Effects of Fasting on Metabolism

I”ve been doing IF (intermittent fasting) for two weeks strong now, and in that time, I’ve converted at least one of my friends. He was initially concerned over what havoc IF might wreck on metabolism. Conveniently the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil recently published a review of relevant research on the topic. They considered over 22,000 publications for relevant findings and narrowed their search to 26 articles pertaining to the specific physiological impact of IF or fasting on metabolic parameters related to cardiovascular risk. At least in animals, IF diets reducing food intake are associated with neuroprotective effects. Anson et al., found that mice on IF diets had less histopathological (i.e. readouts) brain changes when treated with seizure and neuronal toxins. Also, IF caused oscillation of triglyceride (fat) metabolism between anabolism and catabolism in mice, which ended up reducing visible fat percentage and increasing subcutaneous fat. Importantly, total fat tissue mass remained constant–only the distribution of fat changed. In humans Kerndt et al. studied human subjects fasting for religious reasons and saw that after 33 days subjects had lower sodium levels. Lipolysis and ketogenesis increased, and glucose metabolism had increased. Also glycogenolysis had declined to barely detectable levels. Given the physiological changes due to fasting, it’s interesting to consider whether health insurance will evaluate potential clients based on religious practices. Fasting is associated with decrease in plasma glucose by 30%, insulin by 50%, increase protein oxidation for energy, and increased expression of GSK-3, a gene involved with glycogen reposition. The paper sums up human experiments: chart of IFSource

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1 Response

  1. Ablem says:

    This is very true.

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