A new study has revealed that intermittent fasting can potentially reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer by reshaping genes in the body and brain, helping interconnected organ systems run more smoothly.
Intermittent fasting—eating at a set time—has become popular in recent years primarily as a fat-burning method.
It works by prolonging the time your body burns with the calories consumed in the last meal and starts to burn fat.
However, recent research points to other health benefits as well.
One of the most influential researchers on intermittent fasting, Prof. Satchidananda Panda led a new study published Jan.
The scientists observed two groups of mice that were given the same diet, one given free access to food, and the other restricted to eating every day within a nine-hour feeding window.
Seven weeks later, at various times of the day, they collected tissue samples from 22 organ groups, including the brain, liver, stomach, lung, heart, adrenal gland, kidney, and intestine, and analyzed the genetic changes.
They discovered that 70 percent of mouse genes respond to starvation.
“By changing the timing of food, we were able to change gene expression not only in the gut or liver, but also in thousands of genes in the brain,” Panda said.
About 40 percent of genes in the adrenal gland, hypothalamus, and pancreas, which are key organs for regulating hormones, are affected by starvation.
These results suggest that fasting, with or without pharmaceutical intervention, may help manage many diseases, from diabetes to stress disorders.
“We found that time-restricted eating has a system-wide, molecular effect in mice,” said Panda.
“Our results open the door to take a closer look at how this nutritional intervention activates genes involved in certain diseases, such as cancer.”
Fasting Can Reverse Diabetes
In early December 2022, a study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that nearly 90 percent of participants with type 2 diabetes reduced their medication intake after intermittent fasting.
Fifty-five percent of these people experienced diabetes remission, stopped their medication, and maintained it for at least one year.
It is recommended that some groups speak to their healthcare provider before fasting, such as those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, taking insulin or other medications to control their diabetes, or suffering from seizure disorders.