- New research suggests intermittent fasting can improve longevity
- Alternating between times of fasting and eating supports cellular health
- Fasting, or a pharmaceutical equivalent that mimics fasting, may offer intervention that can stave off conditions affecting older populations
A growing number of people are touting the health benefits of fasting. In a new study published in the Dec. 26 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers provided another evidence that supports the health claims of intermittent fasting.
The new research by Mark Mattson, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Rafael de Cabo, from the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program, suggests that intermittent fasting can also improve longevity.
Mattson said that there are basically two categories of intermittent fasting: daily time-restricted feeding, which restricts eating to 6 to 8 hours a day, and the 5:2 intermittent fasting, which limits eating to one moderate-sized meal two days per week.
In an array of studies that the researchers reviewed, they found that alternating between times of fasting and eating supports cellular health likely by triggering the so-called metabolic switching, which happens when the cells use up the stores of rapidly accessible sugar-based fuel in the body and start to convert fat into energy.
Mattson said that this switch improves blood sugar regulation, suppresses infl
amm ation and boosts resistance to str ess. Metabolic switching also decreases bl0od pressure, resting heart rates and blood lipid levels.
The neuroscientist said that fasting, or a pharmaceutical equivalent that mimics fasting, may offer intervention that can stave off neurodegeneration and dementia; conditions that primarily affect older populations.
“We are at a transition point where we could soon consider adding information about intermittent fasting to medical school curricula alongside standard advice about healthy diets and exercise,” he said.
Mattson added that most people can incorporate fasting into their liv
es albeit it takes some time for the body to adjust to it. He said that feeling hungry and irritable is common at the start but these usually pass after two weeks to a month once the body and the brain become accustomed to the time-restricted eating regimen.
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