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Scientists have identified a molecule produced by the body during fasting that then acts to delay aging.
In this study, the research team explores the link between calorie restriction (eating less or fasting) and delaying aging, which is unknown and has been poorly studied. The findings are published in the journal Molecular Cell.
The researchers identified an important, small molecule that is produced during fasting or calorie restriction conditions. The molecule, β-Hydroxybutyrate, is one type of a ketone body, or a water-soluble molecule that contains a ketone group and is produced by the liver from fatty acids during periods of low food intake, carbohydrate restrictive diets, starvation and prolonged intense exercise.
“We found this compound, β-Hydroxybutyrate, can delay vascular aging,” Zou said. “That’s actually providing a chemical link between calorie restriction and fasting and the anti-aging effect. This compound can delay vascular aging through endothelial cells, which line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. It can prevent one type of cell aging called senescence, or cellular aging.”
Senescent cells can no longer multiple and divide. The researchers found β-Hydroxybutyrate can promote cell division and prevent these cells from becoming old. Because this molecule is produced during calorie restriction or fasting, when people overeat or become obese this molecule is possibly suppressed, which would accelerate aging.
It appears that there is still a lot of work to create an artificially produced version of this molecule, but to know it exists is a significant discovery. For the body to produce it requires you to fast for at least 24 hours.