26 April 2022

Hungry microflora

Scientists have shown how a low-calorie diet slows down aging

Svetlana Maslova, Hi-tech+

The study reveals the details of this mechanism and explains the effect that scientists already knew about. It turned out that low—calorie nutrition changes the composition of the intestinal microbiota, which mediates many positive effects on the body - for example, slows down immune aging.

Scientists already knew about the positive effect of a low-calorie diet on the immune system, but did not understand what leads to such impressive results. Now they show for the first time that the effect is achieved by changing the composition of the microbiota — the community of gut bacteria. The findings of the study are published on the website of the German Diabetes Research Center.

Today there are about 2 billion overweight people living in the world. Obesity increases the risks of hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and also causes inflammation in the body, which weakens the immune system due to the accumulation of memory T and B cells. This process is called immune aging. In a new study, scientists decided to slow down this process with a low-calorie diet.

At the first stage of the experiment, an obese woman was transferred to a very low-calorie diet (800 kcal per day) for eight weeks. The scientists then transplanted her microbiota into sterile mice to accurately assess the exceptional effect of bacteria on metabolism and immunity.

Observations have shown that the altered microbiota improved glucose metabolism, reduced fat deposition, and also reduced T- and B-cell levels. "This indicates a delay in immune aging," the authors stressed.

Now they understand that the positive effect of a low-calorie diet on metabolism and the immune system is achieved by modifying the gut microbiota. Although the results still need to be rechecked, the findings open up opportunities for new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of metabolic and immune diseases.

The article by Sbierski-Kind et al. Effects of caloric restriction on the gut microbiome are linked with immune senescence is published in the journal Microbiome – VM.

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