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Calorie Restriction

December 2011

Long-term calorie restriction, but not endurance exercise, lowers core body temperature in humans.

Reduction of body temperature has been proposed to contribute to the increased lifespan in calorie restricted animals and mice overexpressing the uncoupling protein-2 in hypocretin neurons. However, nothing is known regarding the long-term effects of calorie restriction (CR) with adequate nutrition on body temperature in humans. In this study, 24-hour core body temperature was measured every minute by using ingested telemetric capsules in 24 men and women (mean age 53.7 ± 9.4 yrs) consuming a CR diet for an average of 6 years, 24 age- and sex-matched sedentary (WD) and 24 body fat-matched exercise-trained (EX) volunteers, who were eating Western diets. The CR and EX groups were significantly leaner than the WD group. Energy intake was lower in the CR group (1769 ± 348 kcal/d) than in the WD (2302 ± 668 kcal/d) and EX (2798 ± 760 kcal/d) groups (P < 0.0001). Mean 24-hour, day-time and night-time core body temperatures were all significantly lower in the CR group than in the WD and EX groups (P ≤ 0.01). Long-term CR with adequate nutrition in lean and weight-stable healthy humans is associated with a sustained reduction in core body temperature, similar to that found in CR rodents and monkeys. This adaptation is likely due to CR itself, rather than to leanness, and may be involved in slowing the rate of aging.

Aging (Albany NY). 2011 Apr;3(4):374-9.

Effect of chronic caloric restriction on physiological variables related to energy metabolism in the male Fischer 344 rat.

In the present study, a number of physiological and behavioral measures that are related to metabolism were continuously monitored in 19-month-old male Fischer 344 rats that were fed ad libitum or fed a caloric restricted diet. Caloric restricted rats ate fewer meals but consumed more food during each meal and spent more time eating per meal than did rats fed ad libitum. Therefore, the timing and duration of meals as well as the total number of calories consumed may be associated with life extension. Average body temperature per day was significantly lower in restricted rats but body temperature range per day and motor activity were higher in restricted rats. Dramatic changes in respiratory quotient, indicating rapid changes in metabolic pathway and lower temperature, occurred in caloric restricted rats when carbohydrate reserves were depleted. Lower body temperature and metabolism during this time interval may result in less DNA damage, thereby increasing the survival potential of restricted rats. Nighttime feeding was found to synchronize physiological performance between ad libitum and caloric restricted rats better than daytime feeding, thereby allowing investigators to distinguish the effects of caloric restriction from those related solely to the time-of-day of feeding.

Mech Ageing Dev. 1989 May;48(2):117-33.

Effect of chronic caloric restriction on the circadian regulation of physiological and behavioral variables in old male B6C3F1 mice.

The circadian rhythms of food and water consumption, the number of feeding anddrinking episodes, oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, respiratory quotient, gross motor activity, and body temperature were measured in male B6C3F1 mice that were fed ad libitum (AL) or fed a caloric-restricted diet (CR). The CR regimen (60% of the normal AL consumption) was fed to mice during the daytime (5 hr after lights on). CR animals exhibited fewer feeding episodes but consumed more food per feeding bout and spent more total time feeding than AL mice. It appears that CR caused mice to change from their normal "nibbling behavior" to meal feeding. Compared to AL animals, the mean body temperature was reduced in CR animals, while the amplitude of the body temperature rhythm was increased. Spans of reduced activity, metabolism, and body temperature (torpor) occurred in CR mice for several hours immediately before feeding, during times of high fatty acid metabolism (low RQ). The acute availability of exogenous substrates (energy supplies) seemed to modulate metabolism shifting metabolic pathways to promote energy efficiency. CR was also associated with lower DNA damage, higher DNA repair, and decreased proto-oncogene expression. Most of the circadian rhythms studied seemed to be synchronized primarily to the feeding rather than the photoperiod cycle. Night-time CR feeding was found to be better than daytime feeding because the circadian rhythms for AL and AR animals were highly synchronized when this regimen was used.

Chronobiol Int. 1990;7(4):291-303.

Calorie restriction lowers body temperature in rhesus monkeys, consistent with a postulated anti-aging mechanism in rodents.

Many studies of caloric restriction (CR) in rodents and lower animals indicate that this nutritional manipulation retards aging processes, as evidenced by increased longevity, reduced pathology, and maintenance of physiological function in a more youthful state. The anti-aging effects of CR are believed to relate, at least in part, to changes in energy metabolism. We are attempting to determine whether similar effects occur in response to CR in nonhuman primates. Core (rectal) body temperature decreased progressively with age from 2 to 30 years in rhesus monkeys fed ad lib (controls) and is reduced by approximately 0.5 degrees C in age-matched monkeys subjected to 6 years of a 30% reduction in caloric intake. A short-term (1 month) 30% restriction of 2.5-year-old monkeys lowered subcutaneous body temperature by 1.0 degrees C. Indirect calorimetry showed that 24-hr energy expenditure was reduced by approximately 24% during short-term CR. The temporal association between reduced body temperature and energy expenditure suggests that reductions in body temperature relate to the induction of an energyconservation mechanism during CR. These reductions in body temperature and energy expenditure are consistent with findings in rodent studies in which aging rate was retarded by CR, now strengthening the possibility that CR may exert beneficial effects in primates analogous to those observed in rodents.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Apr 30;93(9):4159-64.

Caloric restriction, the traditional Okinawan diet, and healthy aging: the diet of the world's longest-lived people and its potential impact on morbidity and life span.

Long-term caloric restriction (CR) is a robust means of reducing age-related diseases and extending life span in multiple species, but the effects in humans are unknown. The low caloric intake, long life expectancy, and the high prevalence of centenarians in Okinawa have been used as an argument to support the CR hypothesis in humans. However, no long-term, epidemiologic analysis has been conducted on traditional dietary patterns, energy balance, and potential CR phenotypes for the specific cohort of Okinawans who are purported to have had a calorically restricted diet. Nor has this cohort's subsequent mortality experience been rigorously studied. Therefore, we investigated six decades of archived population data on the elderly cohort of Okinawans (aged 65-plus) for evidence of CR. Analyses included traditional diet composition, energy intake, energy expenditure, anthropometry, plasma DHEA, mortality from age-related diseases, and current survival patterns. Findings include low caloric intake and negative energy balance at younger ages, little weight gain with age, life-long low BMI, relatively high plasma DHEA levels at older ages, low risk for mortality from age-related diseases, and survival patterns consistent with extended mean and maximum life span. This study lends epidemiologic support for phenotypic benefits of CR in humans and is consistent with the well-known literature on animals with regard to CR phenotypes and healthy aging.

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Oct;1114:434-55.

Circulating androgens in women: exercise-induced changes.

Physical exercise is known to strongly stimulate the endocrine system in both sexes. Among these hormones, androgens (e.g. testosterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone) play key roles in the reproductive system, muscle growth and the prevention of bone loss. In female athletes, excessive physical exercise may lead to disorders, including delay in the onset of puberty, amenorrhoea and premature osteoporosis. The free and total fractions of circulating androgens vary in response to acute and chronic exercise/training (depending on the type), but the physiological role of these changes is not completely understood. Although it is commonly accepted that only the free fraction of steroids has a biological action, this hypothesis has recently been challenged. Indeed, a change in the total fraction of androgen concentration may have a significant impact on cells (inducing genomic or non-genomic signalling). The purpose of this review, therefore, is to visit the exercise-induced changes in androgen concentrations and emphasize their potential effects on female physiology. Despite some discrepancies in the published studies (generally due to differences in the types and intensities of the exercises studied, in the hormonal status of the group of women investigated and in the methods for androgen determination), exercise is globally able to induce an increase in circulating androgens. This can be observed after both resistance and endurance acute exercises. For chronic exercise/training, the picture is definitely less clear and there are even circumstances where exercise leads to a decrease of circulating androgens. We suggest that those changes have significant impact on female physiology and physical performance.

Sports Med. 2011 Jan 1;41(1):1-15.

Exercise alleviates Parkinsonism: clinical and laboratory evidence.

The present review examines the putative benefits for individuals afflicted with Parkinsonism, whether in the clinical setting or in the animal laboratory, accruing from different exercise regimes. The tendency for patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) to express either normal or reduced exercise capacity appears regulated by factors such as fatigue, quality-of-life and disorder severity. The associations between physical exercise and risk for PD, the effects of exercise on idiopathic Parkinsonism and quality-of-life, the effects of exercise on animal laboratory models of Parkinsonism and dopamine (DA) loss following neurotoxic insults, and the effects of exercise on the DA precursor, L-Dopa, efficacy are examined. It would appear to be case that in view of the particular responsiveness of the dopaminergic neurons to exercise, the principle of 'use it or lose' may be of special applicability among PD patients.

Acta Neurol Scand. 2011 Feb;123(2):73-84.

Physical activity for health: What kind? How much? How intense? On top of what?

Physical activity improves health. Different types of activity promote different types of physiologic changes and different health outcomes. A curvilinear reduction in risk occurs for a variety of diseases and conditions across volume of activity, with the steepest gradient at the lowest end of the activity scale. Some activity is better than none, and more is better than some. Even light-intensity activity appears to provide benefit and is preferable to sitting still. When increasing physical activity toward a desired level, small and well-spaced increments will reduce the incidence of adverse events and improve adherence. Prior research on the relationship between activity and health has focused on the value of moderate to vigorous activity on top of an indefinite and shifting baseline. Given emerging evidence that light activities have health benefits and with advances in tools for measuring activities of all intensities, it may be time to shift to zero activity as the conceptual starting point for study.

Annu Rev Public Health. 2011 Apr 21;32:349-65.

Exercise like a hunter-gatherer: a prescription for organic physical fitness.

A large proportion of the health woes beleaguering modern cultures are because of daily physical activity patterns that are profoundly different from those for which we are genetically adapted. The ancestral natural environment in which our current genome was forged via natural selection called for a large amount of daily energy expenditure on a variety of physical movements. Our genes that were selected for in this arduous and demanding natural milieu enabled our ancestors to survive and thrive, leading to a very vigorous lifestyle. This abrupt (by evolutionary time frames) change from a very physically demanding lifestyle in natural outdoor settings to an inactive indoor lifestyle is at the origin of many of the widespread chronic diseases that are endemic in our modern society. The logical answer is to replicate the native human activity pattern to the extent that this is achievable and practical. Recommendations for exercise mode, duration, intensity, and frequency are outlined with a focus on simulating the routine physical activities of our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors whose genome we still largely share today. In a typical inactive person, this type of daily physical activity will optimize gene expression and help to confer the robust health that was enjoyed by hunter-gatherers in the wild.

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2011 May-Jun;53(6):471-9.

Fructose, exercise, and health.

The large daily energy intake common among athletes can be associated with a large daily intake of fructose, a simple sugar that has been linked to metabolic disorders. Fructose commonly is found in foods and beverages as a natural component (e.g., in fruits) or as an added ingredient (as sucrose or high fructose corn syrup [HFCS]). A growing body of research suggests that excessive intake of fructose (e.g., >50 g.d(-1)) may be linked to development of the metabolic syndrome (obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, insulin resistance, proinflammatory state, prothrombosis). The rapid metabolism of fructose in the liver and resultant drop in hepatic adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels have been linked with mitochondrial and endothelial dysfunction, alterations that could predispose to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. However, for athletes, a positive aspect of fructose metabolism is that, in combination with other simple sugars, fructose stimulates rapid fluid and solute absorption in the small intestine and helps increase exogenous carbohydrate oxidation during exercise, an important response for improving exercise performance. Although additional research is required to clarify the possible health-related implications of long-term intake of large amounts of dietary fructose among athletes, regular exercise training and consequent high daily energy expenditure may protect athletes from the negative metabolic responses associated with chronically high dietary fructose intake.

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2010 Jul-Aug;9(4):253-8.