Updated: Feb 22, 2022
Intermittent fasting is currently one of the most popular health & wellbeing protocols around the globe.
Individuals are using this ancient practice to improve cognitive performance, reduce signs of ageing, lose weight and increase energy levels.
Before analyzing the connection between CBD and intermittent fasting and how it makes users of the program manage hunger better, we must first understand the fasting process. To appreciate the role CBD plays, we need first to explore why intermittent fasting is so popular.
What is intermittent Fast?
Intermittent fasting is an eating protocol which cycles between periods of eating and fasting, it does not dictate "what" we eat but "when" we eat.
Ancient hunter-gatherers did not enjoy the luxury of refrigerators or supermarkets, instead their physiology evolved to cope with extended periods of fasting in-between hunts when food was scarce.
Our bodies still carry this ability to adapt to fasting by regulating various bodily functions, making us more efficient and carrying with it a wide-array of health benefits.
What does an Intermittent Fasting protocol look like?
There are various styles of intermittent fasting, all carrying with them unique benefits. We've listed 2 of the most popular and beneficial methods. Remember, you can tailor a routine to your personal preference the following are simply popular guidelines:
The 16/8 Method
This method involves ingesting 0 calories for 16 hours of the day whilst reducing our eating window to 8 hours.
For example, if you finish your last meal at 8 p.m. and don’t eat until 12 midday the next day, you’re technically fasting for 16 hours.
This method is ideal for those looking to boost energy levels and introduce themselves into the world of fasting without diving too deep too quickly.
OMAD (One Meal a Day)
Arguably one of the most severe yet beneficial methods involves only eating one meal a day, many opt to enjoy this meal around late afternoon to evening.
This is equivalent to 23hrs of fasting with a 1hr feeding window. There is no calorie restriction within this hour-long feeding window, however one must ensure they are consuming healthy nutrient-dense foods to avoid potential deficiencies.
The benefits of OMAD include increased longevity, heightened growth hormone levels, anti-ageing properties, repairing of skin and connective tissues and massive increases to mental clarity and energy levels.
The positive impact of CBD on Intermittent Fasting
CBD has the properties required to enhance the fasting process by reducing your appetite through hormonal regulations.
a 2008 animal study has shown that CBD inhibits a receptor in the brain so that the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite, is unable to act.
It was discovered that THC increases hunger in people, however, CBD doesn’t do that. Most people are more likely to feel hungry when anxious, restless and upbeat; the exact opposite of states CBD induce.
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.
In women this increase was measured at 1300x, if you're a woman this is no reason for concern as it will not cause excess muscle growth due to the lower levels of testosterone in woman. HGH in woman can greatly decrease signs of ageing.
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.
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.
Should you use CBD whilst intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting can be very challenging because of the physical and mental effects of skipping meals.
Although your body may begin to adjust to not eating breakfast and other meals, the feeling of missing out on something that you’re used to doing could make it harder for you to overcome the challenges of fasting.
It also goes the same with using CBD oil where you could easily miss taking it in the morning or within the day. But while there are some effects of using CBD oil while fasting, it’s actually okay to take it to allow your body to restore its balance in a lot of ways.
For instance, a 2016 study revealed that CBD oil is beneficial for speeding up metabolism, which is also a good way to lose weight. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the balance between keeping yourself healthy and making sure that you get the most benefits out of intermittent fasting.
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.