Dr Bollmann, Skin Care Specialist, Anti-Aging Expert

There are many theories on the aging process. While most experts feel inflammation is the main cause of disease, caloric restriction has been known to decrease aging for some time.

The secret to ageing slowly? Ditch the carbs and cut back on calories

- Calorie-reduced diets affect activity levels of nearly 900 different genes 
- Genes have been linked to ageing and memory formation in the brain 
- Such diets previously linked with reduced risk of heart disease and stroke 
- But this is first study to show genetic impact on the memory and learning regions of ageing brains

Low calorie diets may slow the process of ageing by affecting the behaviour of hundreds of genes, say researchers. 

They found calorie-reduced diets stop the normal rise and fall in activity levels of close to 900 different genes linked to ageing and memory formation in the brain. 

An experimental study suggests for the first time that food restriction – particularly carbohydrates - may work by manipulating the function of a much larger group of genes than previously suspected. 

Dietary restriction has been known for decades to extend life in a range of animals. Dr Stephen Ginsberg, a neuroscientist at New York University's Langone Medical Centre who led the study, said: ‘Our study shows how calorie restriction practically arrests gene expression levels involved in the ageing phenotype - how some genes determine the behaviour of mice, people, and other mammals as they get old.’ 

However, he warned it does not mean calorie restriction is the ‘fountain of youth,’ although it will ‘add evidence for the role of diet in delaying the effects of ageing and age-related disease.’ 

Dr Ginsberg said the benefits of such diets have been touted to include reduced risk of human heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, but the widespread genetic impact on the memory and learning regions of ageing brains has not before been shown. 

He said previous studies have only assessed the dietary impact on one or two genes at a time, but his analysis encompassed more than 10,000 genes. 

For the study, female mice, which like people are more prone to dementia than males, were fed food pellets that had 30 per cent fewer calories than those fed to other mice. 

Tissue analyses of the hippocampal region, an area of the brain affected earliest in Alzheimer's disease, were performed on mice in middle and late adulthood to assess any difference in gene expression over time. 

The findings were presented today at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in Washington DC. 

Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘This study suggests that a calorie-restricted diet could influence a large group of genes in the female mouse brain which are associated with ageing, but it’s not clear whether these changes would translate into benefits for learning and memory in these mice. 

‘As we know, many people would find it challenging to sustain such a calorie-restricted diet, even if it was shown to be beneficial to brain health. 

‘It’s important to maintain a balanced and healthy diet, particularly into older age, and if people are considering making large changes to their diet they should consult their doctor. 

‘Current evidence suggests that the best way to maintain a healthy brain into older age is to not smoke, keep a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, drink only in moderation and keep high blood pressure and cholesterol in check.’ 

In my opinion, I feel the increase incidence of dementia in females is primarily due to estrogen deficiency. In women, the ovary stops producing estrogen, while this deficiency does not occur in males, as the testis continues to produce testosterone. The only argument about estrogen and Alzheimers disease is whether it decrease it 70 or 90 percent.

Women who can take estrogen should take it to help prevent dementia and Alzheimers. Without estrogen, every cell in the body shrinks. If there is a fountain of youth for women, it is estrogen replacement, preferably with bio-identical hormones (the same hormones that the body produces). In my practice, I advised patients to continue estrogen replacement until age 85, then come in and talk about it.


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