Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting May Protect The Heart By Controlling Inflammation
Intermittent fasting could increase a key protein that controls inflammation and protects the heart, according to a new study.
Intermittent fasting limits a person’s consumption of food and beverages to certain times of the day or week to achieve weight loss. There’s no single way to practice it, though one popular routine involves alternating 24-hour periods of fasting with eating normally.
Researchers analyzed data from a clinical trial that had participants fast twice a week, drinking only water, for the first four weeks and then once a week after that. The trial lasted 26 weeks, about six months. Those results, in the European Heart Journal Open, showed fasting didn’t reduce LDL, the so-called “bad cholesterol.” But it did improve scores on insulin resistance, which can increase blood sugar and lead to Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that can increase a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke.
The new analysis of that trial, presented at the American Heart Association’s virtual Scientific Sessions conference held this month, delved into just how intermittent fasting seemed to improve these cardiovascular disease risk factors.
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Benjamin Horne, hypothesized the mechanism might be similar to the way a class of drugs called sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors work to lower Type 2 diabetes and heart failure risk. The drugs also raise levels of a protein called galectin-3, which controls inflammation.
What Causes Psoriatic Arthritis Flare
Apart from an unhealthy diet high in fat, sodium, sugar and processed foods, skipping and stopping any prescribed medication for the condition can also lead to a flare-up, a time when symptoms increase. A sunburn can cause a skin flare-up. Injury-induced flare-ups, called the Koebner phenomenon, can affect your joints. The key to minimizing flare-ups is to manage stress, get adequate sleep, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly.
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New Research Is Showing The Profound Benefitsfor Longevity And Fighting Diseaseof Intermittent Fasting
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Fasting regimens have gained public and scientific interest in recent years, but fasting shouldnt be dismissed as a fad. In a study published in Cell, Mount Sinai researchers found that fasting reduces inflammation and improves chronic inflammatory diseases without affecting the immune systems response to acute infections.
While acute inflammation is a normal immune process that helps fight off infections, chronic inflammation can have serious consequences for health, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Caloric restriction is known to improve inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, but the mechanisms by which reduced caloric intake controls inflammation have been poorly understood, said senior author Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, Director of the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Working with human and mouse immune cells, Dr. Merad and colleagues showed that intermittent fasting reduced the release of pro-inflammatory cells called monocytes in blood circulation. Further investigations revealed that during periods of fasting, these cells go into sleep mode and are less inflammatory than monocytes found in those who were fed.
Researchers plan to continue trying to decipher the molecular mechanisms by which fasting improves inflammatory diseases, which could lead to novel preventive therapeutic strategies for the treatment of many human diseases.
Why Is If Better Than A Regular Diet
Depending on the diet, intermittent fasting may reduce the amount of muscle loss and avoid the decrease in metabolism thats often seen with longer-term calorie restriction . Nothing in particular says it is better, compared to any other. Its just another tool to try, and one that happens to be very effective.
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Does Intermittent Fasting Help With Inflammation
Fasting involves the process of refraining from eating food for specific periods. Generally, you can drink tea or black coffee and water. Fasting is a common practice in some religions but has lately been studied for its health benefits and effects on inflammation, disease, and aging. Intermittent fasting has been gaining traction as the go-to diet for obese people or people who have Type 2 Diabetes. You may be considering trying intermittent fasting to reap its many healing benefits. So how does intermittent fasting help with inflammation? Letâs look at some of the aspects of fasting before you make your decision.
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In Depth Look at Intermittent Fasting and its Effect on Inflammation
Fasting has been used for medical and therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. In recent years, intermittent fasting has been gaining traction as a tool in the fitness space to maintain muscle while burning fat.
The idea of IF is to go without food for a sufficient period of time so that you deplete your immediate energy sources, ie your blood glucose and liver glycogen stores, and your body is forced into fat-burning mode.
When your body has run out of glucose and glycogen stores, it will then turn to your stored fat as a source of energy, which is exactly what we want when we are looking to lose weight or increase our muscle tone.
Not only does IF help with fat loss, but it also boosts human growth hormone, which is known to play a role in bone strength and lean body mass.
There are two approaches to adding fasting to your regimen you can either do a full day fast or a daily fast, both of which offer health and weight loss benefits.
A full day fast is when you take one day a week and fast for the whole day. Daily fasts are when you space out the amount of time between when you eat your last meal at night and your first meal in the morning so that there is a large period of time, usually around 10 to 14 hours, in between.
Fasting and Inflammation
Recent studies have found a positive impact of fasting on chronic inflammation.
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Daily Intermittent Fasting Strategies
Intermittent fasting strategies come in all different variations. You may choose whats right for you based on your personal goals and health. It is always the best to start with a shorter fast and build your way up to a more strict regiment.
To start out, I recommend a simple fast and a cycle fasting protocol. Simple fasting is the shorter intermittent fasting protocol where you fast for 12 hours and have a 12-hour eating window. For example, if you finish dinner at 6 pm, you wont eat until 6 am the next morning. Gradually you may increase your fasting window to 14 hours to eventually step up to a cycle fast. Cycle fast involves a 16-hour fasting window that you perform three times a week.
Other intermittent fasting strategies include strong fasting, warrior fasting, and fat fasting. Read this article for my best intermittent fasting protocol recommendations. For women, I recommend crescendo fasting which you may learn about here. If you are already experienced with fasting, you may want to try the One Meal a Day fasting protocol. You may learn about it here
Tips For Fasting With Afib:
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Improves Immune And Stress Response
Research shows that intermittent fasting can support a balanced immune response by suppressing autoimmune reactions. This may be due in part to the fact that while fasting, you are not intaking proteins contributing to inflammation, allergic responses, or other immune reactions caused by certain foods . IF can also help modulate your bodys stress response, which is important given that stress is a major trigger of autoimmunity.
Are There Any Side Effects Related To Intermittent Fasting
If you decide to try fasting and are suffering from any chronic illnesses, be sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider first, especially if you are taking medication.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to reverse Type 2 Diabetes in his patients. Intermittent fasting can also help with inflammation. Read more about that here from Dr. Fung.
For healthy individuals, studies have found no serious side effects. The most common complaints when you start fasting are related to hunger, a lack of energy, and headaches. These symptoms are common and only temporary while your body adjusts to your new routine and detoxifies. It should clear after a few days.
Have you tried fasting yet? What has been your experience? Let us know in the comments below!
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Could Improve Heart Health
While research on this topic is limited, Wang says it is reasonable to assume that intermittent fasting boosts heart health by reducing inflammation and protecting against diabetes which are both risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.
A small 2012 study tested Muslims with a history of heart disease who fasted intermittently for Ramadan. After their fast ended, there was an improvement in their 10-year coronary heart disease risk score and a reduction in other heart risk factors like lipids profile, systolic blood pressure, and weight.
Could Reduce Your Blood Pressure
Having high blood pressure puts you at an elevated risk of stroke and heart disease. Instead of exclusively taking medication to lower your blood pressure, consider a water fast instead.
In 2001, a report in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that involved 174 participants published some interesting findings.
All the participants had high blood pressure that was at or higher than 140/90. The participants went on short diets that were two to three days long in which they consumed only vegetables and fruits. Next, they water fasted for 10 to 11 days with medical supervision. After the water fast wrapped up, the participants were carefully refed for up to a week, following a vegan, low-sodium, and low-fat diet.
So what happened? Nearly 90 percent of those involved in the study had reduced their blood pressure. Almost none had a 140/90 blood pressure after fasting and dieting. Also, the participants who were on antihypertensive medications, which included 6.3 percent in all, were able to stop taking the medication because their blood pressure was actively being regulated.
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Could Ward Off Heart Disease Cancer And Diabetes
Fasting and its effects on cancer have long been proven, and the same goes for water fasting. According to a 2012 report in Science Translational Medicine, through fasting in cycles, its possible to restrict tumor cell growth, at least in mice. The researchers do note that the same result doesnt necessarily apply to humans.
Also, the same study says that short-term starvation protects normal cellsfrom the harmful side effects of chemotherapy drugs. Those who have already been diagnosed with cancer and are on chemo could find the harrowing experience easier if they water fast or engage in other forms of intermittent fasting, as theyll experience fewer symptoms.
As for your heart health, free radicals can wreak havoc here. These atoms, which are electron duos, look for more electrons to pair off with, causing severe damage as they do. In the journal Circulation, a 2005 report found that when animal participants went on an intermittent fast for three months and then the researchers did myocardial infarction on the participants, these rats had less inflammation and fewer apoptotic monocytes.
Also, by lessening inflammation, its possible to prevent the onset of diseases and conditions associated with swelling. These include inflammatory bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and even diabetes. This is according to the aforementioned study in Cell.
The Impact Of Intermittent Fasting On Inflammatory Biomarkers
Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of vascular disease in the world. It is a serious problem of pathogenicity and mortality in both developed and developing countries. It is manifested by clinical symptoms, such as ischemic heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and ischemic stroke. It is responsible for acute myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular events, and it is responsible for the most deaths from cardiovascular causes in the world .
Inflammation is an important element of development. Pro-inflammatory factors, such as homocysteine, interleukin 6 , or C reactive protein , contribute to the development of atherosclerotic plaque. In research conducted by Aksungar et al., the effect of the IF diet on reducing the concentration of the above-mentioned pro-inflammatory factors was demonstrated. The experiment was attended by 40 healthy participants with the correct body mass index who fasted during Ramadan and 28 participants, respectively, selected in terms of age and BMI index who did not fast. Venous blood samples to examine the concentration of the above-mentioned pro-inflammatory factors were collected one week before the start of Ramadan, in the last week of fasting, and three weeks after .
Studies on human individuals are summarized in .
The Impact Of Intermittent Fasting On Lipid Metabolism
Survival and preservation of species continuity depend, amongst others, on their access to food. That is why living organisms have developed many adaptive mechanisms that allow them to survive periods of famine. Some organisms in the periods where they lack access to food are dormant, for example, yeasts entering the stationary phase . In contrast, mammals have liver and adipose tissue. These constitute an energy warehouse for them that allows them to survive during periods of famine . Fats are essential components of the human body. It is a diverse group in terms of the structure and functions fulfilled in the body . One of the most important functions is that of the backup and energy function. Energy is contained within stored adipocytes, which under certain conditions is released from them under the influence of enzymeslipases . After eating a meal, the concentration of glucose in the body increases and then within a few hours, it returns to the state it was before the meal. The concentration of ketones is low, because glycogen stores in the liver are not depleted .
Studies on human individuals are summarized in .
How To Fast Safely
Fasting times can range significantly. While intermittent fasting usually involves fasting for about 16 hours a day, longer fasts can range from 24 to 72 hours.
Theres no magic amount of time you should fast for, Wang says. The best thing to do is to listen to your body and determine what type of fast works for you.
However, you should not fast if you are:
- Have a history of eating disorders
In addition, you should consult with your doctor before fasting if you are:
- Under the age of 18
- Have diabetes or blood sugar issues
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Are There Problems With Fasting
Of course there are pros and cons to every lifestyle choice, and people who adopt a fasting-style diet may find themselves vulnerable to increased stress levels, disrupted sleep, headaches, dehydration and heart burn.
Those on intermittent fasting diets must consistently make smart food choices, even on non-fasting days. If fasting results in overeating or poor food habits, it can end up as a binge/restrict cycle â not a good habit to get into!
If you want to try fasting, you should pair it with a healthy overall diet. Chatting with your GP, or consulting an Accredited Practising Dietitian for guidance is a good idea, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.
It Gives Your Digestive System A Break
The first big thing with fasting is that your body wont have to digest anything for a while. When eating three times a day and snacking in between, youre not only always in your eating window, but your body constantly has to handle, digest and break down food.
After a big meal, if youre tired its simply your body putting most of its energy into digesting the food you just ate. So, not only youll get more energy on an everyday basis since your body wont have to work on digestive functions for hours, but youll also be able to put your digestive system to rest.
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