The concept of intermittent fasting has gained popularity in health and wellness circles. Touted for its weight loss benefits, intermittent fasting offers a lot more health benefits including improvement in mental and physical health markers, slowing down disease progression and has anti-aging effects too.
But, before we discuss how intermittent fasting can help to slow aging, it is important to understand what intermittent fasting is.
- What Is Intermittent Fasting?
- Effects Of Intermittent Fasting On The Body
- Intermittent Fasting And Longevity Benefits
- Other Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
- How Does Intermittent Fasting Slow Aging? Summing Up
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is essentially the term used for many fasting protocols, where food is eaten during a specific time window and outside the window, no food or very little food is eaten. There are 3 main intermittent fasting protocols:
- Entire Day Fasting Protocol: This is where you fast on certain days while eating regularly on other days. For instance, in the 5:2 protocol, you eat normally during 5 days of the week and restrict your calorie intake severely on the other 2 days.
- Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) Protocol: In this, you eat on alternate days and fast on the other days by restricting your calorie consumption.
- Time-Restricted Fasting Protocol: In this protocol, you eat during the same time window daily. In this protocol, typically, the eating window is 4, 6 or 8 hours. People commonly follow the 8-hour option, where they eat during the 8-hour window and fast for up to 16 hours. For instance have your last meal for the day at say 7pm and then not eat again until 10 or 11 am.
Effects Of Intermittent Fasting On The Body
Intermittent or even temporary fasting causes changes at the cellular level, which are beneficial to your body. Intermittent fasting can help you lead a longer and healthier life because it helps in:
- Fighting Inflammation: Intermittent fasting can help to reduce chronic inflammation in the body.
- Protecting Against Oxidative Stress: It protects the cell from damage caused by free radicals.
- Cellular Repair: Helps to repair cells and enables them to eliminate waste that causes cell damage.
- Hormonal Changes: Regulates hormonal changes in the body, thereby promoting longevity.
- Gene Expression: Promotes changes in the genes thus helping to prevent diseases and promote longevity.
Intermittent Fasting And Longevity Benefits
It is seen that by restricting the calorie intake, the cellular damage is reduced and this helps to maintain healthy DNA, which is the main factor when it comes to combating aging.
This is because inflamed and damaged cells cause chronic disease and when the DNA begins wearing down, aging starts. While restricting calories can provide anti-aging benefits, a diet requires you to cut calories by around 30% to 40% and people often get tired of sticking to a diet and give up in the long run.
This is where intermittent fasting has emerged as a feasible and more effective alternative to dieting and offers the same anti-aging benefits without the need to follow impossible dietary restrictions.
So, how does intermittent fasting affect aging? Intermittent fasting helps to supercharge your metabolism and this helps your body to break down the nutrients and burn more calories quickly and efficiently.
Intermittent fasting also helps to slow down the degradation of the DNA and boosts DNA repair, resulting in the slowing down of the aging process.
Intermittent fasting also helps to increase the oxidant levels in the body, which helps to prevent the cells in the body from being damaged by the free radicals and also reduces chronic inflammation.
Other Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Helps You Live Longer
Intermittent fasting can help to improve blood pressure, good cholesterol levels and the resting heart rate, all of which are beneficial for your heart health. Fasting may help to inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancer cells in the body.
It also has anti-inflammatory, as well as cognitive benefits, which enables the body to combat aging. Intermittent fasting can help you shed abdominal fat and lose weight, in turn, improving your health and preventing chronic diseases that can reduce your lifespan.
Helps In Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting forces the body to use its energy reserves, resulting in more effective metabolism. And, after a period of fasting, the cells in the body absorb the nutrients such as glucose, amino acids, etc. from the food better.
Intermittent fasting also helps to increase insulin sensitivity, thus, keeping your sugar levels in control. Finally, fasting can help to limit your food intake and restrict the calories you consume, helping you to lose weight.
Helps To Reduce Inflammation In The Body
When you eat all through the day every few hours, the body is overworked without any time to rest and recover. And, if you are eating constantly, especially processed foods, then this can cause chronic inflammation in the body, which can cause serious conditions and diseases like Multiple sclerosis (MS), Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), etc.
Intermittent fasting where you eat during certain hours and fast during other times, allows your body to rest and recuperate.
Supports Brain Function
When you are fasting, your body produces more Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), or abrineurin, a protein that supports memory and learning. As you age, the BDNF production decreases, increasing the risk of diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
It has been seen that intermittent fasting can help immensely in slowing down the progression of such neurodegenerative diseases and disorders.
Helps To Slow Down The Progression Of Disease
Studies showed that intermittent fasting could help to delay the onset of symptoms of MS (multiple sclerosis) in mice. The study also showed that intermittent fasting had anti-inflammatory effects, which can be beneficial for people suffering from arthritis. It is also seen that intermittent fasting can help to reverse insulin resistance in people suffering from type-2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Slow Aging? Summing Up
In conclusion, intermittent fasting has caught on and become quite popular over the last decade. It has been seen to offer plenty of benefits, both in terms of physical and mental health.
If followed properly, intermittent fasting can be a great addition to the treatment of any chronic condition, as well as for your overall health. In short, intermittent fasting can help you live a better, healthier and longer life.