Metabolism and the body’s natural aging process are inextricably linked. As each of us keep blowing out birthday candles and getting a little older every year, our metabolism slows down a little more. When this happens, it usually becomes much easier to gain excess weight and much more difficult to gain muscle.
In many ways, it’s not difficult to say that the deterioration in metabolic health is literally the aging process started. People with poor metabolic health, especially as they age, are more prone to a number of conditions including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and stroke. In short, your metabolism largely determines the true “age” of your body, regardless of the date on your driver’s license. In fact, previous research goes so far as to conclude that obesity (a key indicator of poor metabolic health) has essentially the same effects on the body and cells as premature aging. (Although, to be fair, high blood pressure, or sugar, and too much HDL cholesterol are also linked to metabolic health.)
So what’s the best way to promote physical longevity and strong metabolic health? A groundbreaking new study published in Cell Metabolism compared the effects of diet to three different drugs believed to have antiaging properties on metabolic health and cell function.
Read on to learn exactly what the research team found about what’s strongest in fighting aging. Then don’t miss 3 Major Secrets to Living to 99, says Betty White.
This preclinical research, conducted at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Center, concludes that diet / nutrition is, in terms of both antiaging and promoting good metabolic health, compared to three drugs that are normally used to either treat diabetes or promote good metabolic health Prescribed to slow aging is much more beneficial.
In fact, the study shows that the drugs appear to actually “dampen” or weaken the body’s responses to various combinations of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
“Diet is an effective drug. At present, however, drugs are administered without regard to whether and how they might interact with the composition of our food – even if these drugs work in the same way and on the same nutrient signaling pathways as diet. “says senior study author and academic director of the Charles Perkins Center, Professor Stephen Simpson.
These results are preliminary and require further research. Still, the study authors say their work provides compelling evidence that proper nutrition can help much more effectively prevent, or at least “keep at bay, various diseases associated with advanced age and poor metabolic health, including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.” hold “as medication.
“We found that diet was far more effective than medication, which largely dampened rather than remodeling responses to diet,” adds Simpson.
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The aim of the project was to find out whether drugs or diet have a greater impact on nutrient recognition and various other metabolic pathways. In addition, the researchers wanted to answer whether diet or drugs interact with each other and increase or decrease the effectiveness from a metabolic point of view.
The three drugs examined in this study were metformin, rapamycin, and resveratrol. A group of mice were given up to 40 different combinations of proteins, carbohydrates, fat, calories, and drugs.
“Given that humans have essentially the same nutrient signaling pathways as mice, research suggests that changing their diet to improve metabolic health would get better benefits than taking the drugs we studied,” comments Simpson.
After the doses were administered, the researchers mainly focused on the rodents’ liver, as the organ plays a major role in regulating metabolism.
Another reason this research is particularly notable was because of the scientists’ use of the geometric framework for nutrition, which focuses on combinations of nutrients as opposed to individual nutrients. This enabled the study authors to evaluate the cumulative impact of proteins, fats, and more on aging processes, rather than just using protein or fat individually.
Related: The Best Foods to Slow Down Aging After 50, Say Dietitians
In fact, both calorie intake and nutrient content / combinations (proteins, carbohydrates) had a strong impact on the liver.
Notably, diet also had a major impact on cell function in general. Protein uptake affected activity in the cell’s mitochondria, where the cells produce energy. Cell energy is incredibly important as energy levels determine how efficiently cells function and ultimately create new cells. The development of new cells and overall cell function are strongly linked to the aging process of the body. This observation suggests that diet goes a long way towards keeping the body’s cells “young” and full of energy.
All in all, research strongly shows that a healthy, balanced diet is good for both the liver (an important metabolic organ) and cell health (an important aspect of the aging process), and offers more antiaging benefits than the three drugs tested .
“This is the only way we can get an overview of the interaction between nutrition, health and physiology,” says study director Professor David Le Couteur from the Charles Perkins Center and Faculty of Medicine and Health.
“We all know what we eat affects our health, but this study showed how food can dramatically affect many of the processes that go on in our cells. This gives us insight into how diet affects health and aging, ”he concludes.
For more information, see The Best Way To Stay Healthy In Old Age, Says A New Study.