Cutting Calories and Eating at Right Time of Day Leads to Longer Life in Mice in Takahashi-Led Study

One recipe for longevity is simple, if not easy to follow: eat less. Studies in a variety of animals have shown that restricting calories can lead to a longer, healthier life. Now, new research suggests that the body’s daily rhythms play a big part in this longevity effect. Eating only during their most active time of day substantially extended the lifespan of mice on a reduced-calorie diet, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Joseph Takahashi (photo), PhD, and colleagues reported on May 5, 2022, in Science. The article is titled “Circadian Alignment of Early Onset Caloric Restriction Promotes Longevity in Male C57BL/6J Mice.” In his team’s study of hundreds of mice over four years, a reduced-calorie diet alone extended the animals’ lives by 10 percent. But feeding mice the diet only at nighttime, when mice are most active, extended life by 35 percent. That combination--a reduced-calorie diet plus a nighttime eating schedule--tacked on an extra nine months to the animals’ typical two-year median lifespan. For people, an analogous plan would restrict eating to daytime hours.
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