Humans placed in metabolic chambers shown to be able to extend life and slow down ageing process
Published: 29 MAR 2018 10:54AM
Words by Huey Emmerich | Staff Writer
IT SOUNDS LIKE
a futuristic science fiction film, conjuring images of people being placed into some sort of high tech matrix like chamber full of medical equipment, special oxygen tanks and 80 years olds instantly being transformed into youthful looking go-getters. However, the reality is far more simple and achievable without the need for anyone to be locked into some creepy looking medical chamber.
Scientists have long been searching for clues as to how to coax the human body into slowing down the aging process and extend life. The most notable research is that of telomeres, little caps at the end of our chromosomes that help protect our DNA from succumbing to damage. It’s thought there is a correlation between the length of these caps and our age.
More specifically the age of our cells. It appears the shorter these caps, the older the cell and the closer the cell is to death, along with the person attached to the cell.
Now, the most comprehensive study of its kind has revealed that by slowing down your metabolic rate, you can slow down the aging process. This could also contribute to a person being able to extend their life.
“The CALERIE trial has been important in addressing the question of whether the pace of aging can be altered in humans,” says Rozalyn Anderson, who studies aging at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
The study was part of the multi-center trial called CALERIE (Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy), sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health. The randomized, controlled trial tested the effects of 2 years of caloric restriction on metabolism in more than 200 healthy, non-obese adults.
“The trial participants, aged between 21 and 50, were randomized into two groups: 34 people in a test group reduced their calorie intake by an average of 15%, and 19 people in a control group ate as usual. At the end of each of the two years, they all underwent a range of tests related to overall metabolism and biological markers of aging, including damage associated with oxygen free radicals released during metabolism. They were also placed in the metabolic chamber for 24 hours.”
“Few people would want, or be able, to restrict their diet as severely as the participants in the study. “But understanding the biology of how restricting calories extends life will allow us to find easier ways to intervene,” says Anderson.
The study shows that by restricting calorie intake, this has a direct effect on the metabolic rate of each individual which in turn can help to reduce the aging process, however, the biology behind this process is not fully understood and requires a great deal of further research.