What You Need to Know About Intermittent Fasting

McKinney Chiropractor Best Practices

Research Commentary;

The Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting

A review of

Flipping the Metabolic Switch: Understanding and Applying Health Benefits of Fasting

Stephen D. Anton1, Keelin Moehl2, William T. Donahoo3, Krisztina Marosi2, Stephanie Lee1, Arch G. Mainous III4, Christiaan Leeuwenburgh1, and Mark P. Mattson2,5
1Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, Institute on Aging, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610

2Laboratory of Neurosciences, National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program, Baltimore, MD 21224

3Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL 32610

4Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy; Department of Community Health and Family Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610

5Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205

Review By Dr. Chris Phillips


Summarized Review Conclusions

This study is an overview of what is actually taking place when someone fasts for extended periods of time.  Fasting has become really popular lately for its amazing health benefits.  This article finds that the benefits go way beyond just weight loss.  At around 12 hours of not eating or fasting (the minimal fast where benefits are seen) a process takes place which this article calls “flipping of the metabolic switch”.  What they mean is the body stops trying to break down fat for storage and starts to free up the fat into the blood for use by our muscles and organs.  These ketones, replace glucose as the bodies main form of energy once the liver has been depleted of glycogen.  What that means is, our body starts to clean itself up using fat and damaged cells as a source of energy.  This causes weight loss, liver detox, cellular clean up, decreased inflammation and increased brain clarity, and anti-aging effects.  The benefits of fasting go on and on.

“IF regimens have been shown to improve cardio-metabolic risk factors (such as insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and inflammation cytokines),(13) decrease visceral fat mass,(6) and produce similar levels of weight loss as CR regimens.(8) In addition to the weight loss effects and metabolic improvements, several other beneficial effects of therapeutic fasting have been described including improvements in lipid profiles,(14) osteoarthritis,(15) healing of thrombophlebitis,(15) healing of refractory dermal ulcers, (16) and tolerance of elective surgery.(17).”

“Additionally, in mice, the decline in muscle mass that occurs during normal aging is prevented.”

“Knowledge of early human evolution and data from recent studies of hunter-gatherer societies suggest humans evolved in environments where they intermittently experienced extended time-periods with little or no food.(30, 31).”


Introduction to the Research

There has been a lot of talk and intrigue around intermittent fasting lately and its health benefits.  This study aims to take a look at the available research to break it all down and explain what is happening during a fast and also the effects that has on your health.  Evolutionarily, our ancestors did not always have access to food.  This made them adapt to long periods of time with no caloric intake.  The body created a work around in using already stored fat that could be released into the blood in the form of ketones for use by cells and organs for energy.  While studying the use of ketones, the authors found in the research that the body actually functions more efficiently when using ketones over glucose.  This has led to benefits for the entire body.

One process that takes place is called cellular autophagy.  This is where the body starts to dispose of cells and parts of cells in the body that are not functioning optimally.  From this process, the research supports the anti-inflammatory ass well as anti-aging effects of fasting.  The authors also wanted to understand when the body switches from using glucose over to using ketones which they refer to as flipping the metabolic switch.  What the research shows us is that at the 12 hour mark of fasting is when the switch is flipped.  This is important if we are going to further studies to establish the minimal time for benefit and it is also important for people who want to improve their health by way of intermittent fasting.

Research Methodology

This study is a review of the literature.  This means the authors read through the available studies which are listed below in the references section, to find what the research is saying and compile it in one place.  This focuses on the similarities in findings and reaffirms them while, also finding differences to examine and focus on the inconsistencies in future studies to create clarity for the readers.

Research Findings

Human trials of IF that include cognitive and physical performance outcomes are unfortunately limited. Studies of cognition and mood during extended fasts, however, suggest few or no adverse effects, and improvements in performance in some cognitive domains including executive function have been reported.(142–144) In regards to physical performance, a recent randomized controlled trial of IF (20 hours of fasting 4 days/week) during one month of resistance training in men demonstrated superior improvements in upper and lower body endurance in the IF group compared to the control group.(130) Clearly, many additional controlled trials of long-term IF protocols in which brain function and physical performance are evaluated in human subjects are needed to confirm the evidence from evolutionary considerations and anthropological studies.


Research References

As always with these reviews, these are my takeaways from the article and I encourage you to read the article in its entirety.  The references used in this article by the authors of this article are listed here.

Our Message

Here at Texas Chiro Health of McKinney, located near the corner of Eldorado Pkwy. and Ridge Rd., our Chiropractic Team strives to educate our patients the 3 factors of health which is the way we eat, the way we move, and the way we manage stress. When these 3 factors are not considered it proven that it will start to create inflammation within the body. It is imperative that we find ways to bring ourselves out of inflammation and back to a state of homeostasis.