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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005 May;60(5):549-55.

Counting the calories: the role of specific nutrients in extension of life span by food restriction.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University College London, Darwin Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.


Reduction of food intake without malnourishment extends life span in many different organisms. The majority of work in this field has been performed in rodents where it has been shown that both restricting access to the entire diet and restricting individual dietary components can cause life-span extension. Thus, for insights into the mode of action of this intervention, it is of great interest to investigate the aspects of diet that are critical for life span extension. Further studies on the mechanisms of how food components modify life span are well suited to the model organism Drosophila melanogaster because of its short life span and ease of handling and containment. Therefore, we summarize practical aspects of implementing dietary restriction in this organism, as well as highlight the major advances already made. Delineation of the nutritional components that are critical for life-span extension will help to reveal the mechanisms by which it operates.

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