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Energy, Diet and Aging

By: Peter T. Pugliese, MD
Posted: September 25, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Although there is a lot of information about the benefits of CR for lower life forms, the whole mechanism is nowhere near completely explained. Certainly there is some activation of the brain and hormonal interaction. In some way, the mitochondria are changed. For one thing, they increase in number per cell when the supply of glucose is low. It may be a simple switching mechanism involving a very complex biological chain of events. For example, mankind is normally programmed to eat and to reproduce. Take away food, and reproduction is no longer given a priority; survival is the goal of the body. How long will the famine last? The body must be prepared for the long haul; it must be lean and trim and strong to withstand the rigors of survival during hard times. All of this can be directed by the brain once the message is given, “No more pigging out, cut back and survive!”

Mitochondria play an important role in aging, along with the sirtuins as anti-aging genes, and at least four of the seven mammalian sirtuin homologs have mitochondria-associated functions. At present, CR is the best intervention known to extend mammalian life span, and CR is associated with an increase in sirtuin levels and in mitochondrial components.

What is the best way to use this knowledge to help your clients stay healthy? First, suggest that they reduce food intake, at least 25% less, perhaps up to 40%. Far too many calories are consumed for the body’s needs, becoming wasted energy that damages the mitochondria. Second, antioxidants should be taken along with the CR diet. To this, I would recommend resveratrol at 100 mg to 500 mg daily. Obviously, suggest a moderate exercise program—walking and weight-lifting are two effective methods. Also, encourage clients to set goals to learn something new each day in order to challenge their brains. Less television and more books. Health is about mind and body. Your skin will reflect this inner health with an outer glow that will proclaim, “I am with it.”

REFERENCES

1. JC Calister, Brief Review in Earth Science, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 188–189 242–243 (1993)

2. RE Leakey and R Lewin, People of the Lake: Mankind and its Beginning, Anchor Doubleday, New York, 252–253 (1978)