Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Taste test: Could sense of taste affect length of life?

Date:
May 19, 2014
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
Perhaps one of the keys to good health isn't just what you eat but how you taste it. Taste buds -- yes, the same ones you may blame for that sweet tooth or French fry craving -- may in fact have a powerful role in a long and healthy life -- at least for fruit flies. Bitter tastes could have negative effects on lifespan, sweet tastes had positive effects, and the ability to taste water had the most significant impact -- flies that could not taste water lived up to 43% longer than other flies.

Perhaps one of the keys to good health isn’t just what you eat but how you taste it.
Credit: Alliance / Fotolia

Perhaps one of the keys to good health isn't just what you eat but how you taste it.

Taste buds -- yes, the same ones you may blame for that sweet tooth or French fry craving -- may in fact have a powerful role in a long and healthy life -- at least for fruit flies, say two new studies that appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Researchers from the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Switzerland found that suppressing the animal's ability to taste its food -regardless of how much it actually eats -- can significantly increase or decrease its length of life and potentially promote healthy aging.

Bitter tastes could have negative effects on lifespan, sweet tastes had positive effects, and the ability to taste water had the most significant impact -- flies that could not taste water lived up to 43% longer than other flies. The findings suggest that in fruit flies, the loss of taste may cause physiological changes to help the body adapt to the perception that it's not getting adequate nutrients.

In the case of flies whose loss of water taste led to a longer life, authors say the animals may attempt to compensate for a perceived water shortage by storing greater amounts of fat and subsequently using these fat stores to produce water internally. Further studies are planned to better explore how and why bitter and sweet tastes affect aging.

"This brings us further understanding about how sensory perception affects health. It turns out that taste buds are doing more than we think," says senior author of the University of Michigan-led study Scott Pletcher, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and research associate professor at the Institute of Gerontology.

"We know they're able to help us avoid or be attracted to certain foods but in fruit flies, it appears that taste may also have a very profound effect on the physiological state and healthy aging."

Pletcher conducted the study with lead author Michael Waterson, a Ph.D graduate student in U-M's Cellular and Molecular Biology Program.

"Our world is shaped by our sensory abilities that help us navigate our surroundings and by dissecting how this affects aging, we can lay the groundwork for new ideas to improve our health," says senior author of the other study, Joy Alcedo, Ph.D, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Wayne State University, formerly of the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Switzerland. Alcedo conducted the research with lead author Ivan Ostojic, Ph.D., of the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Switzerland.

Recent studies suggest that sensory perception may influence health-related characteristics such as athletic performance, type II diabetes, and aging. The two new studies, however, provide the first detailed look into the role of taste perception.

"These findings help us better understand the influence of sensory signals, which we now know not only tune an organism into its environment but also cause substantial changes in physiology that affect overall health and longevity," Waterson says. "We need further studies to help us apply this knowledge to health in humans potentially through tailored diets favoring certain tastes or even pharmaceutical compounds that target taste inputs without diet alterations."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. J. Waterson, B. Y. Chung, Z. M. Harvanek, I. Ostojic, J. Alcedo, S. D. Pletcher. Water sensor ppk28 modulates Drosophila lifespan and physiology through AKH signaling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1315461111

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Taste test: Could sense of taste affect length of life?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519160525.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2014, May 19). Taste test: Could sense of taste affect length of life?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519160525.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Taste test: Could sense of taste affect length of life?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519160525.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins