More Evidence for Health Benefits of Fasting

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Persuasive evidence continues to accumulate that periodic fasting not only positively affects overall health, particularly in reducing the risk for diabetes and many cancers, but a fasting regimen can reverse some signs of aging and rejuvenate human cells related to aging, possibly resulting in a longer life.

Some of this study evidence has been produced using human test subjects, though most of it has been conducted with lab animals.

Human study findings include a 2017 experiment, using 71 persons who either went on a fasting-mimicking diet for five days each month, or who did their normal diet for three months and then switched to periodic fasting. The fasting-mimic diet was low in calories, sugars, and protein, but high in unsaturated fats.

As the study authors concluded after three months: “The fasting-like diet reduced body weight and body fat, lowered blood pressure, and decreased the hormone IGF-1, which has been implicated in aging and disease. Fasting also decreased BMI, glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, and C-reactive protein (a marker for inflammation. Thus, cycles of {fasting} are safe, feasible, and effective in reducing markers/risk factors for aging and age-related diseases.”

In one of the latest animal studies, published in the science journal, Molecular Cell, researchers used calorie restriction via fasting to examine the effects on vascular aging, which plays a role in how fast we age because these vessels supplying blood to body organs get damaged over time.

What this study found was that vascular aging can be delayed or prevented by fasting because calorie restriction causes the body to produce more molecules called Beta-hydroxybutyrate, a type of ketone. It is manufactured by the liver and becomes an energy source for the body when glucose is restricted, as happens with fasting.

Not only does this ketone, resulting from fasting, delay vascular aging, it triggers a sort of chain reaction in the body that helps keep the DNA of endothelial cells undamaged, a further boost for disease prevention and slower aging.


“B-Hydroxybutyrate Prevents Vascular Senescence through HnRNP A1-Mediated Upregulation of Oct4.” Han Y. Et al. Molecular Cell. September 2018.

“Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.” Wei W. Et al. Science Translational Medicine. February 2017.

Posted in Aging & Longevity on October 09 at 10:35 AM

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