Time Restricted Eating Is All About Age and Sex

Douglas Perry

Technology, Cycling, Swimming


Time-restricted eating (TRE) is the bright shiny toy everyone wants on their diet list these days. Yeah, you can call it intermittent fasting. Salk scientists studying TRE in mice, looked into how it promotes multiple health benefits besides weight loss. The study also shows that these benefits may depend on sex and age.


While weight loss is a big deal, especially in young male mice (at least for science guys and gals), this paper, published in Cell Reports, the researchers wanted to see if TRE was beneficial in other ways.



Their findings show that while age and sex do affect the outcomes of TRE, the eating strategy delivers multiple health benefits for young and old of both sexes, and indicates that TRE may be a valuable intervention for type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and liver cancer, and even infectious diseases such as COVID-19, in humans.


"For many TRE clinical interventions, the primary outcome is weight loss, but we've found that TRE is good not only for metabolic disease but also for increased resilience against infectious diseases and insulin resistance," says Satchidananda Panda, a professor in Salk's Regulatory Biology Laboratory and holder of the Rita and Richard Atkinson Chair.


Glucose intolerance is the first step on a slippery slope to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver cancer - one of the few cancers whose incidence and death rates have increased, rather than declined, in the past 25 to 30 years. Further, over 40 percent of Americans are already diabetic or prediabetic, with the American Diabetes Association predicting 1.5 million new cases each year.


These trends make finding a simple treatment for glucose intolerance a major priority.


The researchers also found that TRE may protect both males and females from sepsis-induced death - a particular danger in ICUs, especially during the pandemic. After administering a toxin that induced a sepsis-like condition in the mice, the researchers monitored survival rates for 13 days and found that TRE protected both male and female mice from dying of sepsis.



TRE didn't just protect against fatty liver disease, diabetes, and death from sepsis; it even enabled male mice to preserve and add muscle mass and improve muscle performance (the effect did not hold for females).


This finding is particularly significant for the elderly, for whom improved muscle performance can help guard against falls.





Time Restricted Eating Is All About Age and Sex - News, nutrition, intermittent fasting, time restricted eating



Title: Sex- and age-dependent outcomes of 9-hour time-restricted feeding of a Western high-fat high-sucrose diet in C57BL/6J mice


Date: August 17, 2021


DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109543


Abstract: Time-restricted feeding (TRF) is a nutritional intervention wherein food intake is limited to a consistent 8- to 10-h daily window without changes in nutritional quality or quantity. TRF can prevent and treat diet-induced obesity (DIO) and associated metabolic disease in young male mice fed an obesogenic diet, the gold standard preclinical model for metabolic disease research. Because age and sex are key biological variables affecting metabolic disease pathophysiology and response to therapies, we assessed their impact on TRF benefits by subjecting young 3-month-old or middle-aged 12-month-old male and female mice to ad libitum or TRF of a Western diet. We show that most of the benefits of TRF are age-independent but are sex-dependent. TRF protects both sexes against fatty liver and glucose intolerance while body weight benefits are observed only in males. We also find that TRF imparts performance benefits and increases survival to sepsis in both sexes.


Main Purpose: A study of how TRF can delay metabolic dysfunction and promote healthy aging in middle-aged pre-clinical male and female mouse models of metabolic disease.


Research Type: Journal Article


Findings Indicate: TRE confers multiple health benefits besides weight loss. The study also shows that these benefits may depend on sex and age.


Limitation: For out purposes, the obvious limitation of this study is the limitation of animal models applied to humans.

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