Low-carb diet delays aging and promotes health

From Ergo Log

Like the researchers at McMaster University who want to know whether a combination of supplements can delay the aging process, researchers at Duke University are trying to find out whether a diet that is low in carbohydrates can lengthen life expectancy. Going by their publication in the Journal of Applied Research, you’d be inclined to answer ‘yes’.

Animal studies have shown a relationship between carbohydrate intake and aging, or more precisely, a relationship between the hormones that are activated by carbohydrates and aging. Genetically modified mice that don’t produce insulin receptor substrate-2 live longer. And the same is true for fruit flies that have had a dozen or so insulin-producing brain cells removed, or for worms whose glucose metabolism has been blocked.

Medical researchers at Duke University wanted to go a step further, and do tests on humans. They put 31 people, average age 57, on a diet for three months in which 20 percent of the energy came from carbohydrates, 20 percent from protein and 60 percent from fats. The subjects ate lots of vegetables that did not contain carbs and as little as possible red meat for protein, and they drank water and herbal tea.

In addition, the subjects took age-inhibiting supplements. Every day they took a multivitamin cocktail of all B vitamins and minerals, 2 g L-carnitine, 400 mg alpha-lipoic acid, 100 mg Q10, a spoon of fish oil, 300 mg magnesium, 300 mg potassium, 1 g vitamin C and 800 mg vitamin E.

The figures below show the effect of the diet on a number of parameters that are related to aging.

The subjects all lost weight, and their insulin and glucose levels went down. The researchers were particularly interested in the reduced insulin and glucose levels. When these two parameters rise it’s regarded as an indicator of aging. In fact, all effects of the diet are positive.

“A nutritional program recommendation originally designed to treat chronic diseases of aging led to weight loss and metabolic changes currently thought to be beneficial in reducing the aging process”, the researchers conclude.

J Appl Res. 2009 Jan 1; 9(4): 159-165.


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