'Drastic' Ketogenic Diet Helps Mice Live Longer

Scientists are looking for molecular triggers
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2017 12:53 PM CDT
Ketogenic Diets Help Mice Live Longer, but Why?
Scientists are still trying to unravel how a low-carb ketogenic diet affects the body.   (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

All fat, easy on the carbs? At least for one particular breed of lab mice, the so-called ketogenic diet could improve various health metrics, including strength and lifespan. Per a news release, researchers report that two independent studies support the same theme: that a diet with very low to zero carbs prompts the liver to produce ketone bodies to power vital organs like the brain, and that this seems to help those mice on that diet live better and longer. That doesn't mean these findings will translate to humans, reports Phys.org, and following a strict keto diet requires "drastic" measures, per one of the researchers. The diet may also come with other health risks, such as obesity.

Currently, keto diets help clinically manage conditions like epilepsy, reports Medical Xpress. Exercise, too, create ketones, which the researcher adds "may be one of the mechanisms why it shows such protective effects on brain function and on healthspan and lifespan." In one study published in Cell Metabolism, researchers found this helped "extend" both longevity and healthspan. In the second, also in Cell Metabolism, midlife mortality went down while memory was improved in elderly mice. Medical News Today reports that researchers are now looking into whether a keto diet can have an effect on Alzheimer's disease, while it's already been linked to benefits in weight loss programs and cancer therapy. (Fruits and veggies appear to boost happiness.)

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