December 26, 2019 - 13:10 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Scientists who have reviewed existing evidence on intermittent fasting—where large gaps are left between periods of eating—could have a range of health benefits, Newsweek reports.
Mark Mattson, a Johns Hopkins Medicine neuroscientist who adopted intermittent fasting himself 20 years ago, and his colleagues looked at studies involving animals and humans.
Intermittent fasting involves prolonged periods where an individual doesn't eat. The most common forms are alternate-day fasting, where food is cut out or heavily restricted every other day; 5:2 where one 500 to 700 calorie meal is eaten on two days per week; and daily-time restricted feeding, where a person will eat during a specific window, for instance eight hours.
In their review published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors showcase links between fasting and improvements in cognitive performance, cardiovascular health, physical performance, and symptoms of diabetes and obesity.
Many studies involving animals such as rats and some in humans indicate restricting eating times triggers what is known as metabolic switching, where the body's source of energy changes from sugar to fat, which could improve health span.
When food is restricted to 500 to 700 calories one or more days per week, the levels of molecules called ketones in the body rise. The metabolic switch could make the metabolism more flexible and efficient use in using energy, they believe. Ketones also appear to regulate the expression and activity of proteins linked to health and aging, and genes associated with psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.
The authors believe the method could prevent the body from creating free radicals—atoms which can damage cells—as well as aid with weight loss. But it also appears to trigger cellular responses between and in organs which help with blood sugar regulation, and make the body more resistant to stress and inflammation. The practice is thought to activate pathways which boost the body's defences against stresses, and helps to remove and repair damaged molecules.