Calorie Restriction (CR) without malnutrition slows aging and increases average and maximal lifespan in simple model organisms and rodents. In rhesus monkeys long-term CR reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, and protects against age-associated sarcopenia and neurodegeneration. However, so far CR significantly increased average lifespan only in the Wisconsin, but not in the NIA monkey study. Differences in diet composition and study design between the 2 on-going trials may explain the discrepancies in survival and disease. Nevertheless, many of the metabolic and hormonal adaptations that are typical of the long-lived CR rodents did not occur in either the NIA or WNPRC CR monkeys. Whether or not CR will extend lifespan in humans is not yet known, but accumulating data indicate that moderate CR with adequate nutrition has a powerful protective effect against obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammation, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and reduces metabolic risk factors associated with cancer. Moreover, CR in human beings improves markers of cardiovascular aging, and rejuvenates the skeletal muscle transcriptional profile. More studies are needed to understand the interactions between CR, diet composition, exercise, and other environmental and psychological factors on metabolic and molecular pathways that regulate health and longevity.
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