Researchers at the University of Florida have found in a study on lab rats that a calorie-restricted diet, when started in early adulthood, can help limit muscle loss in aging adults. According to researchers, cutting calories seems to stymie a mitochondrial mishap that may contribute to muscle loss in aging adults. The study has been published in the journal PLoS One. In rats, the scientists found pockets of excess iron in muscle cell mitochondria, the tiny power plants found in every cell. The excess iron affects the chemistry inside the mitochondria, sparking the formation of harmful free radicals that can lead a mitochondrion straight to the emergency exit, said Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Ph.D., a UF professor of aging in the UF College of Medicine and the Institute on Aging. Leeuwenburgh was the senior author of the study. "We become less efficient at an old age and we need to understand why this is. One thing, maybe, is the accumulation of redox-active metals in cells. If the mitochondria become unhappy or are ready to kick the bucket, they have proteins in the inner and outer membranes that they can open up and commit suicide. They're tricky beasts," Leeuwenburgh said. The suicidal mitochondria can damage the rest of the muscle cell, leading to cell death and perhaps to muscle wasting, a big problem for adults as they reach their mid-70s, Leeuwenburgh added. "Muscle is critical for your overall well-being. As you walk, muscle functions partly as a pump to keep your blood going. Muscle is an incredible source of reserves," the expert added. The researchers found increasing amounts of iron in the muscle cells of aging rats fed a typical unrestricted diet. The older the rats got, the more iron accumulated in the mitochondria and the more damage was done to its RNA and DNA. Rats of the same ages that were kept on a calorie-restricted diet - about 60 percent of the food typically ingested - seemed to maintain more normal iron levels in mitochondria, the researchers reported. "The novel thing here is that iron is accumulating in places it does not normally accumulate," said Mitch Knutson, Ph.D., a UF assistant professor of food science and human nutrition and a study co-author. "Such iron accumulation in muscle was quite unexpected. This may be of concern because more people are genetically predisposed to developing iron overload than we originally thought," the researcher added.Source: ANIRAS/SK << Study Says BP Drug Combo can Reduce Heart Attack Death Risk Research: Worms may Harbour Arthritis Cure >> Recommended Reading Study Says Memories of Sinful Meals Protect Binge Eaters If your last birthday went gorging on the cake, then the memory of the indulgence may help you choose a fruit salad next year round - in case you're an impulsive eater. READ MORE Chronic Dieting - Is it an Eating Disorder? Chronic dieting is associated with eating disorders that mainly include unhealthy eating practices such as severe calorie restriction in diet of men or women who on a regular basis follow fad diets mainly to reduce weight. READ MORE Low Calorie Diet Low calorie meals or diet include foods that are high on nutritional content and yet have fewer calories. Updated information about low calorie diet or low calorie foods and its health benefits. READ MORE Processed Foods Processed or convenience foods require less time and energy for food preparation. Most of the processed foods are healthy with nutritional values. READ MORE Turn This Diwali into a Lighter Sweeter Celebration Diwali is just round the corner! Its tough to stay health-conscious but still we are giving you a few easy tips to manage your calories and remain in shape. READ MORE Why Do We Eat - Nutrition Facts The importance of eating food and the physiological, psychological and social functions of food. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Nutam (400mg) (Piracetam) Blood Donation - Recipients Daily Calorie Requirements More News on: Low Calorie DietProcessed FoodsWhy Do We Eat - Nutrition FactsDiet Lifestyle and Heart DiseaseTurn This Diwali into a Lighter Sweeter CelebrationChronic Dieting - Is it an Eating Disorder?