Date: 17 Oct 2013

Caloric Restriction to Moderate Senescence: Mechanisms and Clinical Utility

Abstract

As life expectancy in the United States continues to increase, the maintenance of independence among older Americans has emerged as a major clinical and public health priority. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify interventions that can maintain or enhance cognitive and physical function with the goal of preventing or delaying the onset of disability. To date, caloric restriction (CR) is the only method that has been consistently found to increase life span and delay the onset of age-associated diseases such as cancer and diabetes across multiple species. The promise of calorie restriction as an intervention to improve health and/or maintain function in humans, however, only holds if individuals are able to adhere to this intervention over the long term. Unfortunately, long-term adherence to CR regimens is notoriously poor, likely due to complex interactions between behavioral, physiological, psychological, and environmental variables. Thus, a current challenge for both researchers and clinicians is to identify methods that can assist individuals in maintaining CR over the long term.