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Cell. 2015 Mar 26;161(1):106-118. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.020.

Promoting health and longevity through diet: from model organisms to humans.

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Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA; Department of Clinical and Experimental Science, Brescia University, 25123 Brescia, Italy; CEINGE Biotecnologie Avanzate, 80145 Napoli, Italy. Electronic address:
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, 50931 Cologne, Germany; Institute of Healthy Ageing and Department of Genetics, Environment, and Evolution, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK. Electronic address:


Reduced food intake, avoiding malnutrition, can ameliorate aging and aging-associated diseases in invertebrate model organisms, rodents, primates, and humans. Recent findings indicate that meal timing is crucial, with both intermittent fasting and adjusted diurnal rhythm of feeding improving health and function, in the absence of changes in overall intake. Lowered intake of particular nutrients rather than of overall calories is also key, with protein and specific amino acids playing prominent roles. Nutritional modulation of the microbiome can also be important, and there are long-term, including inter-generational, effects of diet. The metabolic, molecular, and cellular mechanisms that mediate both improvement in health during aging to diet and genetic variation in the response to diet are being identified. These new findings are opening the way to specific dietary and pharmacological interventions to recapture the full potential benefits of dietary restriction, which humans can find difficult to maintain voluntarily.

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