A recent study conducted at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and published in the prestigious scientific journal, Cell Metabolism, showed that by keeping our mitochondrial network (the engines inside our cells) satisfied while maintaining plasticity, we actually live longer. This term “longer” has been defined as up to “30% longer or an extra 25 years of high quality life”, as confirmed by studies out of the University of Southern California School of Gerontology and Duke Medical Center. The researchers in this recent study reaffirmed longevity could be obtained by practicing what is called intermittent fasting – a process of eliminating food for a period of time. At the time of the study, the researchers knew fasting extended life, but we’re not sure how it worked. It is just amazing how the body has been designed to live a very long time (science now indicating the possibility of 120 years) on its own and without the help of external interventions. Currently we are only able to obtain just over 80 years resulting in a 33% loss of use with massive interventions. Could it be the fact that modern day society has no instruction manual on how to maintain balance “homeostasis”? Modern science (if you want to call it that because the ancients knew of the benefit of fasting thousands of years ago) is just scratching the surface when it comes to the intelligent design of the body and our ability to self-heal, self-regulate and self-regenerate.
The most disturbing part of this research is the fact that the lead scientist involved appears to be more concerned with “harnessing the benefits therapeutically” as stated in an article in the Harvard Gazette. Heather Weir, lead author of the study, who conducted the research while at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is now a research associate at Astex Pharmaceuticals. In other words, let’s make billions and billions of dollars in profits, at the expense of the American taxpayer, on a therapeutic solution that mimics a process that is structurally designed into everyone’s body and can be activated daily at zero cost. Our nation and the world would be better served if we would focus on the root cause of aging and metabolic illness – unhealthy (fragmented) mitochondria. Teaching as many as possible how to fast in order to maximize the effects and maintain healthy fused and flexible mitochondria is the solution to the global healthcare crisis. All of this can be done at a fraction of the cost of Big Pharma developing a “cure” without addressing the “cause”. Prior to the establishment of modern medicine and the modern Pharmaceutical industry, fasting was a very common therapy used in the medical world. Fasting was discontinued because it was considered non-beneficial or more so considered a possible financial threat to the medical community at the time. Ironic how 100’s of years later we are now learning just how effective fasting is and how wrong the doctors at the time where when they passed judgement on the benefits of fasting as seen in this most recent research. Looks like we need to now reevaluate what science has been telling us to be true when in fact much of it has been proven to be false.
Nobel Prize winner Upton SInclair published a book on fasting called the “Fasting Cure” “in 1911 and went into detail how fasting was used at the time and the benefits experienced by real people. Sinclair was keenly interested in health and nutrition throughout his 88 year life (looks like he benefited from fasting as the average life expectancy of a male born in 1878 was not more than 44 years). Sinclair experimented with various diets, and with fasting. He believed that periodic fasting was important for health saying, “I had taken several fasts of ten or twelve days’ duration, with the result of a complete making over of my health” Just look at the impact we would have on the cost of healthcare if everyone practiced the art of fasting as a personal “primary care” tool? People would be healing themselves for FREE and without the assistance of government, big pharma and the medical community while saving precious medical resources for those who are in real need of external interventions. No co-payments, No Doctor visits, No 4 TRILLION dollar industry having to deal with too many sick people. Fasting is something we can share with everyone, do it ourselves, spend nothing on it all while practicing a scientifically proven modality that benefits one’s health and longevity.
The art of fasting is nothing new and dates back to the Persians in 600 BC where it is recorded in the Book of Daniel documenting how Daniel and his friends harnessed the power of fasting and plants to prove health superiority over the Kings toxic diet of “junk food”. In today’s world of fasting we find a variety of protocols: 16/8, alternate day, 5/2 and periodic fast to name a few. All fasting protocols referenced require the faster to enter into a period of “zero calories” for the duration of the fasting period in order maximize the benefits of reducing ones insulin for an extended period of time in order to regain sensitivity in ones insulin. Water, coffee and non caloric beverages are permitted during the fasting period. There are some protocols that have allowed the use of calories that have minimal to zero effect on insulin. The most common is the use of MCT oils (medium chain triglycerides) and the most common being coconut oil. The alternate day fast is pretty simple to follow as you eat one day and fast the next. The 5/2 diet is one where you eat five days a week and fast for two random days in the 7 day cycle. Periodic fasting is when you embark on a multi day water fast that can be as short as two or three days and as long as multiple weeks all depending on the individual goals of the individual. The most popular is the 16/8 also known as “time restricted feeding”. 16/8 is a daily fast where you restrict your eating to a specific window (time period) of 8 hrs or less and you restrain from eating for 16 hrs or more. Current science supports all methods of fasting to be beneficial with the 16/8 and the periodic fast to be the most beneficial. The 16/8 is the easiest for those just starting a fasting lifestyle. Anyone can fast to some extent depending on their current health conditions. DISCLAIMER: It is always recommended to start slow and consult your physician if you are currently being treated for specific conditions or have any concerns.
The purpose of the Harvard study was to find a way to mimic what our body was designed to do originally.
“The researchers found that restricting the worms’ diet, or mimicking dietary restriction through genetic manipulation of an energy-sensing protein called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), maintained the mitochondrial networks in a fused or “youthful” state. In addition, they found that these youthful networks increased lifespan by communicating with organelles called peroxisomes to modulate fat metabolism. “Low-energy conditions such as dietary restriction and intermittent fasting have previously been shown to promote healthy aging. Understanding why this is the case is a crucial step toward being able to harness the benefits therapeutically,” (1)
With all the benefits of fasting ask yourself how can a study, funded by NON-PROFITS and a government agency be so focused on supporting the development of a therapeutic solution that comes at such a high cost to our healthcare system when in reality taxpayer money would be better spent on educating the public on the benefits of fasting? In conclusion, fasting is a discipline that requires an intentional change and a life long commitment. Fasting is not for everyone, but who would not want to live 30% longer with a high level of health and all one has to do is just reduce the time when one EATS?
ACTION: The best way to start to improve your health is by adopting a simple fasting lifestyle. First step is to skip breakfast, eat a late lunch around 1 pm and eat dinner around 7pm and instantly you are now practicing TRF – Time restricted feeding – and reaping the benefits.
- Karen Feldscher (2017, November). In pursuit of healthy aging. Retrieved from URL: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/11/intermittent-fasting-may-be-center-of-increasing-lifespan/
- Heather J. Weir, Pallas Yao, Frank K. Huynh, Caroline C. Escoubas, Renata L. Goncalves (2017, September). Dietary Restriction and AMPK Increase Lifespan via Mitochondrial Network and Peroxisome Remodeling. Retrieved from URL: http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131%2817%2930612-5