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Fasting kills off old and damaged immune cells, and when the body rebounds,… it uses stem cells to create brand new, completely healthy cells.
Wow…! What an opportunity to rebuild your body by leaving your plate empty for a few meals a week.
As all new fads go… this one might come and go. And yet, there are some interesting points being presented in a TEDx talk given by Neuroscientist and professor, Mark Mattson.
This topic can seem thick with science.. so, here are the main points to discover and how you can benefit from intermittent fasting.
(Scroll down to view video)
What you need to know…
This is research about your cellular and molecular mechanisms that affect multi-symptom diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and Neuropathy, Metabolic Syndrome, and a slew of other autoimmune diseases.
“Calorie restriction (CR) extends life span and retards age-related chronic diseases in a variety of species, including rats, mice, fish, flies, worms, and yeast. The mechanism or mechanisms through which this occurs are unclear.” – Dr Mattson
Science is unclear because we do not have the microscopic lenses that can see the 4-nanometer thick cell lining in action. (VIDEO: How big is a nanometer? )
The cell lining is where cell energy, ATP, is created.
Scientists guess at what is good or bad to eat, and when to eat, based on a type of biology study called ‘systems biology.’ (VIDEO: The old and the new systems biology, explained)
Systems Biology uses animals, such as rats, mice, fish, etc…to study how the biological systems of the human body react and behave when laboratory material is introduced into the animals’ body.
If the system breaks down in the form of cancer or system failure, the material is not deemed suitable for human consumption.
These tests are repeated and, depending on how much lobby money is used to support the testing, or testing facility, there may be some level of approval given regardless of the effect on the system biology. (Video: TEDx – Astroturfing. How Lobby money is used to create fake websites and blogs)
“Why is it that the normal diet is three meals a day plus snacks? It isn’t that it’s the healthiest eating pattern, now that’s my opinion but I think there is a lot of evidence to support that. There are a lot of pressures to have that eating pattern, there’s a lot of money involved. The food industry — are they going to make money from skipping breakfast like I did today? No, they’re going to lose money.” – Dr. Mattson
How is Big Pharma Involved….
There have been countless examples of the manipulation of published research at the hands of pharmaceutical companies in recent years. This is why Harvard Professor of Medicine Arnold Dr. Arnold Symour Relman told the world that the medical profession has been bought by the pharmaceutical industry. (photo credit, New York Times)
It’s why Dr. Richard Horton, Editor in Chief of The Lancet, recently stated that much of the scientific literature published today is simply untrue. (photo credit,nationalrighttolifenews)
It’s why Dr. Marcia Angell, the former Editor in Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, said that the “pharmaceutical industry likes to depict itself as a research-based industry, as the source of innovative drugs. Nothing could be further from the truth.” (photo credit, Harvard Medical School)
And it’s why John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, published an article titled “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” which subsequently became the most widely accessed article in the history of the Public Library of Science (PLoS). (photo credit, Stanford Medicine Profiles)
Let’s Dive Into The Research ….
Dr. Mattson and his team have published several papers that discuss how fasting twice a week could significantly lower the risk of developing both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
“Dietary changes have long been known to have an effect on the brain. Children who suffer from epileptic seizures have fewer of them when placed on caloric restriction or fasts. It is believed that fasting helps kick-start protective measures that help counteract the overexcited signals that epileptic brains often exhibit. (Some children with epilepsy have also benefited from a specific high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.) Normal brains, when overfed, can experience another kind of uncontrolled excitation, impairing the brain’s function, Mattson and another researcher reported in January in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience.”(source)
Basically, when you take a look at caloric restriction studies, many of them show a prolonged lifespan as well as an increased ability to fight chronic disease.
What Benefit Does Fasting Offer…
Fasting does good things for the brain, and this is evident by all of the beneficial neuro-chemical changes that happen in the brain when we fast. It also improves cognitive function, increases stress resistance, and reduces inflammation.
Fasting is a challenge to your brain, and your brain responds to that challenge by adapting stress response pathways which help your brain cope with stress and risk for disease.
The same changes that occur in the brain during fasting mimic the changes that occur with regular exercise. They both increase the production of protein in the brain, which in turn promotes the growth of neurons, the connection between neurons, and the strength of synapses.
“Intermittent fasting enhances the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA.”
He also goes into the evolutionary aspect of this theory – how our ancestors adapted and were built for going long periods of time without food.
A study published in the June 5 issue of Cell Stem Cell by researchers from the University of Southern California showed that cycles of prolonged fasting protect against immune system damage. They concluded that fasting shifts stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal. It triggers stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system. (source)
“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration . . . When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged. What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. ” – Valter Longo, corresponding author (source)
A scientific review of multiple scientific studies regarding fasting was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007. It examined a multitude of both human and animal studies and determined that fasting is an effective way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. It also showed significant potential in treating diabetes. (source)
Before You Fast…
Before you fast, make sure you do your research. Personally, I use food as a way of feeding my body… and listen to when my body tells me to give my digestion a rest. I always make sure to drink plenty of water during my times of no food. And, of course, … please check with your physician prior to starting any change in your diet.
Option Plan 1:
If you want to follow along with a “plan” … One recommended way of doing it — which was tested by the BBC’s Michael Mosley in order to reverse his diabetes, high cholesterol, and other problems that were associated with his obesity — is what is known as the “5:2 Diet.” It works on calorie consumption – not a plan I would suggest following if you’re not into counting calories.
On the 5:2 plan, you cut your food down to one-fourth of your normal daily calories on fasting days (about 600 calories for men and about 500 for women), while consuming plenty of water and tea. On the other five days of the week, you can eat normally.
Option Plan 2:
This is the way I would suggest trying. It is far more organic and fits the behavior of many lifestyles.
The whole idea is to restrict your food intake between the hours of 11 am and 7 pm daily, while not eating during the hours outside of that time. This is Old School eating habits. The kind of eating habits your great grandparents had… when food was homemade and chosen to feed your body what it needs, and long before we had access to easy food on every corner, 24 hours a day.
This plan is super easy to follow and mostly gives your digestive system a chance to “catch up” and “relax”. And.. during these times of relaxation, your body can return to chemical balance
Discover the value of metabolic healing here…
A wonderful side effect of eating like this is addressing the emotion associated with eating. By choosing to limit your access to food, you will discover the areas of your emotion that are connected to a pattern of self-soothing, and notice when you are tempted to reach for a comfort meal.
Here is a great article by Dr. Mercola. He explains how intermittent fasting can help you live a healthier life.
Best of Living Healthy!