While the discount of calories is linked with a host of health benefits, a recent has highlighted a range of benefits that features a longer lifespan to a much lower chance of developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
A new study from teams led by Scripps Research Professors Bruno Conti, PhD, and Gary Siuzdak, PhD, highlights the critical role that body temperature plays in realising these diet-induced health benefits. Through their findings, the scientists pave the way toward creating a medicinal compound that imitates the valuable effects of reduced body temperature.
The research appears in Science Signaling.
Conti has spent years studying how and why calorie restriction results in better health, with the final goal of translating the findings into medicines that can imitate what happens naturally when a person eats less.
One consistent commentary is that when mammals consume less food, their body temperature drops. It’s evolution’s way of helping us conserve energy until the food is to be had again, Conti explains. It makes sense, considering that up to half of what we eat on a daily basis is turned into energy simply to handle our core body temperature.
Conti’s preceding work showed that temperature discount can increase lifespan independently of calorie restriction–and that these effects entail activation of sure cellular processes, most of which remain to be identified.
On the flip side, studies have shown that preventing body temperature from dropping can in reality counteract the positive effects of calorie restriction. Notably, in an experiment involving calorie-restricted mice, anti-cancer benefits were diminished when core body temperature remained the same.
“It’s not easy to discern what’s driving the really useful changes of calorie restriction,” Conti says. “Is it the reduced calories on their own, or the change in body temperature that usually happens when one consumes fewer calories? Or is it a combination of both?”
*Metabolites hold the answer
In the new research, Conti and his team designed an experiment that would allow them to independently evaluate the effects of reduced nutrients and those of body temperature. They compared one group of calorie-restricted mice housed at room temperature–about 68 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) to another group housed at 86 degrees (30 degrees Celsius). The warmer surroundings invoked “thermoneutrality,” a state at which most animals cannot easily minimize their body temperature.
The Siuzdak team, the use of a technology they developed called activity metabolomics, then evaluated the mice by measuring their metabolites, or chemicals released by the animals’ metabolism. Through this, they were ready to look for molecules in the bloodstream and in the mind that are changed by the discount of either nutrients or body temperature.”The data we collected showed that temperature has an equal or greater effect than nutrients on metabolism all the way through calorie restriction,” Conti says.
Notably, the team given the first comprehensive profiling of the metabolites that are changed by temperature discount.
Through a computing analysis of results from both groups of mice, the scientists were ready to prioritize which metabolites were most responsible for triggering changes to core body temperature. In a separate experiment, they also showed it is conceivable to manage sure metabolites as a drug to have an effect on body temperature.
Conti says further work to validate the changes induced by temperature all the way through calorie restriction will have to supply novel targets for future medicines he calls “temperature mimetics,” which could offer the health-promoting effects with no need to minimize body temperature.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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