Fasting is a practice that dates back millennia and plays a key position in many cultures and religions, despite its latest rise in popularity. Intermittent fasting includes cycling between eating and fasting periods, varying from a few hours at a time. Fasting has shown many health outcomes, ranging from enhanced weight loss to better brain function. Here are 7 great effects of fasting on human health.
1. May Enhance Heart Health
Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death, responsible for about 31.5% of fatalities worldwide (1).
One of the most efficient ways to decrease your risk of heart disease is to switch your diet and lifestyle. Some studies have observed that fasting may be useful 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 (2).
Another research in 110 obese adolescents showed that fasting reduced blood pressure, and blood triglyceride concentrations (3).
2. Aids Weight Loss and Boosts Metabolism
Many people are fasting to drop a few pounds. Abstaining from all foods and drinks should reduce your general consumption of calories, which could lead to enhanced weight loss.
Some studies have also discovered that short-term fasting may increase metabolism by growing concentrations of the norepinephrine neurotransmitters, which may increase weight loss (4).
One study showed that fasting could reduce body weight by up to 9 percent and decrease body fat over 12-24 weeks (5).
Another study discovered that intermittent fasting over 12 weeks was as efficient as constant calorie limitation in causing weight loss and reduced body weight (6).
Research also discovered fasting to be more efficient than restricting calories in reducing fat loss while maintaining muscle tissue at the same time (7).
3. Stimulates Blood Sugar Control
Several studies have discovered that fasting can enhance the control of blood sugar, which can be particularly helpful for those at risk of diabetes.
In reality, one research in 10 individuals with type 2 diabetes showed that blood sugar levels were considerably reduced by short-term intermittent fasting (8).
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 assist 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 (10).
Fasting has been documented by other animal studies to protect brain health and boost nerve cell production to assist in improving cognitive function (11).
Fasting can also assist in relieving inflammation, it can assist in preventing neurodegenerative disorders as well.
Animal study indicates that fasting can protect conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (12).
However, to assess the effects of fasting on brain function in humans, more studies are required.
5. May Reduce Chronic Inflammation
Research shows that inflammation can contribute to chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis (13).
Some studies have discovered that fasting can help lower inflammation rates and contribute to improved health.
One research study in 50 healthy adolescents showed that intermittent fasting reduced inflammatory marker concentrations (14).
Another small research study found the same impact when individuals fasted for one month for 12 hours a day (15).
6. May Increases Growth Hormone Secretion
Human growth hormone (HGH) is a protein hormone key to many health elements. Research shows that this main hormone involves development, metabolism, weight loss, and muscle strength (16).
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 (17).
Fasting can also assist in maintaining constant concentrations of blood sugar and insulin throughout the day, which can further optimize concentrations of HGH.
7. Can Aid in Cancer Prevention
Animal and test-tube studies show that the therapy and avoidance of cancer may benefit from fasting. Indeed, rat research discovered that fasting helped prevent the development of tumors (18).
Unfortunately, the majority of studies are limited to animals. Despite these promising results, we need further studies. This is important to examine how fasting can affect the growth and therapy of cancer in humans.
The Bottom Line
Fasting is connected with a broad range of prospective health advantages, including weight loss, and enhanced control of blood sugar, heart health, brain function, and cancer prevention.
There are many distinct 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.