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Ritual fasting: New study shows there could be some wisdom

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Published: March 26, 2018 5:07:30 AM

The scientific journal, Nature, reports that CALERIE, which had funding from the US National Institute of Health, involved a randomised, control tested trial that studied the effect of two years of caloric reduction on the metabolism of 200 non-obese adult human subjects.

ritual fasting, metabolism, calorie consumption, ageingResearch involving smaller animals with much smaller life-spans, including fruit-flies and mice, had revealed strong links between slow metabolism and a longer life-span. (IE)

A new study, detailing the findings of a multi-centre, two -year trial called CALERIE (Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy), says that restricting calorie consumption can slow down human metabolism that eventually could lead to enhanced longetivity. Research involving smaller animals with much smaller life-spans, including fruit-flies and mice, had revealed strong links between slow metabolism and a longer life-span. But experiments in humans and primates had proved difficult so far.

The scientific journal, Nature, reports that CALERIE, which had funding from the US National Institute of Health, involved a randomised, control tested trial that studied the effect of two years of caloric reduction on the metabolism of 200 non-obese adult human subjects. The study published in Cell Metabolism featured 53 CALERIE participants who were randomised into two groups: the test group of 34 subjects reduced calorie intake by 15%, while the 19 in the control group ate as usual.

At the end of each of the two years, each member of the two groups underwent a battery of tests to observe changes in metabolism and the change in biological markers of ageing, including damage from oxygen free radicals that occur during metabolism. The fall in the basal metabolic rate was greater than what could be expected as a result of the test group’s average weight loss; other markers of a reduced metabolic rate and damage due to ageing getting contained were also present.

In the 1990s, research had identified the genes and biochemical pathways such as the ones related to insulin sensitivity and the function of mitochondria that got altered with caloric restriction. Mice studies showed that subjects on restricted diets lived up to 65% longer than mice that ate sans restrictions. The findings may be evidence that there could be some wisdom to the ritual fasting prescribed in many religions.

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