May 9, 2018

Future anti-aging drugs could flip a “metabolic switch” to mimic fasting

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Fasting has been found to have a range of health benefits, and appears to slow down the aging process. Now, researchers from MIT have found that fasting for just 24 hours is enough to improve the regeneration of a person’s intestinal stem cells, which naturally declines with age. Better yet, with the metabolic switch identified, in the future the effect could be mimicked with a drug.

As with stem cells in all parts of the body, intestinal stem cells are in charge of growing new cells in the organ. They maintain the lining of the intestine, which is shed and replaced every few days, fight off infection and repair damage to the tissue. But as is usually the case, these stem cells get less and less effective at their job with age.

Previous research has found that caloric restriction, or continual fasting, has a profound effect on health and longevity. These effects have been seen in mice, rats, monkeys, lemurs, and other animals, and although human studies haven’t really been conducted, it seems that we could also benefit from harnessing the diet. So the MIT team set out to study the effects of fasting on intestinal stem cells.

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