We believe “Stay healthy and live longer” is the ultimate goal for all of us. Scientists are proving that you can live longer by following a calorie-restricted diet or fasting. But what if you don’t want to restrict calories? The good news is you can get the same longevity benefits by taking a dietary supplement. Here we explain what the science says about the body’s longevity mechanisms and response to calorie restriction and dietary supplements.
According to scientific studies, calorie restriction or fasting, combined with nutrient-rich foods, is the most natural way to live longer. There is however, more scientific data that supports the benefits of calorie restriction on extending lifespan than fasting.
“Calorie restriction” is the most established intervention that has been shown to increase true lifespan across species from yeast to flies, from mice to monkeys. However, at present, there is no scientifically proven supplement, medication, or technology that can slow or reverse aging in HUMANS just yet.
That being said, if you are committed to improving your health and lifespan, many scientific studies are showing the way. I’d like to highlight a few that are promising.
A paper published in the journal Nature Communications in 2017, reassessed the data from two individual monkeys studied back in the 1980s. It concludes that “health benefits of calorie restriction are conserved in monkeys” and suggests that “calorie restriction mechanisms are likely translatable to human health”. It’s the closest evidence that calorie restriction can improve a human lifespan.
A recent study published in Communication Biology reported that by eating 30% fewer calories, the median survival rate of grey mouse Lemurs increased by almost 50%, when following the moderate caloric restriction.
In addition, a review paper published in the journal Molecular Aspects of Medicine showed that lifelong calorie restriction has a profound impact on age-related diseases including reduced risk of cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes.
All these studies pointed to the same conclusion, calorie restriction could be a method to improve a human lifespan, but it requires a long term commitment, which can be challenging for many people.
Supplements & Longevity
So, that brings us to the question: If you don’t want to restrict calories or stay on a fasting regimen your whole life, can you get the same longevity benefits just by taking a dietary supplement?
This is the question that scientists in the longevity field are seeking to answer.
Scientists are trying to figure out how the mechanisms and response of calorie restriction and fasting work and they are attempting to mimic it with specific molecules. They’ve found 6 powerful molecules linked to longevity.
The first two molecules are NMN and NR.
Research pioneered by Dr. David Sinclair has been focused on the correlation between the signs of aging and depletion in the activity of a protein SIRT1 and the molecule called Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). The SIRT1 is one of the seven proteins critical to DNA expression and aging, which can only function in conjunction with NAD+, a coenzyme present in all living cells. Dr. Sinclair’s research found in mice that Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) can boost NAD+ level, which in turn boosts SIRT1. The research also found that by orally administering NMN to mice, the exercise capacity in old mice improved by 80%. Numerous studies have demonstrated that boosting NAD+ levels can increase insulin sensitivity, reverse mitochondrial dysfunction, and extend lifespan. Both dietary supplements Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) and Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) have been used in several experiments to demonstrate their NAD+ boosting capacity. NR has more human clinical trials to support its results. Well NMN has only two clinical trials at this time, as discussed in our study review “new human clinical trial of NMN”.
The third molecule is trans-Resveratrol.
“Trans-Resveratrol” can emulate the longevity benefits of caloric restriction by activating the sirtuins pathway. An experiment published by Dr. David Sinclair and collaborators in the journal Cell Metabolism has demonstrated that mice treated with a moderate dose of resveratrol can increase mitochondrial biogenesis and function, AMPK activation, and increase NAD+ levels in skeletal muscle. This study put resveratrol in a very promising position to promote longevity benefits in humans. Of course, the claim of longevity still has to be substantiated by human clinical trials. But, there are clinical trials that have demonstrated resveratrol’s bioavailability, safety, and benefits such as the ability to slow down cognitive decline as discussed in our study review video “resveratrol helps to preserve brain integrity in humans”.
Recent research has shown that calorie restriction can prevent the accumulation of senescent cells (aka zombie cells) in both mice and humans. Three molecules have shown efficacy in the removal of senescent cells promoting the same health benefit of calorie restriction. They are “dasatinib, Quercetin, and Fisetin”
As described in the paper “Caloric restriction and cellular senescence” published in the Mechanisms of Ageing and Development journal, senescent cells are implicated in several biological functions, from embryogenesis to aging. Excessive accumulation of senescent cells is associated with the decline of regenerative capacity and chronic inflammation. The removal of senescent cells is sufficient to delay several pathologies and promote health span. A study published recently in the journal EBioMedicine has demonstrated for the first time that a three-day administration of dasatinib in conjunction with quercetin decreases senescent cells in humans aged 55-to-79 years-old.
I’ve given you a lot to think about today. The bottom line is that calorie restriction is the simplest, natural way to access your body’s biological longevity mechanism. If you don’t want to restrict calories, dietary supplements such as NMN, NR, resveratrol, quercetin, and fisetin have successfully demonstrated the ability to mimic the longevity benefits of calorie restriction.