Physical activity needed in order to reap benefits of dietary restriction

July 2, 2012

Fruit flies on dietary restriction (DR) need to be physically active in order to get the lifespan extending benefits that come from their Spartan diet. If the same axiom holds true in humans, those practicing caloric restriction in hopes of living longer need to make sure they eat enough to avoid fatigue.

According to research at the Buck Institute, flies on DR shift their metabolism toward increasing and breakdown, specifically in muscle tissue. " is known to enhance spontaneous movement in a variety of species including primates, however this is the first examination of whether enhanced physical activity is necessary for its beneficial effects," said Buck faculty Pankaj Kapahi, PhD, who runs the lab where the research took place. "This study establishes a link between DR-mediated metabolic activity in muscle, increased movement and the benefits derived from restricting nutrients," he said, adding that flies on DR who could not move or had inhibited fat metabolism in their muscle did not exhibit an extended lifespan. "Our work argues that simply restricting nutrients without physical activity may not be beneficial in humans," said Kapahi. The research is published in the July 3, 2012 edition of .

The research also points to a potential target that could yield a drug that mimics the beneficial effects of DR. Lead author, Subhash D. Katewa, PhD, Buck Institute staff scientist, said flies genetically engineered to overexpress the circulating peptide AKH (the fly equivalent of glucagon in mammals) showed increased fat metabolism, spontaneous activity and extended lifespan even though their diet was unrestricted. AKH plays a critical role in glucose and . "Our data suggests that DR may induce changes in muscle similar to those observed under and that molecules like AKH could serve as potential mimetics for DR that enhance activity and healthspan," said Katewa.

"A better understanding of the dynamics of fat metabolism is needed in order to clarify its role in aging and disease," Katewa said. "These current results suggest that enhanced fat metabolism could help slow aging and the onset of age-related disease."

Explore further: Endocannabinoid signaling in dietary restriction and lifespan extension

Related Stories

Endocannabinoid signaling in dietary restriction and lifespan extension

May 11, 2011
There is no longer any doubt that dietary restriction (DR) extends lifespan. Many studies have shown that limiting nutrient intake extends lifespan in yeast, worms, flies and as well as postponing age-related diseases in ...

Recommended for you

A sodium surprise: Engineers find unexpected result during cardiac research

July 20, 2017
Irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—can have sudden and often fatal consequences. A biomedical engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis examining molecular behavior in cardiac tissue recently made a surprising ...

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

Engineered liver tissue expands after transplant

July 19, 2017
Many diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, can lead to liver failure. More than 17,000 Americans suffering from these diseases are now waiting for liver transplants, but significantly fewer livers are available.

Lunatic Fringe gene plays key role in the renewable brain

July 19, 2017
The discovery that the brain can generate new cells - about 700 new neurons each day - has triggered investigations to uncover how this process is regulated. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Jan and Dan Duncan ...

New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine

July 19, 2017
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of hepatitis C—a disease that affects nearly 71 million people worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated—it might be worth ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.