Metabolic Switching Is Impaired by Aging and Facilitated by Ketosis Independent of Glycogen

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glucose, diet, ketogenic diet, keto-adaptation, intermittent fasting

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The ability to switch between glycolysis and ketosis promotes survival by enabling metabolism through fat oxidation during periods of fasting. Carbohydrate restriction or stress can also elicit metabolic switching. Keto-adapting from glycolysis is delayed in aged rats, but factors mediating this age-related impairment have not been identified. We measured metabolic switching between glycolysis and ketosis, as well as glycogen dynamics, in young and aged rats undergoing time-restricted feeding (TRF) with a standard diet or a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet (KD). TRF alone reversed markers of insulin-related metabolic deficits and accelerated metabolic switching in aged animals. A KD+TRF, however, provided additive benefits on these variables. Remarkably, the ability to keto-adapt was not related to glycogen levels and KD-fed rats showed an enhanced elevation in glucose following epinephrine administration. This study provides new insights into the mechanisms of keto-adaptation demonstrating the utility of dietary interventions to treat metabolic impairments across the lifespan.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Aging, v. 12, issue 9, p. 7963-7984