Cutting your daily calorie intake “slows biological aging in humans” by up to 3%, a new investigative study has shared.

Research conducted by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health has found that consuming less calories slows the ageing process by two to three per cent.

Slowing down the biological ageing process by this percentage reduces an individual’s mortality risk by up to 15%, the findings have reported.

During the Comprehensive Assessment of Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE™) intervention, the team of scientists used the algorithm DunedinPACE (Pace of Aging, Computed from the Epigenome) to measure the blood DNA methylation of 220 healthy participants.

Chief author Dr Daniel Belsky said: “Our study aimed to test if calorie restriction also slows biological aging in humans.”

Funded by the US National Institute on Aging, the CALERIE™ intervention is the first study to analyse the benefits of reducing your calorie intake.

“Humans live a long time. So, it isn’t practical to follow them until we see difference in ageing-related disease or survival,” said Dr Belsky.

He added: “Instead, we rely on biomarkers developed to measure the pace and progress of biological ageing over the duration of the study.”

Throughout the study, the researchers assessed the methylation marks on DNA from white blood cells.

The team looked at the PhenoAge and GrimAge clocks of the participant’s DNA to predict their biological age.

In addition, they examined DunedinPACE. Otherwise known as the speedometer, DunedinPACE predicts the pace of ageing.

Fellow author Dr Calen Ryan said: “In contrast to the results for DunedinPace, there were no effects of intervention on other epigenetic clocks.

“The difference in results suggests that dynamic ‘pace of aging’ measures like DunedinPACE may be more sensitive to the effects of intervention than measures of static biological age.”

He added: “Our study found evidence that calorie restriction slowed the pace of ageing in humans. But calories restriction is probably not for everyone.

“Our findings are important because they provide evidence from a randomised trial that slowing human aging may be possible.”

He concluded: “They also give us a sense of the kinds of effects we might look for in trials of interventions that could appeal to more people, like intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating.”

Joint author Sai Krupa Das said: “Our study of the legacy effects of the CALERIE™ intervention will test if the short-term effects observed during the trial translated into longer-term reduction in ageing-related chronic diseases on their risk factors.”

The results from this study can now be accessed in the journal Nature Aging.

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