N System Theories of Aging Rateof Living

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The rate-of-living hypothesis of aging states that the metabolic rate of a species is inversely proportional to its life expectancy (Chapter 3). The original theory makes two predictions (36) including the following:

1. There is a predetermined amount of metabolic energy available to the organism that can be expressed equally well in terms of oxygen consumption or kilocalories expended per life span, and when this energy is gone, the organism dies.

2. There is an inverse relationship between metabolic rate and aging. Recent data show that the metabolic potential does not stay at a constant value for different populations of a species (36). Long-lived strains spend about the same number of calories per day; yet, they may live significantly longer. Thus, during their life time, the long-lived strains expend around 40% more calories than the normal-lived strains (36).

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