A new research shows the benefits of fasting for humans
Some people think that fasting is an old religious practice which one should not necessarily practice in these modern times. However, such people are unaware of the fact that fasting can actually protect people against age-related diseases and improve an individual’s overall health.
According to new research, fasting can lead to improved health and help in dealing with health issues related to old age.
Conducted by a team from the University of California-Irvine (UCI), the study suggests that fasting affects circadian clocks in the liver and skeletal muscle, causing them to rewire their metabolism, which eventually leads to improved health and provide protection against age-related diseases.
The circadian clock acts as a time-keeping machinery and operates within our body and its organs. It helps in preserving homeostasis in response to the changing environment.
That food can influence clocks in peripheral tissues was known to scientists, but this research has also shed light on the unclarity behind how the lack of food can influence clock function and ultimately affect the body.
“We discovered fasting influences the circadian clock and fasting-driven cellular responses, which together work to achieve fasting-specific temporal gene regulation,” news agency IANS quoted lead author Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Professor of Biological Chemistry at UCI, as saying.
“Skeletal muscle, for example, appears to be twice as responsive to fasting as the liver,” Sassone-Corsi added.
To conduct the research, the researchers used mice which were subjected to 24-hour periods of fasting. The research has been published in the Cell Reports journal.
During the period of fasting, the mice witnessed a reduction in oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and energy expenditure, all of which were completely abolished by refeeding, which parallels results observed in humans.
“The reorganisation of gene regulation by fasting could prime the genome to a more permissive state to anticipate upcoming food intake and thereby drive a new rhythmic cycle of gene expression. In other words, fasting is able to essentially reprogram a variety of cellular responses,” Sassone-Corsi said.
“Therefore, optimal fasting in a timed manner would be strategic to positively affect cellular functions and ultimately benefiting health and protecting against age-associated diseases,” he added.
With the help of this new study, new avenues of investigation will open which could ultimately lead to the development of nutritional strategies to improve health in humans.