Feeling hungry may slow down ageing process: Study
Just the feeling of being hungry can be enough to slow ageing and even the taste and smell of food can reverse the benefits of diet restrictions, according to a recent study in the US.
While it has been long understood that limiting the amount of food eaten can promote healthy aging in a wide range of animals, including humans, the study from University of Michigan has revealed that the feeling of hunger itself may be enough to slow aging.
This study demonstrated that flies induced to feel hungry, either by dietary changes or by stimulating specific neurons in the brain, lived significantly longer.
The research also identified that hunger prompts changes in the brain’s epigenome, which in turn affects gene expression, feeding behavior, and the aging process.
These intriguing findings drove first author Kristy Weaver, Ph.D., principal investigator Scott Pletcher, Ph.D., and their colleagues to examine whether changes in the brain that prompt the drive to seek food could be behind longer life.
The authors note that although the study was carried out on flies, it likely applies to humans. “There’s every reason to expect that the mechanisms discovered are likely to modulate hunger drives in other species.”