Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Health Benefits of Fasting

Fri 22 Mar 2024 | 11:12 PM
Dr. Magdy Badran
Dr. Magdy Badran
Dr. Magdy Badran

Fasting provides several health benefits, including weight loss, better brain function, blood sugar control, and protection against medical conditions like cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and improvements in anxiety.

Fasting Promotes Blood Sugar Control

The primary physical benefit of fasting is improvement of metabolic health by lowering insulin resistance. Fasting may improve blood sugar control, which may be helpful for those at risk of developing diabetes. By decreasing insulin resistance, fasting can increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin, allowing it to transport glucose from the bloodstream to the cells more efficiently. Coupled with the potential blood sugar-lowering effects of fasting, this could help keep the blood sugar steady, preventing spikes and crashes in the blood sugar levels.

Fasting may reduce risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome that increase the likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Fasting gives the body a chance to rest and allows blood levels of insulin to drop significantly. Not only does this help burn fat, but it can also lower the risk of disease, particularly diabetes and pre-diabetes.

Fasting Fights Inflammation

Fasting raises levels of a chemical in the blood known as arachidonic acid, which inhibits inflammation. Fasting can help decrease levels of inflammation and promote better health.

Fasting could significantly reduce levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a marker of inflammation. The name CRP arose because it was first identified as a substance in the serum of patients with acute inflammation that reacted with the "c" carbohydrate antigen of the capsule of pneumococcus. CRP is a pentameric protein synthesized by the liver, whose level rises in response to inflammation. There are numerous causes of an elevated C-reactive protein. These include acute and chronic conditions, and these can be infectious or non-infectious in etiology. However, markedly elevated levels of CRP are most often associated with an infectious cause

Fasting is Good for The Cardiovascular System

Fasting is the secret to a healthy heart. Fasting significantly decreases blood pressure, as well as levels of blood triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and several risk factors for heart disease. Fasting also delays vascular aging.

Fasting seems to help prevent atherosclerosis. Fasting lower levels of “markers of atherosclerosis,” like triglycerides, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and high sensitivity c-reactive protein.

Fasting and calorie restriction have been shown to promote autophagy, a cellular process that helps clear out damaged cells, including senescent cells. Autophagy can engulf and digest cholesterol accumulated in artery walls. This process facilitates the removal of cholesterol and may provide an entirely new target to reverse atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attack and stroke.

Fasting Triggers Autophagy

Autophagy is a cellular degradation program that responds to a variety of environmental and cellular stresses. It is an essential pathway to maintain cellular homeostasis, therefore, dysfunction of autophagy is closely associated with a wide spectrum of human pathophysiological conditions including cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

Autophagy plays an important role in the survival of cellular organisms. When there is starvation or nutrient deprivation, the process of autophagy is triggered.

Autophagy is now considered to be the major mechanism by which cells eliminate unnecessary or toxic cellular constituents. Autophagy also seems to play an essential role in the immune system by cleaning out toxins and infectious agents. There is evidence that autophagy may improve the outlook for cells with infectious and neurodegenerative diseases by controlling inflammation. Autophagy helps kill cells that are infected or invaded by foreign pathogens. Thus, it helps contain the infection and may act as part of the immunity of the cellular organism. Autophagy causes the body’s cells to clean out and recycle any unnecessary or damaged parts.

Fasting is Good for Brain Function

Fasting may have certain cognitive benefits, as well as reduce symptoms of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

Restricting food intake may also increase the ability to produce new brain cells, which could improve some aspects of memory. Autophagy plays a central role in brain function and maintaining the health of your nerve cells. Growing evidence suggests that autophagy is essential for both developmental and adult neural stem cell maintenance, proliferation, and differentiation. Defects in autophagy and its role in neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity may contribute to developmental disorders such as, memory deficits, and psychiatric disorders such as depression.