Fasting Can Help You Live Longer
By Dr. Mercola
The types and quality of food you eat influences more than how much you weigh. Food has an effect on your metabolism, insulin production, leptin release and a myriad of other hormonal and chemical balances.
Scientists are also examining the way fasting affects cellular and mitochondrial function, and longevity.
They’ve found the cells in your body react to fasting in much the same way as they do to exercise. In other words, when placed under stress — be it exercise or fasting–the reaction creates changes at the cellular level that helps extend your lifespan.1
For starters, fasting shifts your body from using glucose as its primary fuel to fat, and being an efficient fat-burner benefits your health beyond weight loss.
Although much of the research is on fasting or intermittent fasting, the newer term is sometimes referred to as TRF (Time Restricted Feeding) which promotes eating in a narrow window of time, typically 6-8 hours.
Efficient Fat Burning Promotes Health
Fat is a far cleaner burning fuel than carbohydrates and generates far less free radicals,
Glucose is an inherently “dirty” fuel as it generates far more reactive oxygen species (ROS) than fat. But to burn fat, your cells must be healthy and normal. Cancer cells, for example, cannot burn fat, and this why a healthy high fat diet appears to be such an effective anti-cancer strategy.
We’re now starting to realize that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the core of virtually all diseases, and nutritional intervention — not only what you eat, but also when, and how often — is of key importance.
To summarize, mitochondrial health is promoted by eating real food; avoiding food at least 3 hours before bedtime; and intermittently fasting.
What Happens When You Fast?
Fasting is a biological stressor with several amazing health benefits, including normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity, promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production, reducing oxidative stress and lowering triglyceride levels.
And now a team of researchers from the University of Southern California believe they have discovered yet another benefit: The regeneration of stem cells.2
During the initial 14-16 hours of not eating, your body burns through almost all of your carb (glycogen) stores in your muscles and liver. Once those glycogen stores have been depleted, your body turns to fat stores for energy. Intermittent fasting teaches your body to efficiently burn fat for fuel.
Intermittent Fasting Can Help Regenerate Your Entire Immune System
In an adult, the undifferentiated stem cells found in tissues and organs are used by the body to renew itself. The primary role of these cells is to maintain and repair the tissues where they are found.3
Another effect of fasting is autophagy. When this vital process occurs in the mitochondria it is called mitophagy. This is when your body begins to eat itself in an orderly pattern to remove damage parts from your body.
Although it sounds like something you’d want to avoid, this particular process is healthy and helps your body to “clean house.” According to Colin Champ, M.D. and certified radiation oncologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center:4
“Think of it as our body’s innate recycling program. Autophagy makes us more efficient machines to get rid of faulty parts, stop cancerous growths, and stop metabolic dysfunction like obesity and diabetes.”
Mitophagy happens at the cellular level where the membranes break down and your body recycles what’s healthy and uses the rest for energy, or to make new parts. This process may also play a role in controlling the amount of inflammation in your body.
When scientists engineered rats incapable of
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