Breaking Medical News: Fasting

I have attached a link to a recent review of intermittent fasting, published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Many of you have asked me about this method of weight loss. In animal models, and in smaller studies of predominantly overweight young and middle-aged adults, there appear to be broad benefits for many health conditions. Specifically, benefits have been seen in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and neurologic disorders. While I am not encouraging or discouraging this form of dieting, there does seem to be something to it, and perhaps the greatest limitation is one’s ability to stick to it.

From time to time, I will create blog entries focused on health stories covered by the media. I hope you find this helpful.

From New England Journal Of Medicine - Dec. 26, 2019 Issue

Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease

By Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., and Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D.

According to Weindruch and Sohal in a 1997 article in the Journal, reducing food availability over a lifetime (caloric restriction) has remarkable effects on aging and the life span in animals.1 The authors proposed that the health benefits of caloric restriction result from a passive reduction in the production of damaging oxygen free radicals. At the time, it was not generally recognized that because rodents on caloric restriction typically consume their entire daily food allotment within a few hours after its provision, they have a daily fasting period of up to 20 hours, during which ketogenesis occurs. Since then, hundreds of studies in animals and scores of clinical studies of controlled intermittent fasting regimens have been conducted in which metabolic switching from liver-derived glucose to adipose cell–derived ketones occurs daily or several days each week. Although the magnitude of the effect of intermittent fasting on life-span extension is variable (influenced by sex, diet, and genetic factors), studies in mice and nonhuman primates show consistent effects of caloric restriction on the health span. MORE



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