7 Great Effects of Fasting on Human Health

Fasting is a practice that dates back millennia and plays a key position in many cultures and religions. Intermittent fasting includes cycling between eating and fasting periods, extending from a few hours at a time.
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effects of fasting

Fasting has many significant effects on human health, including weight loss, and enhanced control of blood sugar, heart health, brain function, and cancer prevention.

1. May Enhance Heart Health

Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death, responsible for about 31.5% of fatalities worldwide. One of the most efficient ways to decrease your risk of heart disease is to switch your diet and lifestyle. Some studies have observed effects of fasting for heart health.

The research reported that eight weeks of alternate-day fasting decreased concentrations of bad cholesterol and blood triglycerides, by 25 percent to 32 percent. Another research in 110 obese adolescents showed that fasting reduced blood pressure, and blood triglyceride concentrations.

2. Boosts Weight Loss and Metabolism

Many people are fasting to lose weight. Abstaining from all foods and drinks should reduce your general consumption of calories, which could lead to weight loss.

Some studies have also discovered that short-term fasting may increase metabolism by increasing concentrations of the norepinephrine neurotransmitters, which may increase weight loss.

One study showed that fasting can reduce body weight by up to 9 percent and decrease body fat over 12-24 weeks. Another study discovered that intermittent fasting over 12 weeks was as efficient as constant calorie limitation, which can cause weight loss.

Research on fasting effects shows restricting calories to be efficient in reducing fat loss while maintaining muscle at the same time.

3. Stimulates Blood Sugar Control

Several studies have discovered that fasting can enhance the control of blood sugar, which can be helpful for those at risk of diabetes.

In reality, one research in 10 individuals with type 2 diabetes showed that short-term intermittent fasting considerably reduced blood sugar levels.

Another study discovered that both intermittent fasting and alternative-day fasting had the similar effects as restricting the consumption of calories to reduce insulin resistance.

Reducing insulin resistance can improve the sensitivity of your body to insulin, making it more efficient in transporting glucose from your bloodstream to your cells.

This can help maintain your blood sugar stable, preventing spikes and crashes in your blood sugar concentrations.

4. May Boost Brain Function

Mice research showed that both brain function and brain structure enhanced by practicing intermittent fasting for 11 months.

Animal studies have documented fasting to protect brain health and boost nerve cell production to help improve cognitive function.

Fasting can help in relieving inflammation, it can also help in preventing neurodegenerative disorders. Animal study shows that fasting can protect you from conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

However, to test the effects of fasting on brain function in humans, we need more studies.

5. Reduces Chronic Inflammation

Research shows that inflammation can contribute to chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies have discovered that fasting has impressive effects on inflammation and contribute to improved health.

One research study in 50 healthy adolescents showed that intermittent fasting reduced inflammatory marker concentrations. Another small research study found the same impact when individuals fasted for one month 12 hours a day.

6. Increases Growth Hormone

Human growth hormone (HGH) is a protein hormone key to many factors. Research shows that this main hormone involves development, metabolism, weight loss, and muscle strength.

Several studies have discovered that fasting can boost concentrations of HGH. One research study in 11 healthy adults showed a significant increase in HGH concentrations during 24 hours of fasting.

Fasting can also help maintain blood sugar and insulin throughout the day. This can further optimize the concentrations of HGH.

7. Can Aid in Cancer Prevention

Animal and test-tube studies show that fating could be helpful in the prevention of cancer. Rat research discovered that fasting helped prevent the development of tumors.

Unfortunately, most studies are limited to animals. Despite these promising results, we need further studies to ensure the effects of fasting on cancer.

Bottom Line

There are many kinds of fasting that suit almost every lifestyle, from water fasting to intermittent fasting and calorie restriction. If combined with a nutritious diet, you could benefit your health by integrating fasting into your routine.

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References

Improvements in coronary heart disease risk indicators by alternate-day fasting involve adipose tissue modulations. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010.

The effects of three-week fasting diet on blood pressure, lipid profile and glucoregulation in extremely obese patients. Srp Arh Celok Lek. 2007.

Resting energy expenditure in short-term starvation is increased as a result of an increase in serum norepinephrine. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000.

Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutr Rev. 2015.

Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss? Obes Rev. 2011.

Effects of intermittent fasting on health markers in those with type 2 diabetes: A pilot study. World J Diabetes. 2017.

Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings. Transl Res. 2014.

Chronic intermittent fasting improves cognitive functions and brain structures in mice. PLoS One. 2013.

Dietary restriction increases the number of newly generated neural cells, and induces BDNF expression, in the dentate gyrus of rats. J Mol Neurosci. 2000.

Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction ameliorate age-related behavioral deficits in the triple-transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol Dis. 2007.

The growing realization that chronic inflammation is crucial in many diseases opens new avenues for treatment. EMBO Rep. 2012.

Intermittent fasting during Ramadan attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects. Nutr Res. 2012.

Interleukin-6, C-reactive protein and biochemical parameters during prolonged intermittent fasting. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007.

Metabolic effects of GH: a rationale for continued GH treatment of GH-deficient adults after cessation of linear growth. Horm Res. 1995.

The effect of prolonged fasting on levels of growth hormone-binding protein and free growth hormone. Growth Horm IGF Res. 2012.

Effects of fasting and intermittent fasting on rat hepatocarcinogenesis induced by diethylnitrosamine. Teratog Carcinog Mutagen. 2002.

– 16 references
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