Monday, June 4, 2007

Calorie restriction and depression

So hungry, so sad: Calorie restriction and depression Ouroboros 5/31/07 "Mood is intimately connected to feeding behavior, which in turn impacts mood. Given that a fairly radical departure from normal feeding — calorie restriction (CR) — is one of the most widely discussed and promising means of extending lifespan in a wide range of organisms, it seems reasonable to ask whether CR significantly impacts psychology. (It has already been reported that CR in humans can result in behavioral changes including hoarding.)..."A history of caloric restriction induces neurochemical and behavioral changes in rats consistent with models of depression"..."Chronic food restriction in young rats results in depression- and anxiety-like behaviors with decreased expression of serotonin reuptake transporter"..."

An excellent post, as often is the case, by Ouroboros - much more info at link above. Chris seems to think there is some evidence of this in the research but that a rigorous long term study looking at the behavioral and neurochemical effects of CR is much needed - along with the longevity research . I agree. As he put it,

"The CR field has been good about measuring not just quantity of life but also quality — but thus far, “quality of life” has been limited to readily quantified metrics of health, rather than evidence of psychological well-being (or its lack)."

This is just anecdotal, but more often then not when I see interviews with folks practicing a true CR regimen, they manifest what seems to me a very flat affect. I've not seen much written about Roy Walford's personality before CR. But certainly in his books and interviews before CR he seemed to be a very passionate person. But he and his daughter, during CR, seemed curiously flat in interviews. I do wonder if any of Roy's friends noticed a difference. Of course it could be that during those interviews he and his daughter might not be feeling well, unrelated to CR. Any number of other variables could be affecting them - so who knows. Anyway this is my observation after watching a small number (6) of CR folks in interviews. Also, there's no way to know if the others were practicing CR correctly - or even if CR just doesn't agree with their body.

Maybe CR does not affect the brain negatively. I hope that is the case, esp. for CR mimic compounds. If it is the case that CR mimic compounds do affect the brain negatively, can you imagine a workaround arriving any time soon - other than having to take antidepressants and hoping they'll work? Neither can I.

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