A recent study has shown that even just the sensation of hunger has the potential to slow down the ageing process. This new research, published in the scientific journal Science, reveals that the mere taste and aroma of food can, in fact, overturn the benefits of dietary restrictions. Although previous findings have established that caloric limitations can significantly boost the lifespan of animals, this latest study has found that fruit flies can increase their life expectancy through hunger alone.
Researchers have discovered that hunger in flies, induced either through amino acid deprivation or stimulation of appetite-associated brain areas, can significantly extend flies’ lifespan. The remarkable findings indicate that the conventional nutritional manipulations researchers have long been exploring may not necessarily be required. Instead, the perception of inadequate food is shown to be adequate to achieve the benefits of life extension.
Using a variety of methods, the researchers were able to induce hunger in flies and study their feeding behavior. One method involved altering the amount of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acid molecules) in a test snack, which was followed by a free feeding session with yeast or sugar. The flies that consumed the low-BCAA snack exhibited a preference for yeast over sugar, indicating a need-based hunger. This behavior was unrelated to the calorie content of the snack, as the flies consumed more food and more total calories. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that flies fed a low-BCAA diet throughout their lives actually lived significantly longer than those fed high-BCAA diets.
Scientists then triggered hunger-related nerve cells using red light exposure. They discovered that the flies consumed twice as much food and lived significantly longer as compared to the control group. These findings suggest that an insatiable hunger drive was created in the flies, leading to enhanced lifespan. The results highlight the crucial role of hunger in lifespan regulation.
Although the study exclusively focused on flies, the mechanisms uncovered have the potential to regulate hunger drive in various species. The evidence of hunger’s adequacy in expanding lifespan demonstrates that motivational conditions alone possess the capacity to determine the progression of aging.
This discovery sheds vital insights into the significant relationship between hunger and aging, making it a prospective area of focus for future scientific research.
To view the original scientific study click below:
Effects of hunger on neuronal histone modifications slow aging in Drosophila