Today we will discuss whether the consumption of ketogenic diets has any noticeable impact on the effects of aging.
Ketogenic diets are low-carb and high-fat diets that force the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy though a metabolic state known as ketosis. In a study conducted recently by the Gladstone Institute researchers, it was unveiled that a ketogenic diet may not only help delay, but also reverse the aging effects.
The findings of this study were published in the ‘Science’ journal, and the senior author of the paper was Dr Verdin, the Director of the Gladstone Institute’s Center for HIV and Aging. According to this paper, the risk of aging related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, heart related problems, and even cancer can be reduced by following a ketogenic diet plan.
During their study, the Gladstone researchers found that the human body produces a chemical compound called β-hydroxybutyrate or βOHB while starving. The production of this compound can also be triggered by following a low-calorie or keto diet. According to the research team, this chemical may open up new avenues for the treatment of age-related conditions.
The study revealed that β-hydroxybutyrate not only serves as the primary energy source while fasting, but also blocks the enzymes that are responsible for promoting the oxidative stress, one of the significant factors contributing to aging. A series of experiments were conducted to understand the effects of β-hydroxybutyrate. While assessing the impacts of ketogenic diets in mice, it was found that a calorie restricted diet resulted in higher βOHB. This, in turn, blocked the effects of an enzyme known as histone deacetylases or HDACs. Blocking of this enzyme activates the genes Foxo3a and Mt2, reducing the oxidative stress and genetic damage responsible for aging.
The team is currently engaged in further studies to find out the impact of keto diets on heart and brain diseases.