Thursday, April 2, 2015

Intermittent Fasting

You want the secret to living a long and healthy life ?? Unfortunately it is not cut and dry on what can be done to achieve this beside eating right, exercising, and crossing your fingers that you have good genetics for a fruitful life ! We are ALWAYS after the fountain of youth, looking for the next best thing that will keep us younger longer. But there has been a theory that may help keep you healthier and living way into your golden years ! This theory is based on calorie restriction through IF or intermittent fasting.

So lets look at aging from a scientific viewpoint. What is aging anyways ? Fascinating fact: The molecular clock in our germline cells (those from which our offspring are made when egg and sperm combine) is kept at zero. So why DO we age? It takes a lot of energy to maintain cells and repair the damage that occurs throughout a lifetime. Wear and tear takes a toll. Cells break down and sometimes the repairs are detrimental.

DNA damage in our cells’ nuclei and mitochondria start to accumulate. Meanwhile, the older we get, the harder it is to repair things. At a certain point, the damage is bad enough, and widespread enough, that our cells can’t fix it. This means our cells and our tissues oxidize, become inflamed, and/or fill up with waste. Which leads to chronic diseases like cancer, metabolic disruptions, and/or neurodegenerative disease. This functional decline ends in death.
In order to slowly reduce this breakdown that causes death you can focus on preventing the cellular damage and health problems that cause them.If you want to age well, start with a healthy diet. But you may be able to take it a step further. Evidence shows that prudent and well-designed dietary restriction can help.

Here is the SCARY TRUTH:According to the World Health Organization, more than a third of the U.S. population is obese. About the same proportion will be diabetic by 2050, if current lifestyle trends continue. You don't want to be just "surviving" by living off of medication you want to THRIVE ! So here is what you can do is eat healthy and exercise !
Let's dig into what calorie restriction is: It is reducing food intake while avoiding malnutrition.This usually means consuming 30-40 percent fewer calories than the standard daily requirement. That’s the equivalent of limiting daily intake to around 1,200 calories for women and 1,400 for men with ZERO exercise or movement as a BASELINE. So if you add in an extra 300-500 calories !!!
However there are some drawbacks to calorie restriction:
Depleting our growth, insulin, and thyroid hormones
Age-related muscle wasting (aka sarcopenia)
Having less bone mass and more osteoporosis
Poor cardiac health (IGF-1 helps maintain the heart muscle)
Amenorrhea (missing menstrual periods)
Weaker immune systems and slower healing
Lowering our libidos and fertility
Worse athletic performance and less strength
Getting more forgetful with reduced cognitive function

So looking at the facts, calorie restriction is ONLY maintainable for a VERY SHORT period of time
Luckily for those of us who would like to increase our health span and maintain our fitness, caloric restriction is not the only path There is a BETTER way called IF or Intermittent fasting !
Recent research shows that IF, when done properly, might help regulate blood glucose, control blood lipids, reduce the risk of coronary disease, manage body weight, help us gain (or maintain) lean mass, reduce the risk of cancer, and more.
IF may be a more effective method for lengthening your life, because it:
It provides similar metabolic benefits as long-term CR
Its lacks many of the negative side effects of CR
Its is more manageable psychologically and can be sustained
It won’t necessarily help you lose weight
It will still protect you from metabolic damage
There’s related protocol called periodic fasting, or PF. The idea here is the same, except that fasting cycles are longer (typically 2 or more days) and separated by at least one week to allow for any lost weight to be regained. PF tends to produce more pronounced changes in growth factors and metabolic biomarkers, indicating that it may provide greater health benefits than IF. But it remains to be seen which is truly better for longevity.

Intermittent fasting is not a healthy option for everybody.
I don’t advise IF at all if:
you’re pregnant
you have a history of disordered eating
you’re chronically stressed
you don’t sleep well
you’re new to diet and exercise
There are plenty of other alternatives to improve your health span. Focus on those before you consider fasting.

So now lets talk how exercise fits in ! We all know that we should be doing some form of MOVEMENT daily. The combination of exercise and IF, in particular, has synergistic effects on insulin sensitivity and inflammation. The proven health benefits of exercise which include aerobic capacity, muscle mass, strength, and improved bone density should be enough to convince most people to move more!

By adding physical activity to your life you may protect yourself from heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. And to this day exercise is the best intervention for age-related muscle loss. No pill can reverse that!
So the most balanced solution for most may be a slightly extended overnight fast, which might provide similar benefits to the more extreme IF regimens while having virtually no impact on our daily schedules. Best advice: Take it easy and remember, this is intermittent fasting, not intermittent eating.

Here’s how to get started:
-Be flexible with how you define IF for yourself. A good starting point is to try to resist eating late into the night and take a bit longer to make breakfast in the morning.
-Next, experiment with skipping breakfast a few times per week.
-Once you’ve determined how the longer fast makes you feel, consider instituting an honest nightly fast of 12 to 16 hours.
-Once you do break the fast, have a plan. Eat healthy, whole foods. Binging on Oreos won’t net you any health benefits.
-Keep active, exercising regularly.
-If you are underweight, type I diabetic, or have extreme hypertension, make sure you consult with your doctor before attempting any form of dietary restriction, including this one.
Again, intermittent fasting is not for everyone. But for some people, it may help to improve fitness and act as a fountain of youth. Always listen to your body and how you feel ! Ask questions and continue to track calories to avoid being in a deficit !!

Azevedo, F.R., et al. Effects of intermittent fasting on metabolism in men. Rev Assoc Med Bras. 2013 Mar-Apr;59(2):167-73.
Fontana, L. et al. Dietary Restriction, Growth Factors and Aging: from yeast to humans. 329 (5976): 321-326 (2010)
Glass, D. et al. Recent advances in the biology and therapy of muscle wasting. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1211 25-36 (2010)
Johnson, J.B. et al. Alternate Day Calorie Restriction Improves Clinical Findings and Reduces Markers of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Overweight Adults with Moderate Asthma. Free Radic Biol Med. 42 (5): 665:674 (2007)
Klempel et al. Intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction is effective for weight loss and cardio-protection in obese women. Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:98
Kroeger et al. Improvement in coronary heart disease risk factors during an intermittent fasting/calorie restriction regimen: Relationship to adipokine modulations. Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:98.
Longo, V. et al. Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Implications. Cell Metab. 19: 181:192 (2014).

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