Research Roundup #5: This Week’s Fasting News from Around the Web
THE LATEST NEWS AND RESEARCH UPDATES ON FASTING
Welcome to the Fast Insider News Roundup
Every week, we’re bringing you a round-up of the latest fasting, health, and wellness news to hit the wire. There are many ways that fasting converges with lifestyle to improve change day to day life as we know it. This week, we look at the problems associated with eating late at night, the likely benefits of a ketogenic diet and fasting for preventing heart failure and treating cancer, and the advantages of an easily doable 12-hour fast.
The case against eating late
Researchers have for decades seen links between meal timing and certain health outcomes, with later meals proving to be more problematic. People who ate meals within two hours of going to bed, for instance, appeared to be more prone to becoming overweight, and night-shift workers are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
While research on the mechanisms behind these outcomes is ongoing, what is definitive is that what and when you eat are both important, says Jonathan Jun, a pulmonary disease physician at Johns Hopkins University.
Research suggests that our bodies are most efficient at processing nutrients during the day. Research suggests that the sleep portion of circadian cycles allows cells to repair themselves and it may be that eating too close to this cellular housecleaning period might delay self-repair in favor of digestive processes. Moreover, eating late at night tends to boost blood-sugar levels more than earlier mealtimes do. Some speculate that when melatonin peaks later at night, it is helping to repair the machinery that lets sugar enter our cells so that late meal is not only disrupting the process but inefficiently processing a surge of sugar at the same time.
Of course, there’s growing evidence that everyone’s circadian rhythm might be different, and therefore, we could soon see an individual’s circadian rhythm being measured to tailor his or her meal timing and diet.
Keto and fasting could prevent or reverse heart failure
New research from St. Louis University has shown that heart failure in mice was bypassed by switching to a high fat, lower-carbohydrate ketogenic diet for at least three weeks. The expression of the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) complex is decreased in failing human and mouse hearts. However, failure from this deficiency can be prevented or reversed by a ketogenic diet.
A 24-hour fast in mice, which also is ketogenic, similarly provided significant improvement in heart remodeling. It reduced blood glucose levels and strongly enhanced plasma concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids and ketone bodies. It is this fatty acid oxidation which may be responsible for the improved cardiac remodeling.
But it’s not just strict keto diets showing a benefit. Diets that are higher in fat, but contain enough carbs to limit ketosis, also improved heart failure in mice lacking cardiac MPC expression.
Fasting’s use as a tool in the fight against cancer
For more than a decade fasting research has shown a benefit to patients undergoing cancer treatment, making treatment more effective at reducing tumors and lessening the fatigue, nausea, and GI distress associated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Fasting causes healthy cells to shut down their growth-promoting pathways to focus on repair. Cancer cells, however, don’t engage in this self-protective behavior, and without nutritional support for their growth, are left weak and vulnerable.
Fasting also depletes stored carbohydrates, which normal cells can adapt to by running on fat-derived sources — fatty acids and ketones – but cancer cells are far more reliant on sugars and starches and the insulin that drives them into cells for their growth.
“8 til 8” is still great
Intermittent fasting’s health and wellness benefits are well documented, from reducing inflammation to assisting in weight loss. But for those who struggle with longer fasting windows, a 12-hour window also can boost immunity and improve your gut microbiome. Giving the bacteria in your gut a break from digesting, encourages the growth of other good bacteria that can help clean out the gut lining, said UK-based physician Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. The “8 til 8” eating window is achievable for most and also will pay dividends in longevity and help get your body clock back on track.
Fasting.com is committed to investigating and reporting on the many ways fasting, health, nutrition, and wellness can help all of us rise to meet the challenges we face in life and, in doing so, liberates us to live our lives, longer and better. Together, especially when we are healthy and happy, we can address the world’s greatest problems.
Check-in weekly for our research round-up and look forward to even more in-depth fasting science coverage, analysis, and takeaways in the near future.
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