A research team at the University of Minnesota says it has found how fasting, exercising and limiting caloric intake may boost the lifespan of people who regularly consume extra virgin olive oil.
This work does provide new insights into how nutrients regulate aging and we hope will lead to advances in drug development.
The scientists found that the beneficial effects of the monounsaturated fats are realized once the fats have been broken down, which is why fasting and exercise are essential to realizing greater benefits.See Also: Olive Oil Health Benefits
“We found that the way this fat works is it first has to get stored in microscopic things called lipid droplets, which is how our cells store fat,” the researchers said in a press release. “When the fat is broken down during exercising or fasting, for example, is when the signaling and beneficial effects are realized.”
“The effects we observed are due to monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), which can come from other sources, but olive oil is the fat source most enriched in MUFA,” lead researcher Doug Mashek told Olive Oil Times.
The team found a process through which a protein called SIRT1, or Sirtuin 1, a specific cellular regulator associated with stress control and longevity, is activated.
“In mice, SIRT1 promotes characteristics reminiscent of caloric restriction such as a decrease in the incidence of age-related diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and neurodegenerative diseases,” the researchers said.
“This work does provide new insights into how nutrients regulate aging and we hope will lead to advances in drug development,” Mashek added. “However, this work also highlights the importance of the interaction between diet and fasting, or potentially exercise, as things that can work synergistically to promote healthy aging.”
Earlier studies by the Minnesota scientists highlighted the beneficial effects of resveratrol — a compound found in red wine — including its effects on lifespan.
The next round of research at the University of Minnesota will focus on the inner biological mechanisms behind their new discovery to pave the way for new drugs or dietary regimens.
“We want to understand the biology, and then translate it to humans, hopefully changing the paradigm of healthcare from someone going to eight different doctors to treat his or her eight different disorders,” Mashek said. “These are all aging-related diseases, so let’s treat aging.”