The Paleo Diet and Aging

I’ve speculated before about the effect of eating paleo on human longevity.  Strong evidence exists that there’s a concrete link between the paleo diet and aging, with a paleo approach helping to keep us off the ‘accelerated aging’ track.

So I was interested to watch this TED Talk with biochemist Cynthia Kenyon, who has found a simple genetic mutation that can double the lifespan of a simple worm, C. Elegans.  The genes responsible exist in humans, but are turned off by insulin. The lessons from that discovery, and others, are pointing to how we might one day significantly extend youthful human life.  In the talk, she notes that the mutation can be triggered by drugs and gene therapy applied to the worms:

How does this relate to the paleo diet and aging? Well, although she doesn’t mention it in the video above, she has talked previously about the wisdom of keeping insulin levels in check through diet.  Removing excess and troublesome carbs from the diet - a key outcome of following a paleo approach - is an effective way to keep insulin levels under control, thus activating the “long-life” genes.

Further indication of a strong connection between the paleo diet and aging.  What’s your take?

Brian Cormack Carr is a freelance writer and coach whose mission in life is to help YOU do what you were designed for.
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5 Responses to The Paleo Diet and Aging

  1. Jim Purdy December 21, 2011 at 5:41 am

    “…the mutation can be triggered by drugs and gene therapy applied to the worms”

    Drugs and gene therapy don’t sound very paleo-ish to me. In fact, that idea sounds downright murky … I mean Merck-y.

    I don’t take any drugs now, and I’m not interested in taking any worm drugs.

    But I wouldn’t object if Ms. Kenyon wants to talk worm drugs for herself.

    Good luck with that.

  2. Brian Cormack Carr December 21, 2011 at 7:01 am

    I don’t think there’s any implication that drugs and gene therapy are paleo-ish. In fact, that’s the point: the paleo diet may help achieve, in humans, the genetic “trigger” necessary to improve longevity factors - without drugs or genetic manipulation being necessary.

  3. Ken O'Neill December 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    The Paleo diet by itself cannot trigger necessary genetic factors favorable to sustainable longevity. When Paleo was formulated in evolutionary medicine, inclusion of genetic/molecular biology of exercise physiology was not included, nor has it been. Activity is the necessary and sufficient condition signalling sequencing of healthy protein/protein turnover. Inactivity signals sequencing of detrimental proteins, and it is thought that their interaction with susceptible genes results in what eventually expresses as diseases. The Paleo diet’s proper place as a necessary and NOT sufficient condition is that of micronutrient support of sequencing production of orthomolecular proteins in response to activity.