Everyone seems to be jumping on the fasting train. You may have heard about the health benefits of intermittent fasting. Aside from weight loss, fasting can positively impact your health, and history points to this evidence. Decades of studies in both animals and humans, published in such articles as the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrate fasting’s effect on the body--influencing the digestive system, systemic inflammation, immune response, endocrine function and much more.
Even religious practices dating thousands of years indicate the mystic health qualities of fasting. The Islamic religion fasts for a month, with no food or drink during the day. In Judaism, religious fasts last from sundown to sundown. The bible also references fasting in Christianity, stating that it provided more space for spiritual growth and connection to God.
Clinical studies on fasting practices, such as intermittent fasting, which calls for 16 hours of fasting and an 8 hour window for eating, have indicated proven health benefits in weight loss, cancer prevention, anti aging, hormone and blood sugar regulation, reduction in systemic inflammation, reduction in cardiovascular risk, increase in stem cell production, increase in human growth hormone, improved body composition and more.
Intermittent fasting is said to mimic our ancestors whose lives did not revolve around three meals a day. During the 8 hour feeding time, people who practice intermittent fasting will generally eat 1-2 meals a day and then give their bodies a rest from food for the rest of the day and evening, providing the digestive tract with “recovery time.” If you think about it, your digestive system works extremely hard to break down food into nutrients and waste. Providing it with time to rest allows for a stronger digestive system that isn’t overloaded with constant work.
Although fasting may reduce calorie load, that’s not the only reason that intermittent fasting frequently results in weight loss. Fasting also influences how the body utilizes and stores energy and fat, switching its prime energy source to ketones rather than glucose stored in the liver. This means your body is burning fat.
Ketones also serve as signaling molecules which affect your health systemically down to the cellular level. When ketones flood your bloodstream, your body is more capable of fighting oxidative and metabolic stress and reducing systemic inflammation. This is known as ketogenesis.
Of course, you can’t fast once and expect results; they happen gradually over time. Practicing a ritual of intermittent fasting results in long-term benefits that can impact your mental and physical performance as well as overall immune system. In other words, you just might start aging in reverse!
Here are some of the findings:
Intermittent fasting can impact your metabolism by shifting how your body burns fat. It’s not just about calories in, calories out. When you fast, your muscles shift to burning fat over carbs, which stabilizes blood sugar levels. Studies show that fasting can increase your metabolic rate by up to 14%.
Worried about losing muscle mass when you diet? You might want to try fasting instead. Standard calorie-restricted diets may reduce muscle mass, however, studies show that intermittent fasting is able to better preserve muscle mass and focus more on fat loss, particularly in overweight people.
Looking to stay young forever? You might want to try fasting. Just 24 hours of fasting increases HGH levels by up to 2000%, according to research.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is responsible for keeping your skin looking young, your brain sharp and your organs functioning optimally--all key factors of what we define as youthful. HGH helps increase cellular turnover and may even be instrumental in maintaining muscle mass and a youthful physical appearance. Human Growth Hormone maintains the repair and detoxification processes that are innate in our bodies, which naturally diminish as we age. With elevated levels of HGH, your body is able to effectively remove wastes from the cellular level. This inward “detailing job” translates to a youthful appearance.
But fasting also may increase our lifespan! In animal studies, rats who fasted every other day lived longer than those who didn’t fast. How much longer? 83% longer in some studies!
Other animal studies show more modest life extension, but still significant, with intermittent fasting increasing life span up to 38%. It’s not certain, however, if these studies can translate to similar outcomes in humans, as more research is needed.
Free radicals can cause damage in the body. This is called oxidative stress and is considered to be responsible for multiple disease states. Intermittent fasting, however, has been shown in studies to help reduce oxidative stress.
Intermittent fasting also fights related systemic inflammation, particularly in the digestive tract. Since fasting gives your digestive system a much-needed break from its cumbersome tasks, it helps the gut rebuild its mucosal lining and prevent inflammatory illnesses such as Leaky Gut Syndrome, which can ignite systemic inflammation and contribute to further illness, such as autoimmune diseases.
A recent study examined the effects of intermittent fasting on inflammation and found that those who practiced intermittent fasting had lower biomarkers for inflammation. The researchers found that those who fasted had fewer monocytes in the blood. Monocytes are the cells responsible for inflammation. In addition, the monocytes in participants who fasted were much more benign than those who didn’t fast. In other words, the existing monocytes were less likely to result in disease-causing inflammation.
Overeating and not taking breaks from constant eating seems to play a role in producing more monocytes and the accompanying systemic inflammation, which leads to various manifestations of disease. Restricting eating times to a schedule of eating only between the hours of 11 AM- 7 PM aligns with our natural circadian rhythms and may help improve gut health and rebuild a flourishing and healthy microbiome.
Probiotics can also improve gut transit time and immune function and help the body to naturally detoxify.
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To assist the body in detoxifying on a cellular level and reduce oxidative stress, check out our MicroActive CoQ10 Enhanced with MicroPQQ + Shilajit. This formulation provides increased energy, cellular detoxification and improved exercise endurance to help you achieve your health and wellness goals.
We were told that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” We were told to eat every two hours to fuel our metabolism. . .but maybe what we were told is not completely true. It is evident that most people are overeating. It is also evident that many are plagued with systemic inflammation and the multiple health issues that arise with it. Along with making wise choices about which foods to consume, perhaps eating less and eating less often can improve our health and wellness.