A new study has revealed that cutting calories can be beneficial for aging muscles.
Calorie restriction has long been studied as a way to extend lifespan in animals. It has been associated with the ability to reduce the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases and to improve overall health.
Researchers also found that lower caloric intake provided a benefit to middle-aged, but not young, animals.
Now, researchers at Chang Gung University in Taiwan have found that calorie restriction could also be beneficial to muscles, improving muscle metabolism and mass at an important time, during middle age.
Calorie restriction has been thought to have a protective effect on muscle cells and might help cells better use antioxidants, avoid damage caused by free radicals and function well.
While studies that observed the effects of lifelong calorie restriction have shown mixed results in animals of different ages, recent studies have suggested that age might play a role in how CR affects individual animals.
The research team hypothesized that because CR could help reprogram metabolism, the most benefit could be reaped from aging muscles in which cellular metabolism was impaired.
The study is published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.