Ketone bodies mimic the life span extending properties of caloric restriction
The extension of life span by caloric restriction has been studied across species from yeast and Caenorhabditis elegans to primates. No generally accepted theory has been proposed to explain these observations. Here, we propose that the life span extension produced by caloric restriction can be duplicated by the metabolic changes induced by ketosis. From nematodes to mice, extension of life span results from decreased signaling through the insulin/insulin-like growth factor receptor signaling (IIS) pathway. We hypothesize that increasing the levels of ketone bodies will also extend the life span of humans and that calorie restriction extends life span at least in part through increasing the levels of ketone bodies. An exogenous ketone ester provides a new tool for mimicking the effects of caloric restriction that can be used in future research. The ability to power mitochondria in aged individuals that have limited ability to oxidize glucose metabolites due to pyruvate dehydrogenase inhibition suggests new lines of research for preventative measures and treatments for aging and aging-related disorders.