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Caloric restriction can be beneficial to the brain, study shows

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at VerticalNews Health — Studies of different animal species suggest a link between eating less and living longer, but the molecular mechanisms by which caloric restriction affords protection against disease and extends longevity are not well understood.

New clues to help solve the mystery are presented in an article published in the September issue of Aging Cell by scientists at the Center for Research on Redox Processes in Biomedicine (Redoxoma), one of the Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (RIDCs) funded by FAPESP.

The results of in vitro and in vivo experiments performed by the Redoxoma team included the finding that a 40% reduction in dietary caloric intake increases mitochondrial calcium retention in situations where intracellular calcium levels are pathologically high. In the brain, this can help avoid the death of neurons that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and stroke, among other neurodegenerative conditions.

Mitochondria are organelles that keep cells full of energy and regulate cellular metabolism.

“More than promoting the advantages of eating frugally, we aim to understand the mechanisms that make not overconsuming calories better for health. This can point to new targets for the development of drugs against various diseases,” said Ignacio Amigo, lead author of the article. The investigation was conducted at the University of Sao Paulo’s Chemistry Institute (IQ-USP) in Brazil during Amigo’s postdoctoral research.

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