Low calorie diet and the brain


neuroscience, SIRT1, sirtuins, life extension, mice, BRASTO, hpothalamus, brain, diet restriction

I am always very pleased to see new research results in the “misterious” area of neurophysiology of aging. One of the lastest is published in the July 28 issue of the . A group of scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine found that the mediator of diet restriction, SIRT1, helps mice survive when the food is scarce.

Researchers compared two groups of mice, one that had elevated levels of SIRT1 in the brain, called BRASTO, and a SIRT1-deficient group. BRASTO mice were much more active after fasting, also they were able to maintain their body temperature. Investigators link these findings to the role of SIRT1 in the hpothalamus region of the brain. During diet restriction SIRT1 enhanced the production of a specific neural receptor in the
hypothalamus involved in regulating metabolic rate, food intake and
insulin sensitivity.

This is the evidence of an indirect link between SIRT1 expression in the brain and life extension. Since SIRT1 seems to be one of the key mediators of responce to diet restriction, and diet restriction was shown to increase lifespan in different model animals, SIRT1 may contribute to life extension effect of low calorie diet. More information can be found here.

2 Comments

Filed under Article, Mechanisms of aging, Neuroscience, Science

2 responses to “Low calorie diet and the brain

  1. Would you say its more about calorific deficit, rather than low calorie?
    For example, if I am an active athlete, I can be consuming 5,000 calories daily, but still have a calorific deficit.
    This is then essentially a low calorie diet.

  2. Well, it depends on how you define caloric deficit.
    Caloric restriction is when one consumes about 30% less calories, than he normaly does.
    If one is an athlete, then the rule is still the same I guess, 30% less. I don’t know what the avarage calorie intake is in active athletes to provide enough energy. But my guess is that 5000 kcal is far too much, and this regime can’t be described as diet restriction.
    Anyway, I believe more studies are needed to distinguish the role of SIRT1 in low calorie diet and caloric deficit.

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