Benefits of restricted diet on brain agingIvan Bare
Calorie Restricted Diet Delay Brain Aging
As medicine and our ability to treeat disease has improved, our longevity has improved as well. The deterioration of the body with age is, unfortunatelly, another story. Age-related neurodegenerative diseases are already the 4th highest disease burden in the western world.
Live Longer Stay Younger
According to the Portugese researchers, all that we might need is some brain cleaning. How? With a help of calorie restriction diet (a diet with low calories intake, without malnutrition) that can delay aging and increase longevity.
Brain Clogging and Aging
In their new (animal) study, Claudia Cavadas and her colleagues from the Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC) of the University of Coimbra in Portugal say that the key to this diet appears to be its ability to increase autophagy – the mechanism that recycles unwanted molecules in the cells. Authopagy cleans and prevents molecules clogging and malfunction in the hypothalamus. Feeding behavior and energy-balance are also regulated centrally by the hypothalamus, a brain area with a key role on whole-body aging.
Reshearchers also enlightened the role of the molecule called Neuropeptide Y (NPY) that controls this “cleaning” process. The finding raises the possibility that NPY could be used to develop ways to control aging and not only treat its consequences. Autophagy impairment is a major sign of aging, and any intervention that enhances autophagy is of potential interest to delay aging.
The prevalence of age-related health problems is becoming an important public health concern as proportions of older individuals in populations worldwide grow. With an increasingly aged population cognitive impairment is a major health and social issue. This and simmilar findings are essential for healthy aging, and quality of life in later years.
NPY and autophagy diminishes with age. Calorie restriction seems to work by increasing the levels of NPY in the hypothalamus, which in turn trigger an increase in autophagy in these neurons, “rejuvenating” them and delaying aging signs. Better understanding of hypothalamic neuronal autophagy regulation by NPY may provide new putative therapeutic strategies to ameliorate age-related deteriorations and delay aging. Till then, take care of your calorie intake!
Cláudia Cavadasa et.al.: Neuropeptide Y stimulates autophagy in hypothalamic neurons; available online at pnas.org