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"The Benefits of Caloric Restriction Without the Actual Restricting"
Why can’t we live forever? Some animals do. And I’m not talking about some 200 year old whale
or even a thousand year old tree. I’m talking about immortal. There are actually species that
apparently don’t age and could technically go on forever - and why not?
In a sense, humans are immortal in that a few of our cells live on - *** or egg cells lucky enough
to find each other. Each of our kids grow out of one of our cells, and that alone - the fact that a single
cell can grow into person should make, in comparison, the notion of keeping our bodies going
indefinitely seem biologically trivial. Well it’s certainly a hot research topic.
Much has focused on the role of DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone, the most abundant steroid hormone
in the human body, whose levels drop significantly as we age. It is a cortisol antagonist, meaning that it
helps counteract the effects of stress. It appears to rejuvenate female fertility, and most importantly,
appears to be a strong predictor of longevity. In fact, one of the ways caloric restriction appears to extend
the lifespan of many animals may be the upregulation of DHEA. So, no surprise,
it is sold as a "fountain of youth" over-the-counter supplement, raising all sorts of concerns about
safety, side effects, “and the lack of quality control in this increasingly financially rewarding business.”
For example, some supplements just totally lie and have no DHEA in them, and other's have
significantly more than the claimed dose. And so for this and other reasons taking DHEA supplements
is recommended against. But are there natural ways to boost levels of this hormone?
Well, we’ve known a number of individual dietary components, like fiber intake, are associated with better
levels so why not just put all the dietary components together?
“Short-Term Impact of a Lactovegetarian Diet.” So, after just 5 days on an egg-free vegetarian diet,
blood levels of DHEA rose about 20% compared to the meat diets, and it’s interesting why.
It wasn’t necessarily because they were making more, producing more of it, but instead they were losing less.
The bodies of those eating vegetarian appear to hold onto it, which is normally something you only see
in fasting. But these were all isocaloric diets, meaning same calories in both diets, so by eating
vegetarian, one may be able to mimic the effects of caloric restriction,
but without walking around starving all the time.