In my research over the last year, I have come across more and more articles discussing the value and importance of prolonged and intermittent fasting as it relates to regenerative medicine.
While studies on intermittent fasting, or IF, as it’s known in shorthand, are published in scientific journals, the results and the benefits are steadily making their way into the mainstream.
I recently read an article in Longevity.Technology that compared prolonged fasting with IF that piqued my interest and I wanted to share some of the finer points with you.
ONE: How does fasting work?
In the simplest form, fasting works by activating a process called ketosis. Ketosis occurs when you haven’t eaten for an extended period of time and your body doesn't have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and produces ketones, which it can use for fuel. This is called being in “ketosis”.
TWO: What is the difference between IF and prolonged fasting?
Prolonged fasting occurs when you choose to not eat for a long period of time; anywhere from 24 to 48 to 72 hours. You consume water and occasionally some nutrients during this time, but little to no calories. As you can imagine, this strategy of fasting is too difficult for many people to attempt or maintain.
Thankfully, practicing IF allows you to obtain many of the benefits of prolonged fasting with a much more manageable eating schedule. The sweet spots for these IF regiments is typically between 18 and 24 hours, which is why the 16-hour fast followed by an 8-hour eating window is so popular. Many who follow this schedule begin their fast at 8pm and don’t eat until the following day at 12pm.
During that eating window starting at 12pm, people practicing IF eat all of their meals for the day. You may feel like you can loosen up on your diet since you just fasted, but I would not recommend that. I’d still limit or ban sugars altogether and cut carbohydrates down to a bare minimum.
THREE: Does fasting affect longevity?
Whether you choose to try IF or prolonged fasting, both methods affect nutrient sensing pathways. One such pathway is called the AMPK pathway which helps drive glucose into the cells and thus decreases glucose levels. Stimulation of the AMPK pathway definitely is associated with longevity. At the same time, fasting also down-regulates the mTOR pathway.
FOUR: What are the other benefits of IF?
One very important aspect of intermittent fasting involves the process of autophagy. Just as important as the weight loss aspects of IF, autophagy has tremendous health benefits as well.
Autophagy plays a housekeeping role in removing improperly folded or aggregated proteins, clearing damaged organelles (intracellular structures), such as mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, both of which are important in energy production.
In addition to the elimination of intracellular aggregates and damaged organelles, autophagy promotes cellular senescence and cell surface antigen presentation, which protects against genome instability and prevents necrosis.
Taking things one step further, autophagy plays a key role in preventing diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, liver disease, autoimmune diseases and infections.
In conclusion, IF may provide a host of health benefits and for many people it is certainly worth practicing.
- Dr. P
This is the recent article that I found valuable:
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