Often times when I write, I leave out the hardcore science. People who follow me know I research everything to the extreme, use it on myself, then suggest it. I also don’t like my readers to have to try to understand complicated research jargon that many professionals can’t even decipher. I’ve previously written about utilizing intermittent fasting to get ripped. For this article, simply because I find intermittent fasting such a powerful tool, I am going to lay the science on you so can see the science-based impact this can have on your life. I will break it down in sections so you can understand why intermittent fasting works. Let’s start with weight loss.
Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
Let me explain why intermittent fasting even works for weight loss in the first place. The natural sugars in a meal that your body doesn’t use immediately for the purpose of producing energy are stored in the liver as glycogen. When your glycogen storage has reached its maximum, the body will then store this energy as fat. Glycogen stores are the first fuel source the body will turn to for energy. In general it takes between 6 to 8 hours for the body to burn through its glycogen supply. When glycogen is depleted, the body will then turn to the energy stored in fat cells. Now you can see how this works. During fasting, when the glycogen stores are gone, the body turns to the fat in order to produce the energy for your body to function, thus burning off the stubborn fat you’ve been trying to get rid of for years.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity compared two fasting groups. Both groups lost weight, but the intermittent fasting group was the one which had improved hormone sensitivity. This is important because if your body does not have adequate hormone signaling, then weight loss hormones cannot be activated.
Professor Mattson, a leading pioneer in fasting research, proved through his research that intermittent fasting affects both leptin (signals body to burn fat) and ghrelin (tells you your full), two hormones involved in appetite regulation and weight loss. Mattson defines an intermittent fast a little different than the way I personally do it. He describes it as dropping calories to 500-800 per day for two days a week, and the other five days resume normal caloric intake. This is very familiar to what is known as the 5-2 diet. In another study Mattson showed fasting every other day, participants’ lost 8% body weight and dropped inflammation markers by 90%. He noted that this type of fasting will benefit anybody and that the longer you do this and stick with it, the more compounding effects it will have on you.
Intermittent Fasting Boosts Immunity and Downregulates Inflammation
Intermittent fasting is considered one of the most powerful modalities for reducing inflammation, boosting immunity and enhancing tissue healing. A recent study suggested that fasting actually “flips a switch” to ignite regeneration of the immune system as it triggers the body to produce new white blood cells. The study also found that prolonged fasting activated a reduction in the enzyme PKA. PKA is linked to aging and an increased risk of cancer and tumor growth. Dr. Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the University of California also stated, “There is no evidence at all that fasting would be dangerous while there is strong evidence that it is beneficial.” This is important to point out because many who don’t understand fasting like to advocate that it is unhealthy or even dangerous.
Another reason intermittent fasting is amazing in immune heath is because it controls the amount of inflammatory cytokines that are released in the body. There are two major cytokines, Interleukin-6 and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha. They both promote an inflammatory response in the body. Studies have shown that fasting reduces the release of these inflammatory mediators. The immune system modulation that intermittent fasting provides has also been shown to benefit those greatly that suffer from allergies.
Individuals who suffer from auto-immune diseases such as systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and Crohn’s disease have seen a tremendous improvement in symptoms when they incorporate intermittent fasting into their lifestyle. This process reduces the hyper inflammatory processes these individuals undergo and allow for more normalized immune function. When we look at major diseases such as cancer, we know that cancer cells are known to have anywhere from ten to seventy times more insulin receptors than normal cells and depend on sugar for fuel. Intermittent fasting starves cancer cells and leaves them vulnerable to free radical damage and ultimate destruction.
One more way Intermittent fasting affects the immune system is by stimulating autophagy processes, which restrict viral infections and the replication of intracellular parasites. This catabolic process helps the body rid itself of intracellar pathogens as well as abnormal cancer cell development. It is also important in protecting the brain and tissue cells from abnormal growths, toxicity and chronic inflammation.
Intermittent Fasting Boosts Muscle Growth, Repair & Healing
Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute found that men who utilized fasting had a 2000% increase in circulating HGH. Imagine the huge effect this has on muscle recovery, repair and healing altogether. The benefits are not just for men though. Women who were tested had a 1300% increase in HGH. The researchers found that the fasting individuals had significantly reduced their triglycerides, boosted their HDL cholesterol and stabilized their blood sugar.
The reason for this is because HGH and insulin are opposites in function. HGH is focused on tissue repair, efficient fuel usage and anti-inflammatory immune activity. Insulin is designed for energy storage, cellular division and pro-inflammatory immune activity. Insulin is the dominant player in this game. When conditions demand an insulin release through a high sugar diet or carbohydrate consumption, HGH is inhibited. Insulin is silenced in a fasted state, another reason why intermittent fasting works.
Intermittent Fasting Ages You Slower and Keeps You Looking Younger
Intermittent fasting, through the massive boost in HGH have proven to have a strong anti-aging effects by literally slowing the rate at which your cells age. Repair mechanisms are turned on through the release of human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is known to create physiological changes in metabolism to favor fat burning and protein sparing. The proteins and amino acids are utilized to repair tissue collagen which improves the functionality and strength of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. HGH also improves skin function, reduces wrinkles & heals cuts and burns faster.
Intermittent Fasting for Max Energy
5 to 15 percent of your energy expenditure is on simply digesting your food. Fasting and increased HGH levels also dramatically increases energy levels since the body isn’t burdened by digesting food all day. Without the burden of digesting, the gut is able to heal from conditions like IBS, leaky gut and other severe inflammation-driven conditions like Crohn’s and colitis.
Intermittent fasting is one of the simplest, most-effective ways to skyrocket your physique, your gut, your hormones, your energy, and your health. It is evident why intermittent fasting works, but know it’s time for you to begin utilizing this healing practice. Click here and follow the instructions to get started. Don’t forget to post with any questions below 🙂
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