1) Calorie restriction and periodic fasting life style
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Life extension and
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Periodic (Cyclic) fasting and caloric restriction can add 30 - 40 years to your lifespan


An End to Aging?
Dr. Clive McCay's discovery spreads around the globe

by: Arcady L. Economo, Ph.D., Pharm.D.

Can modern scientific knowledge help to slow down the process of getting old? Remarkable as it may seem, there are ways to do this already, and it won't be long before new discoveries are made. We tell you more about some of the scientific discoveries that have led to increase in the normal life span.

Early experiments on rats
80 years ago, an American scientist from Cornell University, Dr. Clive M. McCay, extended a rat's life span using specially tailored calorie-restricted diets. The average life span was increased by 50%, from 3 years to 4.5 years. Moreover, the researchers discovered that the diets not only extended the rat's life span, but also stabilized mental functioning and physical fitness. As a result of these studies, the same experiments were carried out on guinea pigs, fish, mice and single-celled organisms. In all these species, researchers observed that calorie restriction had a life-extending effect. One of the best outcomes of calorie-restricted diets was the delayed development of diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, heart diseases, and diabetes mellitus, among others.

Calorie restriction experiments on monkeys show a remarkable delay in the aging process
Just over twenty years ago, similar experiments on monkeys (our closest biological kin), were started. Research began in two US centers at about the same time. The first project started in 1987, under the leadership of Dr. George S. Roth of the National Institute of Aging. Tests on rhesus monkeys (average life span 35 years) and squirrel monkeys (life span approximately 20 years) were carried out at the National Institute of Aging. The second project, on rhesus monkeys, was begun in 1989 by a group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Richard Weindruch, William B.Ershler, Joseph W.Kemnitz and Ellen B. Roecker). In both cases, in the experimental group the monkeys' calorie consumption was decreased by 30% in comparison with those in the control group.

The tests have been going on for 20 years, and the results of the research show that monkeys following the calorie-restricted diet are much healthier, more active and function better. All indicators show that monkeys react to the diet in the same way as rats. Bio-markers of aging (there are about 100 such indicators), such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood-sugar levels, all look better in the reduced-calorie group.


Can we expect a similar life-prolonging effect in human beings?
To a significant extent, we can say YES, as human beings differ very little genetically from monkeys--by only 1%. And similar experiments have already been performed on people. A famous gerontologist, Professor Roy L. Walford (University of California) helped plan and also took part in the experiment called Biosphere-2. A group of volunteer scientists were isolated from the outside world for six months, and followed low-calorie balanced diets. As a result, men lost 12 kg, women 7 kg; the cholesterol levels in their blood went down, and so did blood-pressure (from 130/75 to 100/60). All the "biospherians" felt mentally and physically healthier.

It is found that if done properly, caloric limitation beginning in middle age can extend life span by at least 10-20%. When it became obvious that calorie-restricted diets can so significantly prolong life span, scientists decided to find out why.


Calorie restriction and the mechanism of aging
Gerontologists and other scientists interested in "why we age", agree that the nature of the aging process mainly involves the accumulation of specific damaging molecules. This damage is caused by so-called "free radicalsв" that are usually generated as by-products of different biochemical reactions in cells. According to the latest theory of aging, calorie restriction decreases production of free radicals in the cells and decreases mitochondrial damage. Mitochondria are the cells' energy factories that use oxygen and nutrients (glucose, lipids, proteins) to synthesize ATP (adenosine triphosphate) - the body's energy "fuel". Free-radicals are generated mainly in the mitochondria. Fortunately our cells have special antioxidant defense systems that catch and destroy free radicals. However, when too many free radicals are present in the cell, they damage DNA, proteins, unsaturated fatty acids and genetic material as well. Free-radicals mainly attack the mitochondria, and over time the production of free-radicals increases. Although our body has a sophisticated defense system against free radicals (special antioxidant molecules: coenzyme Q, superoxidedismutase (SOD), vitamin E, vitamin C, and others), eventually, with age, the free-radicals take over. The result is that we then start to show the typical symptoms of aging.

 
According to some anti-aging scientists, if a 20 year-old person adopts a low-calorie diet and keeps to it permanently, then active life can be prolonged to 120-130 years.

And now the most important thing!
On a calorie-restricted diet, it seems to be possible to delay the accumulation of free radicals in the body and decrease the rate of human metabolism. As a result, the human life span could be extended significantly (by dozens of years or more). That is why the calorie-restricted nutrition program will not only give us a leaner look, but also provide us with more endurance and energy. In 1995, a website by the Calorie Restriction Society (CR society) was created to unite people around the world interested in delaying aging. For more information, contact them on their website given at the end of this article.

Long and healthy life: but not for everyone
To extend your life span, it is important to fulfill the following requirements:

Item number one - budget structure. It would be very difficult to follow dieting if your family's budget is mainly spent on food. When one must make cuts in the budget, stress is probably one of the first things that can sabotage your healthy life and reduce the possibility of calorie restriction. It is very difficult to promote calorie restriction in "hungry societies". Yet it all depends on your inner self. Besides, fasting is known to be one of the best ways to enjoy a healthier lifestyle and reduce the risk of many diseases.

Item number two - the intellectual and educational level. Following a low-calorie program requires sufficient knowledge and intelligence. But at the same time there is no guarantee that material wealth will provide a healthier lifestyle: wealth brings its own problems.

Item number three - motivation: you can and should do it! To adopt a calorie restriction life-style will require certain strength and will-power from within yourself. How many times have you found yourself "snacking away" your stress? Perhaps you spend most of your time snacking instead of looking for other ways to overcome the stress. Try chewing gum or sipping some mineral water instead. Or just simply put your jogging suit on and go for a brisk run in the fresh air - a healthy move in itself!

Item number four - psychological support. One can often hear things like, how can I overcome hunger pangs? What if I am too weak? The way out is to maintain your emotional peace and support. It will help you achieve restricted eating habits more easily. Sometimes doctors, family members or friends who have experience in dieting can lend a helping hand.

If this information about life-extending methods still does not convince you, just look at the world religions promoting fasting as a universal method of life-saving!
 
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