Health benefits

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting


Intermittent fasting may not only be a dieting trend, but it also has broader health benefits, including helping to improve health, says a new study from researchers at the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute in Salt Lake City. fight inflammation.

Previous research has shown that intermittent fasting, a diet that alternates between periods of fasting and eating, can improve non-weight markers of health. Now, new Intermountain research shows that intermittent fasting increases levels of galectin-3, a protein linked to the inflammatory response.

“Inflammation is associated with a higher risk of developing multiple chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. We are encouraged to see evidence that intermittent fasting prompts the body to fight inflammation and reduce these risks, ”said Benjamin Horne, PhD, principal investigator of the study and director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at the ‘Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute. .

The results of the study were presented last month at the 2021 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

These results are part of The WONDERFUL Intermountain event study of intermittent fasting, which found that intermittent fasting causes a drop in metabolic syndrome (MSS) score and insulin resistance.

This specific study looked at 67 patients between the ages of 21 and 70 who all had at least one feature of metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. Participants were also not taking anti-diabetic drugs or statins and had low LDL cholesterol levels. students.

Of the 67 patients studied, 36 were prescribed an intermittent fasting schedule: twice a week a 24-hour fast with water only for four weeks, then once a week a 24-hour fast with water. water only for 22 weeks. Fasts could not be performed on consecutive days. The remaining 31 participants made no changes to their diet or lifestyle.

After 26 weeks, the researchers then measured the participants’ galectin-3 and found it to be higher in the intermittent fasting group. They also found lower levels of HOMA-IR (insulin resistance) and MSS (metabolic syndrome), which the researchers said could be similar to the reported effects of SGLT-2 inhibitors, a class of drugs. used to lower high glucose levels in type 2 diabetes patients.

“By finding higher levels of galectin-3 in fasting patients, these results provide an interesting mechanism potentially involved to help reduce the risk of heart failure and diabetes,” said Dr Horne, who added that a few members of the trial team completed the same diet before the study began to make sure it was doable and not too taxing on the participants.

“Unlike some IF diets which are incredibly restrictive and promise magical weight loss, this is not a drastic form of fasting. The best routine is one that patients can stick to for the long term, and that study shows that even occasional fasting can have positive health effects, ”he added.

The members of the Intermountain Healthcare research team are: Horne, Joseph B. Muhlestein, MD; Heidi T. May; Viet T. Le; Tami L. Bair; Kirk U. Knowlton, MD; and Jeffrey L. Anderson, MD.