Valter Longo

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Valter D. Longo
Born (1967-10-09) October 9, 1967 (age 55)
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Scientific career
FieldsCell biology
InstitutionsUSC Davis School of Gerontology
Doctoral advisorJoan Valentine

Valter D. Longo (born October 9, 1967) is an Italian-American biogerontologist and cell biologist known for his studies on the role of fasting and nutrient response genes on cellular protection aging and diseases and for proposing that longevity is regulated by similar genes and mechanisms in many eukaryotes. He is currently a professor at the USC Davis School of Gerontology with a joint appointment in the department of Biological Sciences as well as serving as the director of the USC Longevity Institute.

Early life and education[edit]

Longo was born in Genoa, Italy to Calabrian parents.[1] He moved to Chicago in the United States as a teenager in order to become a professional rock guitarist, and lived with extended relatives.[2] While there, he observed that his relatives in the United States, who were eating diets rich in fat, meat and sugar, were suffering from cardiovascular disease, which was rare among his family living in Italy.[2] He joined the United States Army Reserve as a way to pay for college, attending recruit training in Fort Knox.[2] He then attended the University of North Texas College of Music due to its renown as a jazz school, studying under Dan Haerle and Jack Petersen, among others.[2] While in college, Longo decided to change focus and study nutrition and longevity instead, inspired in part by his observations about his relatives, as well as his experience in military training.[2][3] He graduated from the University of North Texas in 1992 with a degree in biochemistry.

In 1992 he joined the laboratory of "calorie restriction" pioneer Roy Walford at UCLA where he studied calorie restriction and aging of the immune system. He completed his PhD work in Biochemistry studying antioxidant enzymes and anti-aging genes under Joan Valentine at UCLA in 1997 and his postdoctoral training in the neurobiology of Alzheimer's disease under Caleb Finch at the University of Southern California.


Since 1997, Longo has been a faculty member at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center. He is a member of the formation of USC's Biology of Aging program as well as the director of the USC Longevity Institute,[4] also launched the USC Davis School of Gerontology's first study-abroad program, a summer class in the nutrition and genetics of aging in Italy.[5]

In 2011, he was profiled on Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman for his longevity-related research.[6]

Fasting mimicking diet[edit]

Longo's fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) is a low-calorie, low-protein, moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-fat meal program that is claimed to mimic the effects of periodic fasting or water fasting over the course of five days, while still aiming to provide the body with nutrition.[7][8] FMD is considered a periodic fast.[9]

Longo developed the diet at the University of Southern California. He believes that it is possible to mimic the effects of fasting with a meal program that is designed to inhibit the same metabolic pathways fasting would, thereby providing the body with nutrients that do not trigger the body's growth responses.[10]

Fasting mimicking diet is trademarked by L-Nutra, a company partially owned by Longo with financial interest by USC.[11][12]


  • Nathan Shock Lecture Award, National Institute on Aging, NIH, 2010[13]


  • Valter Longo bibliography at National Library of Medicine[14]
  • Longo, Valter (2 January 2018). The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight. New York: Avery. ISBN 978-0-525-53407-5.[15]
  • Longo, Valter (15 September 2016). La dieta della longevità. Dallo scienziato che ha rivoluzionato la ricerca su staminali e invecchiamento, la DIETA MIMA-DIGIUNO per vivere sani fino a 110 anni (in Italian). Translated by De Tomasi, Laura. Milan: Antonio Vallardi Editore. ISBN 978-88-6987-116-0.[16]


  1. ^ Longo, Valter, during XII Premio Simpatia della Calabria, Reggio di C, 4 September 2018
  2. ^ a b c d e Valter Longo (2016). "From Ligurian to Chicagoan". The Longevity Diet. Penguin Random House. ISBN 9781743772751. Archived from the original on 2023-03-15. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  3. ^ "Faculty Profile: Valter Longo". USC Davis School of Gerontology. Archived from the original on 26 May 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  4. ^ "USC Longevity Institute". USC. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  5. ^ Riggs, Jonathan. "Gerontology and Genoa's Lifestyle". USC News. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  6. ^ "USC in the News". USC Media and Public Relations. Archived from the original on 26 August 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  7. ^ University of Southern California (February 16, 2017). "Scientifically-designed fasting diet lowers risks for major diseases". ScienceDaily. Archived from the original on August 28, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  8. ^ King, Jennifer (June 19, 2015). "Fasting diets and longer life may go hand-in-hand, new research finds". ABC. ABC Health. Archived from the original on February 18, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Landro, Laura (April 11, 2017). "Can Different Forms of Fasting Make You Healthier?". Dow Jones & Company. Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on September 11, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  10. ^ Brandhorst, Sebastian; Choi, In Young; Wei, Min; Cheng, Chia Wei; Sedrakyan, Sargis; Navarrete, Gerardo; Dubeau, Louis; Yap, Li Peng; Park, Ryan; Vinciguerra, Manlio; Di Biase, Stefano; Mirzaei, Hamed; Mirisola, Mario G.; Childress, Patra; Ji, Lingyun; Groshen, Susan; Penna, Fabio; Odetti, Patrizio; Perin, Laura; Conti, Peter S.; Ikeno, Yuji; Kennedy, Brian K.; Cohen, Pinchas; Morgan, Todd E.; Dorff, Tanya B.; Longo, Valter D. (June 18, 2015). "A Periodic Diet that Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance, and Healthspan". Cell Metabolism. 22 (1): 86–99. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2015.05.012. PMC 4509734. PMID 26094889.
  11. ^ "FASTING MIMICKING DIET - Trademark Details". Justia. Justia. Archived from the original on February 13, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  12. ^ Walton, Alice G. (February 16, 2017). "Could A Little Bit Of Fasting Bring A Lot Of Health Benefits?". Forbes Media. Forbes. Archived from the original on February 23, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  13. ^ "Nathan W. Shock Memorial Lecture Award Winners". National Institute on Aging. Archived from the original on 22 November 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Longo, Valter [Author]". National Library of Medicine. doi:10.1038/s42255-021-00469-6. PMID 34650272. S2CID 238989782. Archived from the original on 18 June 2021. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  15. ^ "The Longevity Diet by Valter Longo". Penguin Random House. Archived from the original on 4 December 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  16. ^ "La dieta della longevità". Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2020.

External links[edit]