The ketogenic diet could delay the effects of aging
Researchers from the Gladstone Institute have discovered that a ketogenic diet that is low in carbohydrates and calories could reverse the effects of aging.
According to the researchers, one sixth of the American population is aged over 65 years. The risk of heart disease and other conditions associated with ageing is high in this population, and places a huge burden on the healthcare system.
The new findings, which were published in the journal Science, may help reduce the risk of age-related diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer.
“Over the years, studies have found that restricting calories slows aging and increases longevity, however the mechanism of this effect has remained elusive” said Dr Verdin, the paper’s senior author and director of the Center for HIV and Aging at Gladstone.
The researchers found that a chemical compound called β-hydroxybutyrate (βOHB), which is produced by human body during starvation, plays an important role in the process of aging.
Following a ketogenic diet or low-calorie diet can also induce the production of β-hydroxybutyrate (βOHB). The authors of the paper think this chemical could be the key to developing new therapies for the age-related conditions.
Ketone bodies, including βOHB, are considered to be toxic in high concentrations. The rise of these ketone bodies in type 1 diabetics for example can lead to serious life threatening medical emergencies.
However, the authors found that low levels of these ketone bodies may be actually beneficial by protecting the cells of the body from “oxidative stress”, thought to be a contributing factor in aging.