Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Body and Brain

Diet and Nutrition

The Benefits Derived from Intermittent Fasting

 

The benefits of intermittent fasting is established through an individual abstaining from eating for a period of 16 to 24 hours. Clinical studies reveal that there are numerous benefits to derive from intermittent fasting which affect the entire body.


Intermittent fasting reduces the appetite

Eating fewer calories lowers insulin levels and increases the hormones that facilitate weight loss (human growth hormone and norepinephrine).

Therefore, short-term fasting increases our metabolic rate by 3.6 – 14%. When metabolic rate increases, calorie-burning power also increases.

 

Fasting reduces insulin levels.

Blood sugars reduce to 3 -6 % and insulin resistance drops between 20 – 31%. Insulin resistance drops because when blood sugars lower during fasting, it enables the body to re-sensitise to insulin. When insulin levels lower, inflammation also decreases.

 

Reduces inflammation.

Old or damaged cells within our bodies create inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease are only two of the debilitating diseases that research has linked to chronic inflammation. Our body naturally gets rid of the damaged cells by a process called autophagy and studies show that autophagy is stimulated by fasting. Additionally, ketones are produced when fat breaks down during fasting. Ketones block part of the immune system that regulates inflammatory disorders; therefore an increased production of ketones during the fasting process helps to reduce inflammation.

 

Creates a higher rate of neurogenesis.

Neurogenesis is the growth and reproduction of new brain cells and nerve tissue. Studies have shown that when neurogenesis occurs at a higher rate, our memories, focus and our mood improves.

 

Increases production of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor).

BDNF is a protein that helps neurons within the brain. They are directly linked to areas of the brain that support memory, higher thinking and learning.

 

Fasting reduces oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals and free radicals are believed to cause many neurodegenerative diseases. During fasting, the body is forced to burn ketones instead of sugar. When ketones are used for fuel, there are fewer free radicals because fat produces far fewer free radicals than carbohydrates.

 

 

Increases mitochondria biogenesis.

Mitochondria biogenesis is the generation of mitochondria. Our cells are filled with mitochondria, which turn our food into energy. More mitochondria = more brain power!

 

Hormesis

Hormesis is the reason that intermittent fasting enhances cognition. Hormesis occurs when low doses of toxicity are present, and instead of causing a negative reaction, the toxicity causes the body to react positively by increasing its production of cytoprotective and restorative proteins including growth factors, phase 2 and antioxidant enzymes, and protein chaperones.

References
  • (2013). Intermittent fasting: the science of going without. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne, 185(9), E363-4.
  • Wegman, M. P., Guo, M. H., Bennion, D. M., Shankar, M. N., Chrzanowski, S. M., Goldberg, L. A., Xu, J., Williams, T. A., Lu, X., Hsu, S. I., Anton, S. D., Leeuwenburgh, C., … Brantly, M. L. (2015). Practicality of intermittent fasting in humans and its effect on oxidative stress and genes related to aging and metabolism. Rejuvenation research, 18(2), 162-72.
  • Monique Tello, M. (2018). Intermittent fasting: Surprising update – Harvard Health Blog. Harvard Health Blog. Retrieved 14 November 2018, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156
  • Fasting for a longer healthy life: is there a scientific basis? | CHEBA – Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing. (2018). Cheba.unsw.edu.au. Retrieved 14 November 2018, from https://cheba.unsw.edu.au/blog/fasting-longer-healthy-life-there-scientific-basis
  • (2018). Annualreviews.org. Retrieved 14 November 2018, from https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-nutr-071816-064634
  • Heilbronn LK, e. (2018). Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism. – PubMed – NCBI . Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 15 November 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15640462
  • Ho, K. Y., Veldhuis, J. D., Johnson, M. L., Furlanetto, R., Evans, W. S., Alberti, K. G., & Thorner, M. O. (1988). Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. The Journal of clinical investigation, 81(4), 968-75.
  • Alirezaei, M., Kemball, C. C., Flynn, C. T., Wood, M. R., Whitton, J. L., & Kiosses, W. B. (2010). Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy. Autophagy, 6(6), 702-10.
  • Zhu, Y., Yan, Y., Gius, D., & Vassilopoulos, A. (2013). Metabolic regulation of Sirtuins upon fasting and the implication for cancer. Current Opinion In Oncology, 25(6), 630-636. doi:10.1097/01.cco.0000432527.49984.a
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