Researchers have shown in a randomized controlled trial that the rate of aging can be slowed in healthy people by restricting calories. Calorie restriction treatment slowed the rate of aging as measured by blood DNA methylation in participants using the DunedinPACE algorithm (Pace of Aging Calculated from the Epigenome).
The treatment effect in DunedinPACE showed a 2 to 3% slowing of the rate of aging, which translates to a 10 to 15% reduction in mortality risk in other studies, comparable to quitting smoking.
The study randomized 220 healthy individuals to either a 25% calorie-restricted or normal diet for 2 years.
To measure biological aging in individuals, blood samples collected from trial participants were analyzed at baseline and again after 12 and 24 months of follow-up.
Because people live longer, it is not practical to follow them until differences in age-related diseases are observed. Instead, biomarkers were used to measure the rate and progression of biological aging throughout the study.
DNA methylation traces extracted from white blood cells were analyzed. These marks are chemical tags on DNA sequences that regulate gene expression, which are known to change with aging.
Primary analysis of DNA methylation data focused on three measurements, often referred to as “epigenetic clocks.” The first 2, the GrimAge and PhenoAge clocks, determine the biological age or chronological age when an individual’s biology would appear to be “normal”.
These measurements can be thought of as “barometers” that provide a static measure of the amount of aging experienced by an individual. The 3rd measure used was the DunedinPACE, which assesses the rate of aging, or the rate of biological deterioration over time. DunedinPACE can be thought of as a ‘speedometer’.
Treatment did not affect other epigenetic clocks compared to DunedinPace results. The difference in results suggests that dynamic measures of ‘rate of aging’ such as the DunedinPACE may be more sensitive to treatment effects than static biological age measures.
Although calorie restriction has been found to slow the rate at which people age, calorie restriction may not be for everyone. The results are significant, however, because they prove that human aging can be slowed down.
Want to use our images on your website? Right click on the image to paste the code