In recent years the popularity of intermittent fasting has exploded at the risk of being dubbed a "fad". Not only is mainstream science now advocating the benefits of fasting if we peer into history we can see practice has been common place in a multitude of cultures and religions groups since the dawn of mankind.
Perhaps one of the earliest recorded advocates of this ascetic practice was "the father of modern medicine" Hippocrates. Proceeding him were Plato and Aristotle who also recognized the barrage of benefits this practice has to offer some touting fasting as "the physician within".
What are the benefits?
Speaking from anecdotal experience the benefits of fasting become very clear almost immediately. These are often those relating to cognitive performance.
When we eat we raise our insulin levels, insulin acts to shuttle circulating blood sugar into cells, if their is surplus energy it will start being stored as fat. This leads to a plummet in blood sugar causing what we often refer to as "brain frog" which you have may have experienced in some form prominently in the afternoon hours.
By fasting we reduce our insulin levels and stabilize our blood sugar resulting in a boost to mental clarity and focus that lasts all day without the nasty crash. We also force our bodies to burn through glucose stores (glycogen), once these stores are depleted our bodies begin producing ketones as a fuel source, it just so happens that our brains prefer using ketones as fuel to glucose.
By burning ketones as fuel within the brain we reduce oxidative stress and the resulting potential for cell damage. Ketones also act as a potent anti-inflammatory helping with various neurodegenerative diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer's and dementia.
Increased HGH levels
A recent study has reported that males who participated in a 24hr fast experienced an increase of 2000x in Human Growth Hormone levels. The benefits of increased HGH are far reaching and include enhanced athletic performance, extended lifespan, increased lean muscle mass and also a boost to cognitive performance. In women this increase was measured at 1300x, don't be scared this doesn't mean you're going to put on 5kg of lean muscle overnight.
When we fast we induce a naturally occurring cellular recycling process known as Autophagy. Autophagy is a process whereby cells begin to dissolve and eliminate organelles which are damaged or not functioning properly. If these damaged organelles are left unattended they have the potential to damage the cell as a whole or at least impair proper function.
Clinical studies performed on rodents have reported that this process has a notably postive impact on the protection against neurodegeneration, cancer, diabetes, and heart, liver, and autoimmune disease.
The bottom line? Intermittent fasting works. Whether you're looking for the fountain of youth or simply to improve your day-to-day quality of life we can't recommend this practice enough.
To find out more about intermittent fasting and how you can start implementing this practice into your life be sure to subscribe and follow us on IG as we'll be dropping our free Intermittent Fasting guide soon!
Peace and Love
The Ethically Enhanced Team