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Calorie Restriction

  • Novel Method to Suppress Appetite


  • By Steven V Joyal, MD, and Dale Kiefer

People today are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to achieve a radically extended healthy life along with significant reductions in body fat.

In response to reduced food intake, fasting insulin levels plummeted. Excess insulin functions as a death hormone that devastates virtually every cell and organ system in the body.  Insulin overload increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, blindness, stroke, Alzheimer's, and other age-related diseases.2-6

High Insulin Promotes Disease

Aging adults too often suffer from the pathological effects of insulin overload and excess fat mass. This natural appetite-suppressing nutrient could help great numbers of people enjoy the multiple health benefits documented in the recent Journal of the American Medical Association study. These benefits include reduced DNA damage, along with significant reductions in fasting insulin, total body weight, and fat mass.1

An increasing body of scientific findings reveals that excess serum insulin, also known as hyperinsulinemia, is a major health problem. High serum insulin promotes high blood pressure by impairing sodium balance.4,8  Prolonged exposure to excess insulin can severely compromise the vascular system.4,8  By acting as a catalyst in promoting cell growth, excess insulin also increases the risk for and progression of certain cancers.High insulin promotes the formation of beta-amyloid in brain cells and may contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease.5

Overproduction of insulin even contributes to prostate enlargement by helping to promote the overgrowth of prostate cells.9 Insulin resistance is associated with the development of abdominal obesity and health problems such as atherosclerosis and impotence. Furthermore, insulin resistance and obesity are risk factors for type II diabetes.4 Excess insulin (hyper-insulinemia) is predictive for type II diabetes mellitus.10

Perhaps the simplest way to evaluate the toxic effects of excess insulin is to look at its effects on human mortality. One study showed that over a 10-year period, the risk of dying was almost twice as great for those with the highest insulin levels than for those with the lowest levels. The study authors stated that hyperinsulinemia is associated with increased all-cause and cardiovascular mortality independent of other risk factors.6

Decreasing excess insulin by enhancing insulin sensitivity and improving the function of pancreatic beta cells (the cells that produce insulin in the body) is a crucial component in the quest for longevity. The best way to lower excess insulin levels is to eat less and lose weight.

Multiple Health Dangers of Excess Fat

As fat accumulates, it releases free fatty acids into the bloodstream, a process that promotes insulin resistance.11 As cells lose their ability to respond to insulin efficiently, insulin levels rise. Insulin serves to shepherd glucose molecules from the bloodstream across cell membranes and into cells, where the sugar molecules are metabolized for energy. As insulin resistance mounts, the body attempts to compensate by pumping out ever higher amounts of insulin. Meanwhile, excess glucose in the blood stream – a condition known as hyperglycemia – damages blood vessels and nerves, and may eventually cause problems throughout the body.12,13

In the past, fat cells were considered metabolic "dead weight," so to speak – inactive and unimportant to metabolism. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Fat cells (adipose tissue) release fatty acids and generate proteins and hormones that are associated with potentially deadly inflammation.14,15  At the current time, scientists have identified more than 100 proteins, fatty acids, hormones, and inflammatory agents that are secreted by fat cells.16

As fat accumulates, especially in the abdominal area, insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance worsen. Left unchecked, this can lead to type II diabetes and a host of other diseases, including high blood pressure, elevated blood lipids such as triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and sky-high insulin levels.

The combination of insulin resistance leading to high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, abdominal obesity, and high blood sugar (glucose) is known as metabolic syndrome.17,18  Elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure also contribute to the development of endothelial dysfunction, a critical step in the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

One of the most effective ways to fight the scourge of deadly insulin resistance and obesity is caloric restriction, the practice of voluntarily decreasing calorie intake while maintaining good nutritional status. This is the same strategy shown to radically extend life span in lower animals and primates. A number of human studies are ongoing to validate the effects of caloric restriction in human longevity.

The greatest obstacle faced by anyone undertaking caloric restriction and trying to achieve sustained weight reduction is the nagging sensation of feeling hungry. Most people give in to this craving and thus forgo the opportunity to reduce their risks for life-threatening diseases. Fortunately, pinolenic acid, a newly discovered phytonutrient from the Korean pine nut, increases food satisfaction and food fullness by encouraging the secretion of hormones in the gut that are intimately involved in appetite control.

Health Benefits of Caloric Restriction

By suppressing appetite, pinolenic acid may contribute to a successful caloric-restriction regimen. Scientific studies continue to confirm the life span-enhancing, disease-preventive benefits of caloric restriction. If you are not overweight but are interested in limiting your calorie intake to promote longevity and reduce disease risk, pinolenic acid can help enhance satiety and control appetite, critical factors involved in decreasing calorie intake.

In a recent study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), subjects were put on calorie-restricted diets for six months, after which they were assessed for known markers of aging, such as core body temperature and levels of glucose, fasting insulin, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S). Fasting insulin levels were significantly reduced in all the treatment groups, while DHEA-S and glucose (blood sugar) levels remained steady. On average, body weight decreased by 10% in the calorie-restriction and calorie-restriction-with-exercise groups, while body fat decreased by 24-25%. The subjects on a very low-calorie diet lost 13.9% of their initial body weight and 32% of their body fat. By contrast, body weight remained virtually unchanged in the control subjects.1

Core body temperature also fell in the calorie-restriction and calorie restriction-with-exercise groups. Absolute 24-hour energy expenditure and sleeping energy expenditure decreased in all treatment groups, and the effect was more than could be explained by changes in body composition (fat loss). The researchers concluded that caloric restriction induced a "metabolic adaptation" - that is, a reduction in the baseline rate at which the body burns fuel. This adaptation is desirable for the purpose of slowing aging. People seeking to improve fitness and lose weight often exercise vigorously in the hope that exercise will boost their metabolic rate. While this may burn calories slightly more rapidly, it also accelerates the production of dangerous free radicals. According to a prevailing theory of aging, oxidative damage at the level of the mitochondria is responsible for much of the inflammation and degeneration associated with aging.1

In the JAMA study, DNA damage decreased from baseline levels in all the calorie-restricted groups. Accumulating DNA damage is thought to contribute to aging and disease processes such as cancer. This provides further evidence of the potentially life-extending effects of caloric restriction. In just six months, caloric restriction favorably altered fasting insulin levels and reduced core body temperatures in all treatment groups. Fasting insulin level and body core temperature are considered biomarkers for longevity. Taken together, the changes in longevity parameters among all calorie-restriction groups suggest that long-term caloric restriction may extend life span.1 Conversely, mounting evidence suggests that excess fat (what scientists call "adiposity") is associated with accelerated aging.2


Although a reliable method of increasing longevity in countless scientific studies, caloric restriction is very difficult on a practical level over the long term, due in large part to sensations of hunger and food deprivation. Furthermore, given the well-known health dangers associated with excess body weight and fat, successful weight loss may literally be a matter of life and death for many overweight people.

Pinolenic acid from the Korean pine nut is a safe, effective nutritional supplement that can help overweight, aging adults by increasing feelings of food satisfaction and fullness. By stimulating the release of satiety and appetite-control hormones like CCK and GLP-1, pinolenic acid supplementation can suppress the feelings of gnawing hunger and deprivation that may sabotage weight-loss efforts.


Reprinted with exclusive permission of Life Extension.

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