Fasting has long been associated with religious rituals, diets, and political protests. Now new evidence from cardiac researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute demonstrates that routine periodic fasting is also good for your health, and your heart.
Today, research cardiologists at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute are reporting that fasting not only lowers one’s risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes, but also causes significant changes in a person’s blood cholesterol levels. Both diabetes and elevated cholesterol are known risk factors for coronary heart disease.
Would periodic fasting deliver the same benefits as a calorie restriction diet in terms of a potential increase in life expectancy? Periodic fasting strikes me as much easier to do than continually eating fewer calories than it takes to maintain a normal body weight. No need to go around continually gaunt, hungry, and less able to handle severe conditions.
The discovery expands upon a 2007 Intermountain Healthcare study that revealed an association between fasting and reduced risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death among men and women in America. In the new research, fasting was also found to reduce other cardiac risk factors, such as triglycerides, weight, and blood sugar levels.
Fasting drops insulin levels so that autophagy can be forced. Autophagy is an essential, homeostatic process by which cells break down their own components. Perhaps the most primordial function of this lysosomal degradation pathway is adaptation to nutrient deprivation.
In complex multicellular organisms, the core molecular machinery of autophagy – the ‘autophagy proteins’ – orchestrates diverse aspects of cellular and organismal responses to other dangerous stimuli such as infection. Recent developments reveal a crucial role for the autophagy pathway and proteins in immunity and inflammation. They balance the beneficial and detrimental effects of immunity and inflammation, and thereby may protect against infectious, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Autophagy, among other things, cleans up cell defects to prevent aging, cancer, heart attacks, dementia and other diseases of civilization. The only advantage of calorie restriction is that it lowers insulin levels so that autophagy can be forced. You can accomplish the same thing without all the suffering by eating a low carb paleo diet with occasional 16 to 24 hour fasts.