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Low Calorie Diet Reverses Obesity-Induced Heart Damage

Johns Hopkins researchers report that heart damage related to obesity in young mice may be reversed by consuming a low-calorie diet. However, a similar diet may not be as effective for older mice with poor heart function.

Majd AlGhatrif, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and first author of the study says that their study suggests that obesity-induced heart damage may become irreversible with age. Lili Barouch, M.D., senior author and a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine, adds that although they could not say if their results would apply to humans, the study indicates that losing weight earlier may be more beneficial than doing this later in life.

The study which was recently published online in the Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research looked into the effects of a low-calorie diet in two groups of obese mice, one of which was composed of young mice (two months old), and the other, of much older mice (6-7 months old).

All mice had evidence of heart damage, which could lead to heart failure. While the young and old mice lost similar amounts of weight after four weeks on the calorie-restricted diet, the younger mice, demonstrated a return to normal heart function and less fat deposits in their heart cells while the heart function of older mice remained impaired.

The researchers note that while obesity increases the risk of heart disease in people, studies have shown that losing weight by lowering calorie consumption has beneficial effects. While they have discovered an age-dependent reversibility of cardiac function related to obesity in mice, they believe more studies need to be done to find out if these findings apply to humans.


Johns Hopkins Medicine. Losing weight sooner rather than later gives best chance of reversing heart damage from obesity, according to mouse study. ScienceDaily.

Posted in: Diet, Diseases, Heart Disease, News Briefs, Obesity

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