I have long had interests in ways of prolonging life. One of the weirdest seemed to me to be calorie restriction (CR) – basically you starve yourself by eating up to 30 per cent fewer calories than you usually do. The standard joke of course is that even if you don’t prolong your life you will feel that way. Apparently you do not get used to the consequent hunger.
It was known that the CR theory works with mice – they can extend their life-spans by 40%. Now the claims have been verified in long-term studies of primates as well. Rhesus monkeys have greatly reduced mortality when they are on CR and can expect 10-20% increased in lifespan.
The whole theory seems to be black-box – it seems to work but there is no sound explanation as to why.
The drug resveratrol (found in the skins of grapes and hence in red wine) mimics some of the effects of CR and experiments are proceeding as to whether it too can extend life. I’d certainly prefer to extend my life drinking much more pinot noir (often resveratrol rich) than starving myself towards a longer life.
The Calorie Restriction Society has been quick to endorse these new findings.