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Metformin as Calorie Restriction Mimetic

This paper is illustrative of the thinking that leads to trying anti-diabetic drugs as calorie restriction mimetics: "Studies in mammals have led to the suggestion that hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia are important factors both in aging and in the development of cancer. It is possible that the life-prolonging effects of calorie restriction are due to decreasing IGF-1 levels. A search of pharmacological modulators of insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway (which resemble effects of life span extending mutations or calorie restriction) could be a perspective direction in regulation of longevity. Antidiabetic biguanides are most promising among them. Here we show the chronic treatment of female outbred SHR mice with metformin (100 mg/kg in drinking water) slightly modified the food consumption but decreased the body weight after the age of 20 months, slowed down the age-related switch-off of estrous function, increased mean life span by 37.8%, mean life span of last 10% survivors by 20.8%, and maximum life span by 2.8 months (+10.3%) in comparison with control mice." Full calorie restriction does better than that (30-40% maximum life span extension), but this is a strong argument for its effects on insulin metabolism to be one cause of enhanced health and longevity.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18728386

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