Diet change in old age can lead to longer life

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NEW DELHI: A new study has revealed the fact that reduced food intake helps both animals and humans to improve health in their old age which can prolong life.

The pattern of the diet must be established earlier in life in order to improve health in old age and extend lifespan. The results of the study were published in the journal Nature Metabolism.

But when do you have to change your diet to achieve this benefit in old age? Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, the Excellence Cluster for Ageing Research at the University of Cologne, the Babraham Institute in Cambridge and UCL have now shown that mice only become healthier if they start food reduction early and eat less before entering old age.

 The scientists conclude that healthy behaviour must be established earlier in life in order to improve health in old age and extend lifespan.

How can we stay fit and healthy in old age for as long as possible? Researchers into ageing have a simple answer: eat less and healthily. But when do you have to start and is it enough if you only manage to do this for a short time? To investigate this, researchers led by Linda Partridge, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, in an animal study have put young and old mice on a diet – with varying degrees of success.

Reduced food intake in old age has no beneficial effect

Mice live longer and are healthier in old age if they are given 40 per cent less to eat after reaching adulthood than animals who are allowed to eat as much as they want. The dieting mice are fed with food enriched with vitamins and minerals to prevent malnutrition. But if food intake is first reduced in mice first start eating less food when they are already seniors, the researchers observe little or no effect on the life expectancy of the mice. On the other hand, when mice are allowed to eat as much as they like after a period of reduced food intake, they have no long-term protection, so reduced food intake has to be sustained for mice to reap the benefits. Reduced food intake must, therefore, be implemented early and be sustained until the end of their lives to have positive effects on health in old age.