Intermittent Fasting is not so much a diet as it is a regimen for eating. There are a number of strategies for intermittent fasting—Some practitioners restrict caloric intake in its entirety 14-16 hours per day. Others regularly take 24-hour breaks from food. In general, however, Intermittent Fasting is a dietary choice to refrain from eating for longer periods of time than are considered normal, to encourage improved physiological function and health. The following are some of the potential advantages of Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Improves Gene Expression, Hormone Balance, and Cellular Function
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Fasting causes some distinct changes in the way that your body functions, and for the most part, these changes are highly beneficial. The body can recalibrate in the absence of a food source allowing it to more effectively take care of its own energy needs without relying on the crutch of a constant food supply. The following are just a selection of physiological changes which take place when you enter a fasting state:
- The pituitary produces more HGH in response to fasting, encouraging enhanced cellular metabolism and protecting against the effects of Hypopituitarism.
- The Pancreas reduces insulin production in response to lower levels of blood glucose. This gives the pancreas an opportunity to rest and recover, it preserves insulin sensitivity, and it triggers the body to start burning existing body fat reserves.
- Rather than focus on processing food and waste, the body can expend resources on cellular renewal, repair, and regeneration.
- Intermittent Fasting also triggers the expression of many genes that are associated with immune health and overall longevity.
Intermittent Fasting Encourages Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting is also a highly effective means to encourage weight loss, both because it helps you to eat less and it causes your body to reconfigure its energy processes to expend more energy from fat. That means that, even if your caloric intake is the same, your body will still burn more calories.
There are a variety of reasons why Intermittent Fasting leads to weight loss, but the benefits are largely the result of changes in hormone balance. Because the body is producing more natural HGH and less insulin, this causes the body to burn fat more effectively. Furthermore, Intermittent Fasting also boosts norepinephrine production, which is a stress hormone which, unlike Cortisol, provides a number of physiological benefits, including weight loss, improved cardiovascular output, and more.
Overall, research has shown that Intermittent Fasting improves Basal Metabolism by between 3.6 and 14%, a range which is highly beneficial at least and tremendous at best!
Intermittent Fasting Wards off Type-2 Diabetes
Type-2 Diabetes is a lifestyle-related Hormone Disorder which is currently afflicting Americans in epidemic proportion. A combination of over-reliance on processed foods, overeating, and sedentary lifestyle, among other factors, has led to this incredible uptick in cases of Type-2 Diabetes.
Intermittent Fasting is highly effective at controlling insulin levels and allowing the Pancreas time to rest and recover, as well as boosting the body's sensitivity to Insulin. By improving the body's ability to maximize the effectiveness of Insulin production, it helps maintain regulated blood sugar, which enhances health and wellness in a variety of ways, and protects the body from many dangerous and potentially life-threatening conditions.
It's important to note that these benefits seem consistent in men, but women may experience different results. One study produced results which suggested that 22 days of Intermittent Fasting slightly impaired blood sugar maintenance. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new diet protocol.
Intermittent Fasting May Be Highly Beneficial to Cardiovascular Health
One of the current caps to global longevity in the first world is Heart Disease. In fact, no other medical condition has a death toll higher than heart disease. Of course, this means that billions of dollars of research money have been spent to learn more about how to protect ourselves from heart disease and to understand the risk factors associated with the condition.
Intermittent Fasting appears to have a tremendous positive impact on heart health, providing relief from many of its associated risk factors. For example, Intermittent Fasting helps control blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and reduces triglycerides, LDL Cholesterol, Total Cholesterol, and Blood Pressure. There's still more work to be done to figure out how to convert this research into an action plan against heart disease, but the future is coming quickly!
Intermittent Fasting Encourages Cellular Rejuvenation
Though the human body is a masterwork of physiological processes and mechanisms, even our cells are incredibly complex and fascinating. Our cells go through a number of operations which closely compare to those of the body as a whole. Like the body, our cells need a way to break down and remove waste. This mechanism is known as autophagy. The organelles within our cells break down sometimes, just like any other body part. Proteins stop working as intended and become potentially damaging.
The process of autophagy is how our cells recognize these dangerous materials, quarantine them, break them down, and evacuate them. By encouraging improved cellular repair and recycling, we may be able to protect against Alzheimer's, cancer, and a variety of other conditions related to impaired breakdown of rogue proteins.
Evidence Suggests that Intermittent Fasting Reduces Cancer Risk
Cancer is the result of genetic breakdown which leads cells to replicate and divide uncontrollably. Many of the previous benefits relate directly to a suppression of cancer risk. By improving genetic expression and helping the body deal with autophagy and other restorative processes more effectively, the body can correct issues before they become problematic and out of control.
There is even some evidence that shows that Intermittent Fasting can help patients cope with cancer treatment and experience improved outcomes. To date, most cancer studies related to intermittent fasting are drawn from animal research, but the evidence is highly promising.
Intermittent Fasting is Good for Psychological and Cognitive Health
The more that we understand about human physiology, the clearer that it becomes that the body and mind are intrinsically connected. Even the hormones like serotonin and dopamine which are so critical for psychological health have specialized roles in other systems of the body. The health of the brain is impacted by a variety of factors which also influence overall health, such as Insulin Sensitivity, blood sugar, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Intermittent Fasting has a beneficial effect on all of these factors.
Furthermore, there is evidence that Intermittent Fasting can benefit neurological health, encouraging the development and growth of new nerve cells, which can significantly enhance brain function, especially in aging men and women. Advances in scientific knowledge have shown that Intermittent Fasting has a positive influence on the activity of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, a recently discovered hormone which appears to be highly influential in protecting the brain from psychological and neurological issues, including depression.
Intermittent Fasting May Help Protect Against and Slow the Advancement of Alzheimer's Disease
As men and women live longer, Alzheimer's disease becomes more widespread and common. Though we are just beginning to learn the Hows and Whys of Alzheimer's Disease, it appears that Intermittent Fasting does have a beneficial role to play in protecting against the devastating neurological condition. There is animal research that provides evidence that Intermittent Fasting may be able to mitigate the symptoms of Alzheimer's to a certain extent, as well as slow the onset of the disease. Also, in human palliative research, the symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease appear to be more manageable when paired with Intermittent Fasting. Promising research suggests that Intermittent Fasting may also be beneficial in the treatment of other neurological conditions such as Huntington's and Parkinson's Disease.
Intermittent Fasting Can Increase Lifespan by Reducing Mortality Risk
As you can tell by reading this article, if only a fraction of these benefits are highly influential, Intermittent Fasting can still have a profound impact on longevity. Animal research has shown that Intermittent Fasting produces similar benefits as Caloric Restriction without significantly impairing energy and caloric intake. In rats, research has demonstrated life-extension of more than 80% as a direct result of Intermittent Fasting.
Of course, human and rodent physiology share some significant differences as well as some profound similarities, so the evidence will bear itself out in the future. Though the life-extension in humans may not be as extreme, it's clear that Intermittent Fasting provides many of the benefits necessary to induce a longer lifespan. We encourage you to consider Intermittent Fasting as a lifestyle choice!
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