Groundbreaking Research Supports Calorie Reduction As Key To Healthy Aging


CREB1, a protein that is encoded by the CREB1 gene: image via wikipedia.comCREB1, a protein that is encoded by the CREB1 gene: image via It has long been known that calorie restricted diets have positive impacts on better mental and physical health, but now a team of researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome have discovered the molecule that is triggered by caloric restriction.  CREB1 is the molecule and, once activated, it triggers another group of molecules linked to longevity - the sirtuins.

The CREB study, presented in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, PNAS, is the first to explain the physiological effects of calorie reduction at the molecular level. Using laboratory mice as subjects, the Italian researchers found that if a subject lacked the CREB1 molecule, a reduced calorie diet had no impact on longevity.

Obesity is not only linked with diabetes and heart disease, it also contributes to diseases of the brain that are acquired as people age, diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.  CREB1 regulates brain functions, such as memory, learning, and anxiety control, which tend to be weakened by aging.

In case you are considering reducing your own caloric intake, the mice in the study were given a diet which consisted of less than 70 percent of the calories contained in their regular diets. 

In the meantime, Dr.  Giovambattista Pani, lead researcher, and his team will be working on developing new drugs to stimulate CREB1 "to keep the brain young without the need of a strict diet."

"... our findings identify for the first time an important mediator of the effects of diet on the brain," Dr. Pani said. "This discovery has important implications to develop future therapies to keep our brain young and prevent brain degeneration and the aging process. In addition, our study shed light on the correlation among metabolic diseases as diabetes and obesity and the decline in cognitive activities."