Caloric Restriction in a Pill


A treatment, diet regime or biomedical device that can replicate the beneficial effects of caloric restriction, without the negative consequences.

Why the Need?

Caloric restriction, which includes intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating, is gaining popularity as a lifestyle choice that can help extend lifespan and healthspan. These dietary regimens, however, are difficult for the body, and are rarely carried out through life. There is a need for a solution that provides the beneficial effects of caloric restriction and intermittent fasting without -

    Requiring the user to fast or diet, or - Having the negative side-effects associated with caloric restriction, such as loss of bone density and lean muscle mass.

Any solution that will accomplish one of these requirements will enable many to enjoy the benefits of these remedies.

Stipulations for a Successful Breakthrough Solution

    The solution will be safe for use The solution will provide the benefits of caloric restriction without the need for extraordinary willpower
  • The solution will mitigate as many negative effects of caloric restriction as possible

Promising Technologies for Solutions

Promising technologies include food engineering, to create food with real taste - but which degrades in the stomach and the guts without releasing any useful nutrients to the body. More radical techniques may include a non-intrusive way to minimize the volume of a person’s stomach, or some other way to provide a feeling of being satiated. Even lifestyle and “quantified self” apps and sensors may provide a solution, though their advice must not cause harm to the users.

Expected year for proof of concept: 2025
Expected year for mass-scaling: 2030

@Elena_Milova, @ross_d_king, @david, what are your thoughts on this potential breakthrough? Do you think it would be a good way to get to longevity? Is it audacious enough for an XPRIZE?

CR is not proven to benefit humans for the long-term. There are downsides, such as body dysmorphia. Even the author of CR (Roy Walford, MM) said that too many people are dogmatic about it and it needs to be practiced with smart common sense.

The important part is not necessarily caloric restriction (CR) in a pill, but longevity in a pill. Caloric restriction is a proven method for lengthening life span of a wide variety of organisms (not humans, at least yet), but researchers still do not understand exactly how it works. Hydrogen sulfide, a molecule that microbes have used for millions of years, may be responsible for the health benefits and life-extending effects of reduced-calorie diets (C. Hine et al. Endogenous hydrogen sulfide production is essential for dietary restriction benefits. Cell. Vol. 160, January 15, 2015, published online December 23, 2014) That experiment, by James Mitchell and colleagues at Harvard, suggests that restricting calories causes cells to produce hydrogen sulfide, which by some means makes tissues more resilient and extends the life of laboratory organisms. The finding provides a central theory that may help researchers interpret disparate results from previous caloric restriction experiments. Perhaps H2S and not CR is key to longevity?

The timing:
Expected year for proof of concept: 2025
Expected year for mass-scaling: 2030
may not be reasonable with the stipulation “The solution will be safe for use.”
“Safe” is a big claim that takes decades to demonstrate.

Valid points on the issue of safety when it comes to mass-scaling solutions @Lodder545. @roey, any thoughts on this?

About the study: