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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Calorie restriction may prolong life

Science has published the results of a study that aimed to assess the impact of calorie restriction on ageing and ill-health in monkeys. The study has also been reported in the general media (BBC).

Researchers have conducted prolonged studies (20 years) on two cohorts of monkeys. One group has been allowed unrestricted access to food while the other group has been provided with a calorie restricted diet (30% fewer calories compared to the former group) with additional vitamin and mineral supplements to avoid malnutrition.

In the calorie restricted group 63% of the animals are still alive compared to 45% in the unrestricted group. Age-related deaths cause by illnesses such as cardiovascular disease or cancers were three times higher in the unrestricted group. Such studies are unlikely to ever be conducted in humans but this model of 'healthy living' indicates that there are benefits.

Action: Clinicians may find this information useful when advising patients on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

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