Fasting And The Inflammation Link
Before we discuss specific studies on the effects of fasting and the fasting mimicking diet, its important to get a good understanding of one of the most important links between fasting and disease risk: inflammation.
Inflammation is part of your bodys immune response. It helps attack harmful pathogens and substances in your system and get rid of dead and damaged cells. In the NeuroEndoMetabolic Stress Response model, it is one of the six circuits of organs and systems that work together to fight stress. The Inflammation Circuit is composed of your immune cells, your gut, and your guts microbiome. The microbiome is the collection of flora that live in your gastrointestinal tract.
Healthy inflammation requires these three components to be strong and healthy, and it also requires that your NEMs Detoxification Circuit be running smoothly as well. Thats because the Detoxification Circuit – which is composed of your liver, interstitium, and immune system is what helps rid your system of the byproducts of inflammation.
While acute inflammation is important and necessary for health, chronic inflammation is one of the most destructive conditions your body can be exposed to. It causes damage wherever it goes. In fact, it is at the core of many chronic diseases, including mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.
Fast Mimicking Vs Traditional Fasting
Just like with intermittent fasting, there are many myths about these modified fasts: Your muscles will waste away, youll kill your metabolism, and its downright unhealthy.
The above might be true for someone who is actually starving, restricting calories for weeks, months, or years at a time, or doing no-food water fasting.
These can lead to metabolic damage and are especially bad for people with underlying health conditions. But as mentioned, fast mimicking gives you all the benefits without these side effects.
Chronic Stress And Inflammation
Chronic stress of any kind, including physiological stressors like overeating, contribute to your adrenals overworking to produce cortisol, your bodys main anti-stress hormone. And cortisol affects inflammation.
When youre healthy, just enough cortisol is released to neutralize the acute inflammation that was needed for a short period of time. But when your system has chronically high or chronically low cortisol, as we see happen with AFS, that can lead to chronic inflammation.
This is why those with adrenal fatigue and under chronic stress often have underlying levels of chronic inflammation. And it is also why taking steps to reduce inflammation, like fasting, could be a good idea for some people.
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Tools Products And Services:
Blood Testing: I took InsideTrackers Ultimate testing plan prior to and 5 days after completing my FMD
Weight and Body Composition: I used this Omron Body Composition Monitor and Scale for weight and body composition measurements.
Blood Pressure: For blood pressure readings I used this Omron blood pressure monitor
Blood Oxygen Sensor: I used an inexpensive pulse oximeter similar to this one.
Body Temperature: Kinsa smart thermometer
Breath Ketones: During my fasting mimicking diet experiment I used a device called Ketonix to check breath ketones . Unfortunately, using the device correctly takes a lot of practice and I wasnt able to see a correlation between the breath ketone readings and my blood ketones.
Urinary pH: I used these inexpensive HealthyWiser urinary pH test strips
Activated Charcoal: I took 1-2 activated charcoal capsules to help clear any toxins from my body during my FMD. Be careful because too much activated charcoal can cause constipation!
Green Superfood Powder: I used Amazing Grass Green SuperFood powder to help with plant-based micronutrient needs
How To Mimic Fasting
Fast mimicking essentially tricks your body into thinking youre fasting as such, you can potentially reap these benefits while still eating. Below are the basics of fast mimicking.
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Tips For Implementing The Fasting Mimicking Diet
Some helpful tips for implementing the fasting mimicking diet are:
Fasting Mimicking Diet Vs Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting limits the period of time during which food can be consumed and is restricted by creating an eating window and a fasting window. There are several intermittent fasting schedules you can follow and still get the benefits of intermittent fasting.
With intermittent fasting, you dont have a list of foods to eat during fasting. You consume the number of calories that are appropriate for your bodys needs and health goals.
There is a lot of freedom with how many calories to eat during intermittent fasting since you eat what your body needs, plus there is no additional cost of supplements or foods to purchase.
Fasting mimicking diet follows a 5-day program that makes your body believe its fully fasting, and while it does not restrict when you can eat, it restricts what and how much.
The cost of the mimic fasting program from ProLon is about $245, for the full 5 days and youre supposed to repeat it monthly.
If you want to make better food choices and want to incorporate fasting into your lifestyle, you can learn more and start intermittent fasting today with this eBook.
Intermittent Fasting for Women
If you want to dive deeper, Ive created a book with everything you need to know about intermittent fasting & a 1-week meal plan so you know exactly what to eat during your eating windows. Check out my Intermittent Fasting Guide here.
Who Should Participate In The Fasting Mimicking Diet
The fasting mimicking diet is for anyone interested in improving their sense of well-being, taking a break from their habituated eating patterns, improving their health span, and enhancing longevity. The fasting mimicking diet has been studied to support neurodegenerative disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and autoimmune disease. The fasting mimicking diet is not a weight loss program. Most people experience weight loss over the course of the five days but it is not recommended to participate in this program for the primary purpose of weight loss,
May Support Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Its estimated that 415 million people across the world are currently living with diabetes, a figure thats set to rise to 642 million by 2040.
Early research suggests that the FMD could potentially play a positive role where diabetes is concerned. Those who began with high blood sugar levels in the ProLon study saw their numbers drop into the normal range.
There have also been positive results regarding the regeneration of -cells – a type of cell found in the pancreas responsible for synthesizing insulin. Cycles of FMD have been shown to reverse -cell failure and rescue mice from Type 1 and 2 Diabetes. The same study also observed -cell regeneration in human Type 1 diabetic pancreatic cells.
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Stage Iv Days Four And Five
At this point, your insulin and ghrelin are low and will remain that way until you break your fast. And, this stage is where you will start getting the true benefits of prolonged fasting.
You begin to see a decrease in growth hormone, C-reactive protein , insulin-like growth factor 1 , and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1 . CRP is an inflammatory marker that, when its concentration increases in the blood, signals inflammation. It is a risk factor for heart disease. And high IGF-1 is associated with cancer, diabetes, and aging.
And, now youve had several days of blood glucose hovering around the lower part of the normal range.
Although some people fast longer than five days, even reaching several weeks, the FMD stops here, and for good reasons. We do not recommend extremely prolonged fasting to any of our clients. And even though we are talking about the benefits of fasting, we also dont recommend 5-day fasts and even intermittent fasting to most of our clients. Well cover these risks and precautions in a later section of this article.
Fasting Mimicking Diet: What And How To Eat For Optimal Results
Fasting mimicking diet is a 5-day eating plan. You will have to follow the eating plan for five days in a row each month. And for obtaining optimal results it is recommended to be followed every one to six months.
Periodic fasting has demonstrated benefits in extending the lifespan and reducing the risk of many chronic illnesses. For example, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and disorders of the brain cells. Currently, two methods of fasting are popular among people. They are intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting .
Nonetheless, many people, especially older adults, cannot adhere to longer periods of fasting. Notably, IF requires you to go without food for 12 to 24 hours. Moreover, traditional IF methods are not suitable for people with an eating disorder in the past. FMD apparently overcomes these limitations of IF and gives you similar benefits. While IF is more of an eating pattern than a specific diet, FMD focuses on specific foods to eat five days each month.
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May Reduce Blood Sugar And Cholesterol Levels
The same small study led by Dr. Longo that linked fast mimicking to fat loss also observed that the Fasting Mimicking Diet group experienced a significant drop in blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol was reduced by 20 mg/dl in those with high cholesterol levels, while blood sugar levels dropped into the normal range in participants who had high blood sugar at the beginning of the study .
These results were also demonstrated in animal studies.
Four days of the diet every week for 60 days prompted regeneration of damaged pancreatic cells, promoted healthy insulin production, reduced insulin resistance, and led to more stable levels of blood glucose in mice with diabetes .
Although these results are promising, more human studies are needed to determine the diets impact on blood sugar.
Bottomline: Fmd Is Easy Enough For Regular Dieting
- Adherence to diet: I found it helpful to do FMD with someone else. It motivates you and helps you stick to the plan.
- Short-term benefits: Both of us recorded some weight loss and it is an interesting exercise from a mental perspective.
- Learnings for next round: Next time around we will do blood work before and after FMD to evaluate the impact on additional health markers.
Since both of us are healthy the recommendation for FMD would be to do 1-2 cycles per year. We can see ourselves doing it each January after the holiday season and at some point during the summer.
Its easy/short enough to do it on a regular basis.
We will do it again.
Update after FMD #2 Update after FMD #3 Pro tip:
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Rule : Its Free Of Sugar Including Fruits
We can include a small number of berries, but thats probably something you will have to decide, depending on your current health state. The original ProLon meal plan has some nut bars that include a small amount of honey. So in my interpretation, this plan can include a tiny amount of sugar from fruits or honey if that fits your needs. Dr. Steven Gundry will probably advise against it.
Here Are The Health Benefits Of The Fasting Mimicking Diet Plan:
- Killing damaged cells and replacing with newly regenerated cells from activated stem cells
I am especially interested in the visceral fat part.
Im close to 50 and the older I get the more fat my body likes to store on my midsection compared to everywhere else.
All of my friends who are the same age are seeing this as well.
Fasting for 5 days is a way to directly target this stubborn belly fat.
but not eating anything for 5 days sounds nutty.
Dr. Longos studies showed impressive benefits of 5-day fasts.
He even found that fasting for 5 days, was one way to stop the spread of cancer, but the cancer community did NOT want to do this.
He realized that fasting with only water had a 95% failure rate.
People couldnt do it.
The National Cancer Institute believed that Dr. Longos findings were so promising they gave him grants to develop a 5-day diet that could mimic fasting.
Over a period of time, the 5-Day FMD plan was developed.
The benefit that jumped out at me was this
The body continues to focus on burning belly fat, long AFTER returning to a normal diet.
Shifting the body into an abdominal/visceral fat-burning mode, which continues after returning to a normal diet
So the Fasting Mimicking Diet Plan is like hitting the reset button.
This diet is a way of killing damaged cells and replacing with new healthier cells.
Your body also switches to target belly fat even after this 5-day period.
Dr. Valter Longo has some controversial viewpoints.
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May Slow Aging And Mental Decline
One of the main reasons Dr. Longo developed the Fasting Mimicking Diet was to slow the aging process and risk of certain diseases by promoting the bodys ability to self-repair through cellular regeneration.
Autophagy is a process in which old, damaged cells are recycled to produce new, healthier ones.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to optimize autophagy, which may protect against mental decline and slow cellular aging.
A study in mice found that short-term food restriction led to a dramatic increase of autophagy in nerve cells .
Another study in rats with dementia showed that alternate-day food deprivation for 12 weeks led to greater reductions in oxidative damage to brain tissue and reduced mental deficits compared to a control diet .
Other animal studies have demonstrated that fasting increases the generation of nerve cells and enhances brain function .
Whats more, intermittent fasting has been shown to decrease insulin-like growth factor a hormone that, at high levels, can increase the risk of certain cancer, such as breast cancer .
However, more human studies need to be carried out to fully understand how fasting may impact aging and disease risk.
The Fasting Mimicking Diet may promote weight loss, enhance autophagy, and reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation.
The Results From This Diet Plan
First, lets talk about the results of the Fasting Mimicking Diet study.
Fasting-mimicking Diet and Markers/risk factors for Aging, Diabetes, Cancer, and Cardiovascular Disease.
- 100 people were involved in the study
- 50 subjects ate normally for 3 months
- 50 subjects did 3 5-day rounds of the fasting mimicking diet
The subjects who followed the fasting mimicking lost an average of 5 pounds and the majority of this weight loss came from abdominal fat.
They also lost 1 inch off of their waist on average.
Here are the results of a woman who used the 5-day ProLon Fast.
- When she started the fast, she was 165.2 pounds.
- At the end of the fast, she was 158.8 pounds.
- So she lost around 7 pounds in 5 days.
Like the subjects in the experiment, it also seems that the majority of her weight came off from the abdominal region.
For people who have stubborn belly fat, this could be something that they should try.
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Inflammatory Markers C Reative Protein Hs
Pre-FMD: 1.5 mg/L / Post-FMD: 0.5 mg/L
InsideTracker provided me with hs-CRP results . hs-CRP is the high sensitivity version of CRP measurement, and is a better indicator of inflammation in the body than the regular CRP test. Optimal hs-CRP levels appear to be an effective predictor of healthy heart, circulatory system, blood pressure, and blood glucose.
My hs-CRP was slightly elevated prior to my FMD, but Im convinced this was due to the lingering effects of a quadriceps injury suffered playing soccer the previous week and my creatine kinase value was also elevated prior to the FMD. The good news is that my post-FMD results showed my hs-CRP went down to 0.5. My creatine kinase returned to my optimized zone as well.
Physiology Of Fasting Over 5+ Days
1. Feeding During meals, insulin levels are raised. This allows uptake of glucose into tissues such as the muscle or brain to be used directly for energy. Excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver, or on the body as fat.
2. The post-absorptive phase 6-24 hours after your last meal, blood sugar and insulin levels start to fall. The body starts to use glycogen, turning it into glucose for energy. Glycogen stores last for roughly 24 hours.
3. Gluconeogenesis 24 hours to 2 days. The liver manufactures glucose from amino acids in a process called gluconeogenesis.
4. Autophagy Since amino acids are being used to produce glucose, many have interpreted this as the body burning muscle to provide glucose. This is not accurate. During this period, connective tissue, skin, old cells and other junky cell parts are destroyed and used for fuel. The importance of autophagy is just being realized.
5. Ketosis 2-3 days after beginning fasting. The low levels of insulin production stimulate lipolysis, the breakdown of fat for energy.
7. Cellular renewal cycle After the breakdown of old cells and tissue, the body will create stem cells to rebuild any necessary proteins that were used up. The breakdown of old protein is necessary for renewal of cells. If you only focus on the breakdown, you will miss the entire beneficial renewal cycle.
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