long-healthy-life/
2) Caloric restriction has a protective effect on chromosomes. (2018, December 11). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130123133852.htm
3) Fasting Might Make Our Cells More Resilient to Stress – h+ Media. (2015, March 30). Retrieved from http://hplusmagazine.com/2015/03/30/fasting-might-make-our-cells-more-resilient-to-stress/
4) Caloric restriction reduces age-related and all-cause mortality in rhesus monkeys. (2014, April 1). Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms4557
5) Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Synergizes with Calorie Restriction to Increase Health Span and Extend Mouse Longevity. (2013, January 22). Retrieved from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0053760
6) Fasting, longevity, and telomeres: The regenerating effects of prolonged fasting. (2018, April 24). Retrieved from https://hackyourgut.com/2018/03/13/fasting-longevity-and-telomeres-the-regenerating-effects-of-prolonged-fasting/
7) https://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/fulltext/S1934-5909(14)00151-9
8) A Periodic Diet that Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance, and Healthspan. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413115002247
9) Fasting boosts stem cells? regenerative capacity. (2018, May 3). Retrieved from http://news.mit.edu/2018/fasting-boosts-stem-cells-regenerative-capacity-0503
10) Scientists find way to increase length of human telomeres. (2015, January 26). Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288515.php

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