Calorie restriction may help us to lead long, healthy lives. This fact came into light from the results of a large multicenter study conducted by the researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. The study reveals that a 25 percent reduction in calories can significantly lower the chronic inflammation markers without negatively affecting other parts of the immune system.
According to the paper published in Aging, if non-obese persons reduce their calorie intake by 25% over two years and maintain adequate protein, mineral, and vitamin intake. Then this sound practice can significantly lower the markers of chronic inflammation without negatively affecting other parts of the immune system.
As a nutritionist, you’ll probably be well aware that earlier studies that supported the above notion had mixed results. “This is the first study to examine these effects over two years on healthy, normal- or slightly over- weight individuals and observe that caloric restriction reduces inflammation without compromising other key functions of the immune system such as antibody production in response to vaccines”, says author Simin Nikbin Meydani, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts (HNRCA) and the director of its Nutritional Immunology Laboratory.
The researchers randomly selected 220 individuals after six weeks of baseline testing. To determine their total daily expenditure, the investigators included metabolic measurement tests. To evaluate the participants’ inflammation and cell mediated immunity markers their blood samples were part of the testing procedure. The researchers further stratified the participants by gender, site, and body mass index.
The test group participants received a high-satiety diet that restricted their calorie intake by 25% along with mineral supplements and customized behavioral guidance. The control group maintained their normal diet over the two year period. The calorie prescription of the test group was reduced three times over the term of two years in accordance with their weight loss.
At the end of each year, the investigators measured the inflammation and immunity biomarkers at baseline. The researchers also measured the cell-mediated immunity by white blood cell count, skin prick tests, antibody response to vaccines and self-reported illness. The inflammation was monitored using serum levels of C-reactive protein, leptin, and TNF-alpha.
As a nutritionist, the study results will be highly beneficial for you in your nutrition consulting field. The investigators found that the test group had a remarkable and constant reduction in the inflammatory markers. There was no immune responses in the control group at the end of the two-year period.
In the first 12 months, there was a reduction in the weight, leptin levels and fat mass in the test group. However, the levels of C-reactive protein and TNF-alpha were lowered at the end of the 24 months period. The experts are quick to point out that the delay suggests that long-term calorie restriction of at least 24 months influences other mechanisms that play a role in the reduction of inflammation.
You might advise your client that the calorie restricted changes may be the most robust non-genetic intervention to slow aging, improve the quality of life and increase our health span. Eating less may shift towards a healthy phenotype and prevents cancer, cardiovascular disease, and aging.
According to Co-author Luigi Fontana, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and Brescia University (Italy), maintaining a 10-15 percent calorie restriction is a good strategy for long-term health benefits.
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