T Nation

Metabolism and life span?

This wasn’t really a topic for the general nutrition board, so I decided to drop it over here:

Generally the only thing (nutritionwise) thought to possibly prolong your life span is to be a little hypocaloric (not starvation level) all the time, while still providing all necessary nutrients. There actually is a name for this nutrition plan, I just cannot remember it now.

Now, seeing that high metabolism is a desired goal both during dieting and perhaps also during bulking in bodybuilding, how do you see this affecting the durability of our bodies? We are basically accumulating a lot of muscle mass, putting a lot of nutrients through our bodies and keeping the candle burning bright all the time. ECA and others are basically designed to drive metabolism up.

I'm not trying to contrast the sedentary couch-potato approach with BB lifestyle. But what if you exercised frequently, kept yourself intentionally hypocaloric all the time, and supplemented with all the necessary stuff? Would this be better from longevity point of view? The first thing that pops into my mind is the lessened risk for cancer - the faster the turnover of the tissue is, the bigger the risk of something going wrong. Obviously, performance of a "starved" athlete cannot match well-fed one, but I'm thinking more from recreational lifter POV. You can get used to being hypocaloric - this is commonly seen in women getting on ridiculously low calories and commenting on not being hungry.

So what do you think?

Gramdma grew up on a farm,and the work was very physical (and plentiful), but she ate well cause they grew their own food. She’s kept up that physically demanding lifestyle for 83 years and is extremly physically fit. She even rides her excercise bike about 45 minutes a day. I believe that her lifestyle promoted a faster metabolism that was properly fueled (good balance between calories in vs calories out) that has served her well. She recovered as quickly from her recent hip replacement as someone half her age. Higher metabolism seems a good way to go for longevity if she’s any kind of example.

The original study was done in rats with an extremely reduced caloric intake, not just “slightly hypocaloric.” The fact is that if you tried to live under the same conditions you’d have little energy to do routine daily activities. Sure, you might live longer (MIGHT, this study was done in mice), but at what cost? I’ll take quality over quantity any day.

The studies have been donne on rats, monkeys and many other mammals. All them experienced and increase in life span of around 30%. According to the researchers, low insulin leves are, along with lower body temperature, one of the most important factors. This is possibly one more point in favour of lowish carb diets. It would be interesting to see what percentage of the increased life span can be attributed to low insulin leves.

This is a very interesting subject, in my opinion. I am currently negotiating going on a restricted calories and lowish carb diet, with weekend refeeds for a long period to see how I feel and how much progress I can make(muscle wise).

At this point of my life I’m not willing to sacrifice health for muscle gains anymore.

What about the lifetime marathoners who live to be 100 years old?

Don’t go too low on your food Restless. I need to lose some fat myself, but I don’t want to look like many of the people who go on those really low calorie diets. They all look like recovering concentration camp victims. Living to be 110 years old but losing the energy to mow the lawn at 45 to me isn’t living. I’ll definitely take quality of life over a really long life. My two cents is that if we all eat and exercise like T-men and T-vixens, we’ll all live longer than the common skinny-fat people. So please, don’t look like Brad Pitt!

Previous observations have shown that in human subjects with malnutrition and after prolonged fasting, there are characteristic changes in the force-frequency response, relaxation rate and power of muscle during a 30 s stimulus (fatigue). In order to characterize these findings under carefully controlled conditions, in different types of muscle and to correlate them with changes in muscle structure, composition and biochemical status, we developed an animal model in rats. In this model, nutrient restriction, both after an acute fast and after chronic hypocaloric feeding, resulted in: (a) loss of force during high frequency stimulation but preservation of contraction-relaxation characteristics during low frequency stimulation; (b) slower muscle relaxation rate at high frequency stimulation; © increased muscle fatiguability at high frequency stimulation. Measurements of muscle enzymes showed that acute fasting resulted in a reduced content of glycolytic enzymes, but preservation of oxidative enzymes, while chronic hypocaloric dieting resulted in a reduction in both classes of enzyme. There was no significant change in ATP, AMP or energy charge, or in intracellular sodium, potassium and magnesium levels. Creatine phosphate was normal in acutely fasted animals but low in those fed hypocalorically. By contrast, increased intracellular calcium and ADP levels were seen in both fasted and hypocalorically fed animals. These findings suggest that subtle disturbances of intracellular energy states with altered calcium flux may be of importance in the genesis of muscle dysfunction caused by malnutrition.

Hi all! Extremely good points that you all brought up. Obviously you knew more about this study (I didn’t know it was rats only, and severely hypocaloric). But I vaguely remember reading about some ppl living their whole life with their calculated calorie intake being slightly lower than “normal”, and there were some longer-than-normal lifespans. It was speculated that it was also because of the healthy diet they ate - veggies, healthy dairy etc. Genetics play a big role in this, obviously. And if you go too low in calories, then recovery and repair capability of the body is compromised, which cannot be good in the long run.

The quality vs quantity also occurred to me, but as I said - you can adapt to slight calorie restriction rather well. But on a starvation diet (such as Minnesota experiment), I agree that life is not that nice. (The phrase that was used was that people had an "pornographic" obsession with food while on experiment).

If part of the equation is low insuline levels, then it seems that BB lifestyle is actually _very_ good for you! This was something I was not aware of, I just thought that it was the lower metabolism that brought the benefits of longer life. But now that you think of it, high insuline levels are linked to other lifestyle diseases that certainly have effect on the life span. I'm on low carbs just now, and can say that energy levels are much more stable, compared to my GF who still eats traditional bread-pasta-bagels -food and dozes off after meals in the evenings.

Don’t worry, I’m not lowering it as much as them. It’s just something I wan’t to play around with. Amyway, I’m on a diet right now and will be untill August or so.

And fitone, who worte that and what’s the relation to what is being discussed here?

Fitone, if you’re going to quote somebody else (and it’s quite obvious you did), please give proper credit. Also, what relevance did that have to the discussion at hand?

For some reason I can’t spell properly in the AM…Weird.