Fasting

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Nutrition | 0 comments

Fasting

Research studies over the past decade suggest that intermittent fasting could reduce the risk of cancer, guard against diabetes and heart disease, help control asthma, and improve brain function while protecting against Parkinson’s disease and dementia.  A fast starts 10 to 12 hours after the last meal when all of the available glucose in the blood is used up, and the liver begins to convert glycogen and fat to usable energy.  The liver produces ketones in the process, which can be used by the brain for fuel.  At the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, short term fasts were found to slow the growth of five of eight cancer tumors in animals.

Mark Mattson of the NIH Institute on Aging recommends alternate day fasting, where you eat a single meal under 600 calories every other day.  He found that after a few weeks, asthma symptoms improved, and inflammation markers decreased.  He found that fasting increases brain activity, and boosts the production of a brain protein called brain-derived neurotropic factor by 50 to 400 percent.  This protein stimulates the generation of new brain cells and plays a role in learning and memory.  It protects brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  He also found a reduction in insulin resistance.

Fasting causes your body to shift from burning sugar and carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel.  Once your body has made this shift, cravings for sugar and food in general will radically decrease.  From the third day onward, the breakdown of fat continues to increase, peaking on the tenth day.  The heightened state of ketosis is similar to sleep when the body rests and detoxes.  Energy that was focused on digestion can be redirected to immunity and detoxification.  Toxins are stored in fat cells, so as these cells are broken down, the toxins are released and can be eliminated through the liver.  Replacement of damaged cells occurs more efficiently.  This is why animals may stop eating when they are wounded, and why humans are often not hungry when plagued with a fever.

To learn more about full body health, read Dr. Deanna’s Healing Handbook. 

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