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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016 Jan;1363:5-10. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12834. Epub 2015 Jul 27.

Manipulation of health span and function by dietary caloric restriction mimetics.

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GeroScience, Inc, Pylesville, Maryland.
Nutritional Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


After nearly a century of rigorous investigation and testing, dietary caloric restriction (CR) remains the most robust and reproducible method for slowing aging and maintaining health, function, and vitality. This intervention has been applied to species across the evolutionary spectrum, but for a number of reasons, practical applicability to humans has been questioned. To overcome these issues, we initiated the field of CR mimetics in 1998 and have observed its development into a full-fledged antiaging industry. Basically, strategies that enable individuals to obtain the biological benefits of CR without reducing actual food intake can be considered CR mimetics, whether functional, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, or other. Some of the best known candidates include resveratrol and related agents, the antidiabetic drug metformin, and rapamycin and other mTOR regulators. While the mechanisms of action vary, these and essentially all CR mimetic candidates work through at least some of the same pathways as actual CR. While the entire field continues to evolve rapidly, the current status will be reviewed here, with particular focus on recent developments, the most practical relevance and applicability for potential consumers, and new strategies for the future.


calories; dietary restriction; health span; mimetics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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