Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Feeling hungry may slow down ageing: study

A representational image of a vegetable sandwich. — Unsplash/File

A new study suggested that feeling hungry can be helpful in slowing down ageing, even the perception of not having sufficient food can extend life, Independent reported.

According to the studies conducted earlier, they suggested that food restriction can cause the life span to increase.

The study published in the journal Science revealed that fruit flies’ life span increased due to hunger.

Researchers from the University of Michigan found that hunger, induced in flies either by depriving them of amino acid molecules or by stimulating brain areas linked to motivation to feed, increased their life span.

A co-author of the study Scott Pletcher maintained: “We’ve sort of divorced [the life-extending effects of diet restriction] from all of the nutritional manipulations of the diet that researchers had worked on for many years to say they’re not required.”

The hunger in flies was stimulated in several ways. One way was that researchers changed the amount of branched-chain amino acid molecules (BCAAs) in a snack food, and then later let the flies freely feed on a buffet of yeast or sugar food.

Fed on the low-BCAA snack consumed more yeast than sugar in the buffet than those fed the high-BCAA snack, revealed researchers.

Researchers also explained that the preference for yeast over sugar is an indicator of need-based hunger.

They also found that when the flies ate a low-BCAA diet for life, they lived significantly longer than those fed high-BCAA diets.

With the help of exposing red light, scientists activated nerve cells associated with the hunger drive in flies. Afterwards, flies consumed more food than those not exposed to the light. These flies also lived longer than flies used as a control.

Another co-author Kristy Weaver said: “We think we’ve created a type of insatiable hunger in flies. And by doing so, the flies lived longer.”

As scientists used this method only in flies, they believe that “there’s every reason to expect that the mechanisms discovered are likely to modulate hunger drives in other species.”

They concluded that “demonstration of the sufficiency of hunger to extend life span reveals that motivational states alone can be deterministic drivers of ageing.”

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