Long-lived peoples characteristically eat in moderation and fast periodically. Caloric restriction has been studied extensively, and the results are convincing – lab animals on caloric-restricted diets or those that intermittently fasted lived longer and exhibited fewer degenerative diseases as they aged.
Feasting and Fasting – Our Genetic Heritage
Caloric restriction (CR) is well researched and well known to extend life span, retard age-related health decline (senescence), and decrease the development of chronic degenerative
diseases in a large number of species. Intermittent fasting (IF) has been shown to have similar effects as CR, even without an overall reduction in caloric intake. Benefits of IF are available even when the method is started later in life.
Decreases Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes
Intermittent fasting improves protein metabolism, controls blood pressure, lowers serum glucose, increases insulin sensitivity, increases HDL levels, improves the cholesterol/HDL ratio (a heart disease risk factor), lowers homocysteine levels (a marker for systemic inflammation and stroke/heart attack risk), prevents hypoglycemia, and reduces diabetes. Fasting of even one day per week lowers cancer risk in mice.
Controls Inflammation and Pain
Sirtuins and superoxide dismutase, antioxidants that control inflammation, increase from IF without supplementation or change in diet. NF-kappaB, a promoter of inflammation and a common cause of chronic pain, is reduced by IF. The neurotransmitters regulating mood and pain serotonin, endogenous opioids, and endocannabinoids also show improved levels from IF.
Improves Hormone Levels
Diminished Growth Hormone (GH) is associated with degenerative changes of aging, and IF has been shown to increase GH. IF also restores the day-night/circadian rhythms of hormones, particularly for cortisol.
Improves Brain Functions
IF protects the brain from metabolic stress and injury against age-related cognitive decline. Research on IF has shown improved memory, learning, and consolidation processes through long-term changes in synaptic efficiency and plasticity. Additionally, IF improves internal regulation of body systems through the nervous system.
How Is Your Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor?
Intermittent fasting increases production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This factor increases the resistance of brain neurons to dysfunction and degeneration and even promotes brain neuron healing.
How To Fast
Only water fasting is proven from the scientific literature. You can fast one or more times a week by skipping breakfast and drinking water. Once you get used to this routine, you can fast 24 hours (dinner one day to dinner the next) or 36 hours (dinner one day to breakfast in 2 days).
Your tolerance for IF will increase as you practice it and your energy levels will increase and stabilize.
Note: Get the full article on IF, including 56 peer-reviewed references, at drforce.com/IF