Experimentally imposed calorie restriction (CR) is shown to result in the most reproducible endpoint of lifespan extension in all animals models tested. In this presentation, the question of CR's effect on human longevity is reviewed by discussing data pertinent to the putative efficacy of CR on humans. Arguments are presented in support of this possibility based on CR's unique abilities to retard biological functional declines and to deter pathological processes, both of which are major targets of deleterious oxidative stress.
Caloric (or dietary) restriction (CR) extends lifespan and lowers risk for age associated diseases in a phylogenetically diverse group of species. Whether prolonged CR increases average or maximum lifespan or promotes a more youthful physiology in humans at advanced ages is not yet known. However, available epidemiological evidence indicates that CR may already have contributed to an extension of average and maximum life span in one human population and appears to have lowered risk for age associated chronic diseases in other human populations.
Calorie restriction is known to increase lifespan in many but not all species and may perhaps not do so in humans. Exceptions to life extension have been identified in the laboratory and others are known in nature. Given the variety of physiological responses to variation in food supply that are possible, evolutionary life history theory indicates that an increased investment in maintenance in response to resource shortage will not always be the strategy that maximises Darwinian fitness.
Caloric restriction (CR) is the only experimental nongenetic paradigm known to increase lifespan. It has broad applicability and extends the life of most species through a retardation of aging. There is considerable interest in the use of CR in humans, and animal studies can potentially tell us about the impacts. In this article we highlight some of the things that animal studies can tell us about CR in humans. Rodent studies indicate that the benefits of CR on lifespan extension are related to the extent of restriction.
Epidemiological studies propose that extension of the human lifespan or the reduction of age associated diseases may be achieved by physical exercise, caloric restriction, and by consumption of certain substances such as resveratrol, selenium, flavonoids, zinc, omega 3 unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins E and C, Ginkgobiloba extracts, aspirin, green tea catechins, antioxidants in general, and even by light caffeine or alcohol consumption. Though intriguing, these studies only show correlative (not causative) effects between the application of the particular substance and longevity.
Calorie restriction (CR), or a diet modification aiming to reduce the total intake of calories by 20%-40%, has been shown to increase longevity across multiple species. Recently, there has been growing interest in investigating the potential role of CR as a treatment intervention for age-related diseases, such as cancer, because an increasing body of literature has demonstrated a metabolic component to both carcinogenesis and tumor progression. In fact, many of the molecular pathways that are altered with CR are also known to be altered in cancer.
Nutritional requirements do not change appreciably with age among adults. However, with increasing age total caloric intake is gradually reduced, but among normal people living in the community dietary deficiencies are seldom found. Deficiencies in specific nutritional elements are found among poor and disadvantaged elderly people. The use of special diets or the ingestion of megadoses of vitamins do not improve health or prolong life.
Food chemical risk management needs, among other things, assessment of exposure. For dietary intake food consumption surveys are the data source to be used. One complicating factor in the usage of these data is the dependence of dietary intake estimates on the time frame of assessment. Central to this time dependence is the within-subject variation regarding the usage of food products and, as a consequence, the intake of chemicals. Within-subject variation is mostly as large as or larger than between-subject variation.