The Japanese diet from 1975 delays senescence and prolongs life span in SAMP8 mice

Nutrition. 2016 Jan;32(1):122-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2015.07.002. Epub 2015 Jul 26.


Objective: Life expectancy in Japan is high, suggesting that the Japanese diet, Nihon shoku (Japanese food), has significant health benefits. However, these benefits have been called into question over the past 50 y, during which time the Japanese diet has become increasingly Westernized. The aim of the present study was to focus on senescence delay and to examine the effects of Japanese diets from different years to identify which Japanese diet is most effective in enhancing life expectancy and delaying senescence.

Methods: Weekly menus from the years 1960, 1975, 1990, and 2005 were reproduced based on the National Health and Nutrition Survey in Japan and prepared as powdered foods. The senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8 (SAMP8) mice were fed standard laboratory chow supplemented with a 30% mix of Japanese meals from various years ad libitum throughout their lifetime. Additionally, the control group was given standard laboratory chow only, to examine the development of mice reared under standard conditions.

Results: In the group that ingested the traditional 1975 Japanese diet, life span was prolonged, senescence was delayed, and learning and memory capacities were maintained compared with the group fed the 2005 Japanese diet. The life span of the group that ingested the 1990 Japanese diet showed a tendency to be longer than SAMP8 mice fed the 2005 diet.

Conclusion: The results of the present study suggested that the traditional Japanese diet is more effective in enhancing life expectancy and delaying senescence than the current Japanese diet.

Keywords: Japanese diet; Japanese food; Life span; SAMP8; Senescence; Senescence-accelerated mice.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Diet* / history
  • Diet, Western
  • Dietary Supplements
  • History, 20th Century
  • Japan
  • Learning*
  • Life Expectancy
  • Longevity*
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Mice, Inbred Strains