Scientists identify molecule linked to anti-aging effects


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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.

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6 comments

  • Willi

    “during fasting that is acts to delay aging”???

  • Willi: I have fixed the sentence, which was incoherent as typed. My brain thinks one thing, but I find that my fingers often don’t agree. :)

  • Jwing

    I am a proponent of the benefits to fasting in particular as well as overall caloric restriction being beneficial and natural to our physiology and wellbeing.
    Bottom line: We humans are fortunate and cursed at having an over abundance of high fat and high sugar food which is literally killing us.
    Refined sugar, which doesn’t exist naturally, is the crack cocaine of food. It stimulates the same pleasure centers in the brain and is similarly addictive and ultimately increases the risks of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, athlerosclerosis, heart attacks, etc….
    The ancients knew the benefits of fasting to include: discipline, self control and greater awareness. Now it looks like the less food you burn over your lifetime is similar to maintaining an engine….slow idle is recommended; high octane red-lining will cancel the engine’s warranty.😁

  • “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”

    Caloric restriction, combined with optimal nutrition has been studied extensively for many decades. It is the only known method of slowing aging as measured by the extension of the maximum lifespan for the species being studied(50-60%). Many techniques demonstrate a lifespan extension when compared to other members of the same laboratory strain but no other method shows an extension when compared to the base species.

  • So a longer, unpleasant life or a relatively shorter, more comfortable one? Well, the Universe was designed by an Old Testament God.

  • Max

    Live longer by fasting to produce a chemical in my bloodstream? I have a feeling that most people will wait for the drug to be created. I’m sure it will have three pages of side effects.
    For some reason I’m having visions of “The Hunger Games” in my head where the elite in the Capital city would take a drug to throw up after feasting so they can go back to the table and eat more…

    J wing and nick;
    Both of you are right on the money, well Said!

    I’ve heard similar claims most of my life, I found no evidence to contradict it. When you eat, your immune system must protect you from the food, toxins, and bacteria that live in your gut.
    Fasting gives your body time to rest, recuperate and become strong. The body focuses on removing the build up of stored toxins cleansing your liver, tissues, blood and cells.

    Stomach acid can dissolve proteins and fats into amino acids that your body can absorb.
    Carbohydrates require insulin to digest the sugars into glucose, a form your body can utilize. Insulin is a fat retentive hormone that is an irritant to the cardiovascular system. This is why diabetes and heart disease are associated with each other. The insidious part is the promotion of sugar free drinks/food full of artificial sweetener. Your body produces insulin in response to everything sweet, even if it has 0 calories. As long as the insulin is in your bloodstream, you will not be able to burn fat. This is the reason the Atkins diet/keto diet work so well. No sugar, not even artificial. (Laboratories have detected an insulin response in some people just smelling sweet, or tasting Ethylene glycol) (anti-freeze)

    The most popular artificial sugar breaks down chemically in your liver to wood alcohol and embalming fluid Formaldehyde. I personally know three people who drink a lot of diet Coke which resulted in needing eye surgery to prevent blindness. My sister is one of them. Giving up Coke was the hardest thing she’s ever done, then she began losing weight and no longer needing her insulin for diabetes. (too much sugar, real or fake, creates an over abundance of insulin so the body rejects your pancreas to protect itself from this irritant that is killing you, it’s called insulin resistant/type two diabetes)
    Formaldehyde affects the brain and also causes cancer. It’s symptoms are similar to Parkinson’s disease. Michael J Fox is a perfect example of someone whom was never seen without his diet Coke. Tolerance levels are different for everyone. It’s nearly as dangerous as alcohol and Tylenol for your liver. Which kills more people accidentally then illegal drug overdose.

    Stomach surgery is a popular way to force starvation for losing weight. Five of my six sisters have had the surgery when dieting failed. The results are mixed depending on food intake self control. None need insulin anymore. Forced fasting is making them live longer and have a better quality of life. (One sister had 60 pounds of skin removed)

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