The process of becoming older is known as aging. It represents the collection of changes in various physical and biological aspects of an individual over time (Bowen et al., 2014). As aging progresses, the body may become weaker and more susceptible to various kinds of diseases, however, knowledge and wisdom may increase. Aging is identified as the greatest risk factor that can cause many of the human diseases (Dilin et al., 2014). Each day, of the approximate 150,000 deaths that take place, two thirds are due to age related causes. Humans are capable of controlling and manipulating the environment for the betterment of survival. However, avoiding aging altogether has been far from our reach.
Researchers are barely scratching the surface of identifying the biological basis for aging. Among what is known, there are two factors that influence aging. They are known as programmed and damage related factors. Programmed factors are the ones that follow a specific pattern. In other words, these follow a specific biological timetable. This is the genetic aspect related to aging. Damage related factors are those events that cause damage from the internal and surrounding environment (Shmookler et al., 2009). Even though not many studies have proven results for stopping the aging process or breakthroughs on immortality, caloric restriction has been identified as a proven method to regulate aging.
During 1934, it was first discovered that calorie restriction was capable of extending 50% of the lifespan in lab rats (McCay et al., 1935). This discovery paved the way for a multitude of follow-up studies on how aging can be slowed down with specific methods. These studies were based on a variety of species which included rats, mice, fish, worms and yeast. Studies based on calorie restriction in monkeys has also shown that the mortality rates are lower in calorie restricted test animals (Kemnitz et al., 1993).
In addition, these studies show a decrease in body temperatures and the concentration of insulin. Both these traits are identified as factors that promote longevity in rodents. In addition, calorie restricted diets show an increase in dehydroepiandrosterone, which is suspected to be a marker of longevity in humans, however it is not consistently observed (Mazat et al., 2001).
This process is identified as the most effective dietary intervention that is capable of increasing the healthy lifespan of various organisms from unicellular to primates. This can be explained from an evolutionary standpoint. For many years until now, food was not available as abundantly as it is today. Reduction in food intake triggers responses of the body and prepares it for survival during shortages of food by making various hormonal changes and metabolic changes. However, this should be done right in order to avoid various negative effects such as malnutrition. Reducing the total number of calories via intermittent or periodic caloric restriction methods while also making sure that the recommended daily amounts of minerals and nutrients are included in the diet have the potential to provide a noticeable increase in lifespan with minimum adverse effects.
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