From Science Daily:

Dietary restriction enhances the expression of the circadian clock genes in the peripheral tissue of fruit flies, according to research from the Kapahi lab at the Buck Institute. Publishing in Cell Metabolism, the researchers show that dietary restriction, induced by reducing protein in the diet, increased the amplitude of circadian clocks and enhanced the cycles of fat breakdown and fat synthesis. This improvement in fat metabolism may be a key mechanism in explaining why dietary restriction extends lifespan in several species, including the flies in this study.

The research also presents a tantalizing possibility for humans eager to take a drug that would allow them to reap the health benefits of dietary restriction without going on an extreme diet. When scientists genetically altered the flies to boost clock function the animals lived longer, even when they ate whatever they wanted to. On the other hand, disrupting the clocks, either genetically or by keeping the flies under constant light, made the animals irresponsive to the beneficial effects of dietary restriction.

“More than 10-15% of the genome is under circadian control, especially genes which regulate processes involving cellular repair and metabolism,” said senior scientist and Buck professor Pankaj Kapahi, PhD. “Every cell has a clock and the action of clocks in peripheral tissues, fat, intestines, kidneys — plays an important role in modulating metabolism and thereby mediating lifespan extension via dietary restriction.”

Previous work from the Kapahi lab showed that flies on a lifespan-extending Spartan diet exhibited an enhanced turnover of triglycerides.…

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