Intermittent Fasting and Brain Function:
It could trigger Autophagy ( the process of the removal of damaged brain cells).
Intermittent Fasting can support various metabolic features which can help brain health; such as reducing inflammation, blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and oxidative damage. Research has shown that IF can increase levels of a hormone called BDNF (brain- derived neurotrophic factor), a deficiency of which has been implicated in depression and various other issues. BNDF potentially makes brain neurons more resistant to stress (4).
Fasting also triggers a process called Autophagy, which is essentially the removal of damaged cells. It can protect brain cells against accumulation of “bad” protein clumps that cause neuro-degeneration. When working properly, this is a process which is positive for brain function and cognition (5).
1. Catterson, J. Khericha, M. Dyson, M. et al. 2018. Short-Term, Intermittent Fasting Induces Long-Lasting Gut Health and TOR-Independent Lifespan Extension. Current Biology, 28(11), pp.1714-1724.e4.
2. Singh, R. Chang, H. Yan, D. et al. 2017. Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health. Journal of Translational Medicine, 15(1).
3. Cho, Y. Hong, N. Kim, K. et al. 2019. The Effectiveness of Intermittent Fasting to Reduce Body Mass Index and Glucose Metabolism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8(10), p.1645.
4. Mattson, M. Moehl, K. Ghena, N. et al. 2018. Intermittent metabolic switching, neuroplasticity and brain health. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 19(2), pp.81-94.
5. Li, L. Wang, Z. Zuo, Z. et al. 2013. Chronic Intermittent Fasting Improves Cognitive Functions and Brain Structures in Mice. PLoS ONE, 8(6), p.e66069.