The sensation of hunger itself may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, a new study on mice has suggested.
Interestingly, the results of this study suggest that mild hunger pangs, and related hormonal pathways, may be as important to the much-discussed value of “caloric restriction” as actually eating less.
Caloric restriction is a regimen where an individual consumes fewer calories than average, but not so few that they become malnourished. Studies in many species have suggested that it could protect against neurodegenerative disorders and extend lifespans, but the effect has not been confirmed in human randomised clinical trials.
But researchers behind the new study argued that hormonal signals are the middlemen between an empty gut and the perception of hunger in the brain, and that manipulating them may effectively counter age-related cognitive decline in the same way as caloric restriction.