A study at Tel Aviv University suggests that periods of fasting or starvation may significantly reduce the lifespans of both children and their male descendants. A number of epidemiological studies have tried to propose that periodic fasting, like caloric restriction, may slow aging and hence increase lifespans. But, there also seems to be no evidence showing ‘even moderate caloric restriction may not extend but, on the contrary, can shorten the human lifespan,’ says the study’s lead researcher, Eugene Kobyliansky of TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine.
In the study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the team evaluated telomere lengths of survivors of a mass famine that took place in the early 1920s in Chuvashia, a rural area in the mid-Volga region of Russia. And, they were able to make three major discoveries:
- Men born after 1923 after the mass famine ended were found to have shorter leukocyte telomeres than in men born before 1922
- There was a stable inheritance of shorter telomeres by men born in ensuing generations; and
- There was no correlation between shorter telomeres and women born before or after the event.
Kobyliansky said the study while demonstrating that starvation has the potential to shorten telomere length, raises questions such as – “Does starvation exert a stronger effect on telomere length in the reproductive cells of adults than in the leukocytes of children? Is starvation-induced telomere shortening a sex-dependent phenomenon? And would fasting regimens exerting beneficial effects be accompanied by telomere shortening in descendants?”
Researchers are currently working on to conduct in vivo studies to answer these and other questions.
- Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University
- Image via A Child’s Hope Int’l
I am not a fan of studies about diet and nutrition. There are way too many factors that can’t accurately be judged related to the science of nutrition under terms that we would consider humane.
Obviously, starvation is very unhealthy. That being said, I personally believe the volumes of evidence regarding the value of intermittent fasting make a lot of sense. I try to have one 24-hour fast each week. I believe doing so gives my body the time and resources to fix itself, because it’s not spending time digesting.
The only take away in this for me is Dieting is bad!
Yeah, it’s basically like punishing oneself.