If anyone else gets a chance to listen to the interview (~40 minutes), I recommend it. It’s with Greg Critser, author of the book Eternity Soup: Inside the Quest to End Aging.
Aging/Anti-Aging is a topic of much interest to people, for obvious reasons. It is also a hot topic in science among researchers. Why?
1) We now know that aging can be slowed.
2) We know that “aging” is not universal across all living beings. One of the main reasons humans die is because our immune system stops functioning.
A number of species do not really age, but rather, ultimately die because of predation or infectious disease. For example, we know the pacific rockfish lives at least 200 years and their immune system remains intact.
(photo credit here)
Critser talks about the Caloric Restriction Society -- people who eat 30-40% fewer calories than would normally be consumed at a meal. The theory for why caloric restriction works is that it lowers growth hormone over time, thus re-channeling energy from growth and development into body maintenance (this is in contradiction to the anti-aging industry selling growth hormone to prevent aging).
Critser was skeptical of this caloric restriction idea, saying the only evidence for this is based on animal studies. The data for humans just doesn’t exist yet.
I agree it would be nice to have evidence in humans. But I am also wondering how long it will take to get that evidence? We may not have it until these human experimenters’ lifetimes are over. And by then, non-members of the “Caloric Restriction Society” may already be dead! Maybe animal studies are the best we can rely on for now to make our own life-decisions. At least future generations will benefit from human evidence that comes along.
There was a caller from the Caloric Restriction Society (who seemed a bit miffed at Critser) who said that actually, there is already evidence for benefits of caloric restriction in humans – improvements in carotid plaque, cholesterol, heart elasticity, and endocrinological changes.
When asked, the caller stated that he eats ~1800 calories/day.
Wait, 1800 calories/day doesn’t seem too restrictive??