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Circadian rhythms in 2022

Energy intake at the intersection of the clock and ageing

Calorie restriction and timed dietary intake are two approaches known to increase lifespan or delay age-associated diseases. New studies reveal the importance of the ‘how much’ and ‘when’ of dietary intake in ageing modulation and collectively demonstrate how protection of the internal clock by diet can delay the ageing process.

Key Advances

  • Dietary restriction results in a clock-dependent improvement in photoreceptor activity and lifespan in Drosophila4.

  • Caloric restriction induces oscillation of the ketone body, 3-β-hydroxybutyrate, which is both neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory5.

  • Time administration of calorie restriction to the active phase promotes insulin sensitivity during ageing and provides maximal lifespan extension, compared to ad libitum feeding or calorie restriction during the resting phase7.

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Fig. 1: Dietary restriction can delay ageing in a circadian clock-dependent manner.


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The author acknowledges the support of NIH grants R01DK114037 and R01DK125922.

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Correspondence to Kristin Eckel-Mahan.

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The author declares no competing interests.

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Eckel-Mahan, K. Energy intake at the intersection of the clock and ageing. Nat Rev Endocrinol 19, 72–73 (2023).

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