CALORIC-RESTRICTION MIMETIC would, if successful, enable humans to derive many of the health and life-extending benefits seen in animals on restricted diets--without requiring people to go hungry. Image: STUART BRADFORD
As researchers on aging noted in a position statement this past May, no treatment on the market today has been proved to slow human aging--the buildup of molecular and cellular damage that increases vulnerability to infirmity as we grow older. But one intervention, consumption of a low-calorie yet nutritionally balanced diet, works incredibly well in a broad range of animals, increasing longevity and prolonging good health. Those findings suggest that caloric restriction could delay aging in humans, too.
Unfortunately, for maximum benefit, people would probably have to reduce their caloric intake by roughly 30 percent, equivalent to dropping from 2,500 calories a day to 1,750. Few mortals could stick to that harsh a regimen, especially for years on end. But what if someone could create a pill that mimicked the physiological effects of eating less without actually forcing people to go hungry? Could such a caloric-restriction mimetic, as we call it, enable people to stay healthy longer, postponing age-related disorders (such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart disease and cancer) until very late in life?
This article was originally published with the title The Serious Search for an Anti-Aging Pill.