Intermittent Fasting Can Lead To Better Brain Health
According to a new study conducted at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore (USA), fasting for one or two days a week can help improve the condition of people suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers have found that stopping almost all food intake for short periods activate protection mechanism in the brain that also works against the effects of neuro-degenerative disorders.
The caloric impact in the brain
Professor Mark Mattson, lead author of the study and professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver that “reducing your calorie intake could help your brain, but in doing this by reducing your food intake is probably not the best method of activation of this mechanism. It is probably better to perform intermittent fasting, in which you eat hardly anything and then have periods that you eat all you want – in other words, the accuracy seems to be a crucial element in this process. ”
The research team led by Dr. Mattson found that reducing food intake to about 500 calories in each day of fasting yields optimal effects and can significantly improve cognitive function in the long term. Foods that can be consumed without problem during the days of fasting are a variety of high-fiber vegetables, unsweetened tea and water.
That calorie restriction has beneficial effects on human health and may even prolong life expectancy and this is not any real news. Early research on calorie restrictive diets dating from 1934, when a researcher at Cornell University realized that guinea pigs who ate a calorie restrictive diet maintain higher nutrient levels and live twice as long compared to normal guinea pigs. Later, Professor Dr. Roy Walford of UCLA investigated calorie restriction in greater detail revealing, that such a diet has the potential to improve a number of age-related conditions in addition to helping the dieticista to maintain a more youthful appearance.
Fasting is like “exercise for the muscles of the brain”
The scientific community now has an interest in seeing the neuro-protective potential of calorie restriction. Researchers like Dr. Mattson are convinced that fasting not only extends the life expectancies but also delays the onset of many diseases of the brain. Dr. Mattson explained that according to research, the chemical elements that have to do with the growth of brain cells also significantly improved when food intake is reduced dramatically.
“The brain cells are put under mild stress that is analogous to the effect of exercise on muscle cells. The overall effect is beneficial. ” Dr. Mattson said he believes there is a very strong evolutionary explanation of why our brains behave this way in the absence of food. “When resources are reduced, our ancestors would have to dig to find food. People who responded better, they remembered where they could find promising sources or avoid predators, would be remembered as those who were getting food. Thus a mechanism of periods of starvation associated neuronal growth would have evolved. ”
Dr. Mattson is set in previous studies examining the impact of fasting on health in general. The next step of this research team will examine the effects of fasting on the brain using MRI scans and other investigative techniques computerized. If a definitive link between fasting and brain health can be established scientifically, Mattson believes that most people could strengthen their brain function simply based on intermittent fasting twice a week.