HealthAnti-aging

2 Popular Intermittent Fasting Methods to Slow Down Aging

A quick overview on the popular intermittent fasting methods

Fasting, a brief period of food restriction can induce widespread upregulation of autophagy which may have a neuroprotective effect.  To know how this works, let’s have a quick look at autophagy and how to fast.

Autophagy, Intermittent Fasting and Fasting

According to Wikipedia, Fasting is a willful refrainment from eating and sometimes drinking. 

Intermittent Fasting refers to an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.

Autophagy is an intracellular recycling process induced in response to stresses such as nutrient deprivation, hyperthermia, and hypoxia – a reaction induced by fasting or intermittent fasting. This recycling process reuses the damaged cells to support protein production and cellular repair.

Aging is the gradual failure of cellular repair mechanisms over time that lead to the accumulation of molecular and cellular damage and loss of function.  The cell’s capacity for autophagic degradation also declines with age, and this in itself may contribute to the aging process.

Increasing evidence suggests that autophagy can be beneficial to aging and vital to age-related diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer.

Evidence is mounting that eating for 6 hours and fasting for 18 hours might cause a metabolic transition from glucose to ketone energy, resulting in enhanced stress tolerance, lifespan, and a lower incidence of illnesses like cancer and obesity.

Is Fasting Good for You?

Low calorie food good for intermittent fasting

Dietary restriction, intermittent fasting (reduced meal frequency), and caloric restriction extend lifespan, support weight loss, regulate glucose, increase neuronal resistance to injury, and increase resistance to age-related diseases – enhancing cardiovascular and brain functions and improving risk factors coronary artery disease and stroke. Recently it has been shown to improve gut health, memory, and successful brain aging.   So far, there is a lack of evidence on any adverse effect on the physical and mental aspects.

Recently, Intermittent fasting had been proven as a good source of anti-aging mechanisms and elongated life processes. It was also made evident in the recent research focusing on the effects of fasting over frailty that it is sufficient to reduce aging-related weakness, at least in males.

It is worthwhile to consider adopting a regular intermittent fasting regimen for metabolic health and anti-aging reasons since periodic fasting (withdrawing from food for at least 48 hours every two or more weeks) and caloric restriction is not commonly sustainable in the long term for most humans.

Below is a highlight of two popular intermittent fasting methods and the associated studies for consideration; both showed positive impacts on body weight, metabolic parameters, and glucose regulation.

Time-restricted Feeding 16/8

Limiting any meal consumption time during 8 continuous hours; leaving 16 hours of fasting

  • Time-restricted feeding can help weight loss or efficient weight stabilization even if applied 5 out of 7 days a week (green light to cheat on the weekends!)
  • The study also showed that the time-restricted diet protects against fat accumulation and related inflammation, reduces insulin resistance, cholesterols, and improves metabolic capacity (fitness).
  • Combined with resistance training, a time-restricted diet can decrease fat mass and at least maintain muscle mass.
  • A time-restricted feeding can render 5 times of resistance to weight gain on a high-fat diet compared to no restriction.

Alternate Day Fasting

Food is withdrawn for 24 hours on alternate days, with water provided ad libitum

It renders equal or better benefits of caloric restriction, including glucose regulation and neuronal resistance to injury.  Intermittent fasting with food-restricted for 24 or 48 hours induces profound neuronal autophagy and has cancer-preventive effects.

Some eating recommendations before and after fasting:

  1. It is usually recommended to follow a balanced and healthy diet with all the food groups in it. Mediterranean Diet is highly recommended. There is no proper way to follow it. The plan can be adjusted according to one’s needs and preferences and keeping one’s BMI and caloric intake and its restrictions in mind.
  2. People with diabetes: Patients who suffer from Type2 Diabetes are advised to have enough protein when they eat. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements may be required to avoid hypoglycemia. Keep a check on hydration is recommended.
  3. Cardiovascular problems: It is strongly recommended to avoid fasting protocol in case of recent Myocardial Infarction (MI).

Not to forget that…

You should see your primary health care physician before beginning a fasting regimen, especially if you have any current health issues. Fasting for lengthy periods is not recommended for some people, particularly pregnant women and those with specific health problems such as diabetes.

Whether it’s to anti-age on a cellular level, control weight, or lose weight, it is vital to integrate the practice into your lifestyle to reap the long-term health benefits of fasting.  Select a diet plan and a workout routine that you know you can stick to – a sustainable plan – to make it work for you.

At any time, choose your food – to anti-age and to treat your body with nutritious ingredients and food; this naturally applies to the non-fast hours or days. Consider breaking your fast with a meal that is rich in antioxidants and fiber content too!

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Lois Chan

Lois has worked in the health and skincare industry since 2004. Highly optimistic about aging, she is still pragmatic enough to prepare thoroughly for the future. PrimeWithTime.com is Lois' brainchild; a website offering scientifically researched solutions to challenges that people face in every stage of their lives. Join her on her journey for wisdom through the ages.

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