• by: Valter Longo Foundation Editorial Staff
  • April 29th, 2020
Scientific research shows that there is a relationship between the nutrients we get from food and genes that are related to longevity and disease. By identifying various risk factors for certain diseases, such as obesity, high cholesterol levels, and hypertension, the elements that can favor the onset of such diseases and thus increase the probability of death from these same causes can also be identified. For example, obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, and increases the probability of developing it up to five times, compared to individuals who are not obese.Other important risk factors are genetic predisposition, a sedentary lifestyle, and poor nutrition. Ultimately, aging represents the greatest risk factor in the incidence of diseases that lead to death. Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, have been shown to be associated with aging.


If age is the main risk factor for diseases that lead to death, the best strategy is to intervene directly on the aging process. In fact, preventing and treating individual diseases is a complex and long process, and often less efficient. For example, consi-dering that the average lifespan is 80 years,and that individuals develop cancer at around 40, it’s possible to postpone its onset or avoid it completely. Thanks to nu-trition, it’s possible to modify factors that regulate aging.


Several studies illustrate how sugars, proteins, and amino acids influence the me-tabolic pathway and the genes that accelerate aging: GH-IGF-1, Tor-S6K and Ras-PKA. The results of scientific research show that animal proteins cause an increase in the growth factor IGF-1, closely linked to cell damage and the onset of diabetes and cancer. In fact, excessive intake of proteins causes the activation of the growth hormone receptor, which in turn increases the levels of insulin and IGF-1, whose concentration is associated with both diabetes and cancer. In addition, proteins and amino acids, including leucine, are able to activate the TOR-S6K genes, which are also responsible for accelerating aging. The RAS-PKA genes, on the other hand, are activated by sugars (simple carbohydrates, such as pasta and white bread). Therefore, the combination of sugars and proteins obtained from food activates the molecules that determine the degeneration of the body.

These discoveries are the result of long years of work by geneticists and molecular biologists from different universities and prestigious research institutions. To name a few: University of California Los Angeles-USA (UCLA), University of Southern California-USA (USC), University of California, San Francisco – USA (UCSF), Massachusetts Institute of Technology – USA (MIT), Harvard University (Boston, USA), Brown University (Providence, USA), and University College London-UK (UCL). This is why it is essential to continue scientific research in the field of nutrition, and discover how it influences and controls genes related to aging, with hopes to reprogram and optimize the longevity of individuals.


  1. Valter Longo, La dieta della longevità, Vallardi Editore 2016
  2. Hu J et al.; Tor-Sch9 deficiency activates catabolism of the ketone body-like acetic acid to promote trehalose accumulation and longevity; Aging Cell.2014 Jun.
  3. Balasubramanian P, Longo VD- Growth Horm IGF Res. Growthfactors, aging and age-relateddiseases. 2016 Jun.
  4. Wei M et al.; Life span extension by calorie restriction depends on Rim15 and transcription factors downstream of Ras/PKA, Tor, and Sch9.; PLoS Genet.2008 Jan.

By Fondazione Valter Longo Onlus editorial staff
Fondazione Valter Longo Onlus aims to make scientific dissemination by raising awareness among the scientific and non-scientific community of a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition through the production of explanatory scientific articles, textual, infographics and multimedia content, and the dissemination of clinical activities scientific, informative and educational aspects of the Foundation and its team of professionals. Dietary pathways, scientific discoveries, clinical studies, treatments and technologies, national and international awareness events, prevention initiatives as well as Longevity recipes are just some of the topics addressed in articles and in-depth interviews published daily and written in collaboration with the Foundation’s specialists. Also active on social networks, Fondazione Valter Longo Onlus editorial staff also offers a monthly newsletter sent to all members, to stay up to date on the most interesting news related to the world of Health, Nutrition and Longevity.
Romina Inés Cervigni
Alessandra Fedato
Maria Liliana Ciraulo
Corinna Montana Lampo
Cristina Villa
Contact: [email protected] or + 39 02 2513 8307


Join our Newsletter to stay updated with the Foundation projects and new advances in diseases prevention and treatment.