A Harvard study published in Cell Metabolism has revealed that intermittent fasting and manipulating mitochondrial networks may increase lifespan.
Mitochondria produces energy structures in cells. As we already know, the cells in our body decline in their ability to process energy over time which leads to aging and age-related diseases. The study found a causal link between dynamic chances in the shapes of mitochondrial networks longevity.
The scientists used worms as they live for only two weeks and can enable the study of aging in real time in the lab. The researchers found that when they restricted the worms’ diet, the mitochondrial networks were in a ”youthful” state. They also found that these youthful networks increased lifespan too.
“Low-energy conditions such as dietary restriction and intermittent fasting have previously been shown to promote healthy aging. Understanding why this is the case is a crucial step toward being able to harness the benefits therapeutically,” said Heather Weir, lead author of the study, who conducted the research while at Harvard Chan School. “Our findings open up new avenues in the search for therapeutic strategies that will reduce our likelihood of developing age-related diseases as we get older.”
“Although previous work has shown how intermittent fasting can slow aging, we are only beginning to understand the underlying biology,” said William Mair, associate professor of genetics and complex diseases at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “Our work shows how crucial the plasticity of mitochondrial networks is for the benefits of fasting. If we lock mitochondria in one state, we completely block the effects of fasting or dietary restriction on longevity.”
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