Intermittent Fasting Promotes General Health and Longevity
There is lots of research showing that fasting has a beneficial impact on longevity, and there are a number of mechanisms contributing to this effect.
Normalizing insulin sensitivity is a Key one, but fasting also inhibits the mTOR pathway, which plays an important part in driving the aging process when it is excessively activated. The fact that it improves a number of potent disease markers also contributes to fasting’s overall beneficial effects on general health.
Interestingly, research shows that fasting increases cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein aka LDL, often misconstrued as “bad” cholesterol by an average of 14% and high-density lipoprotein aka HDL or “good” cholesterol by 6%.
Conventional medicine tells us cholesterol should be as low as possible to avoid heart disease, this is more myth than fact.
The reason cholesterol may go up when fasting is because cholesterol is part of the biochemical chain that allows the human body to process fat.
Dr. Benjamin D. Horne, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, and the study’s lead author, explains: “Fasting causes hunger or stress. In response, the body releases more cholesterol, allowing it to utilize fat as a source of fuel, instead of glucose. This decreases the number of fat cells in the body … This is important because the fewer fat cells a body has, the less likely it will experience insulin resistance, or diabetes.”
Dr. Horne also found that fasting triggers a dramatic increase in human growth hormone (HGH) — 1,300% in women, and 2,000% in men. The only other thing that can compete in terms of dramatically boosting HGH levels is high-intensity interval training.
HGH, commonly referred to as “the fitness hormone,” plays an important role in maintaining health, fitness and longevity, including promotion of muscle growth and boosting fat loss by revving up your metabolism.
Fasting also upregulates autophagy and mitophagy: the natural cleansing processes necessary for optimal cellular renewal and function and triggers the generation of stem cells.
The cyclical abstinence from food followed by re-feeding also massively stimulates mitochondrial biosynthesis.
Importantly, most of these rejuvenating and regenerating benefits occur during the re-feeding phase, not the fasting phase. The same holds true for nutritional ketosis, which produces the greatest benefits when pulsed: meaning cycling between low net-carb and higher net-carb intakes.
Studies have also found compelling links between fasting and reduced risk of heart disease.
A study in Y 2012 study found those who fasted on a regular basis had a 58% lower risk of coronary disease compared to those who never fasted. Regular fasting was also found to be associated with lower glucose levels and lower body mass index overall.
As there are caveats with intermittent fasting, such as the importance of eating real food and avoiding sugar and processed and fast foods when we do eat, these are the same caveats when it comes to nutritional ketosis too.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively