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Calorie Restriction and Intermittent Fasting

Mar 26, 2012 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Anti ageing nutrition

It may seem strange to have this section on a recipe website, but  Calorie Restriction and Intermittent Fasting have both been shown to slow the ageing process in a wide range of animals.

My philosophy is to eat more or less whatever you like for some of the time and to be very careful on at least 2 days every week; in fact for the last 30 years I’ve been fasting every Monday and Thursday – it started off as a religious fast, but has become more of a ‘health regimen’ in recent years. I started fasting on Mondays when I was 13 (in 1975) – which is what my mother used to do, and I added the Thursday fast when I was in my 20′s.

The photo above is of my aunt in her 83rd year; she has fasted for an average of two days a week for about 40 years of her life, and – touch wood – is going strong physically and mentally; also, she’s the youngest looking octogenarian that I know!

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that alternates between periods of fasting (usually meaning consumption of water only) and non-fasting. It has been shown to improve cardiovascular risk, memory and many neurological conditions.
Calorie restriction (without malnutrition) is also effective, but studies on rodents show that intermittent fasting is more effective.

If you are pregnant, breast feeding, or diabetic then don’t take up fasting; and if you suffer from any other medical conditions then consult a doctor before taking up fasting.

A few links to Scientific Journals about Calorie Restriction and Intermittent Fasting:

BBC Horizon Program: Eat, Fast and Live Longer
Scientists are uncovering evidence that short periods of fasting, if properly controlled, could achieve a number of health benefits, as well as potentially helping the overweight, as Dr Michael Mosley discovered.

Calorie restriction and stroke
In animal models, dietary energy restriction, by daily calorie reduction (CR) or intermittent fasting (IF), extends lifespan and decreases the development of age-related diseases. Dietary energy restriction may also benefit neurons, as suggested by experimental evidence showing that CR and IF protect neurons against degeneration in animal models. Recent findings by our group and others suggest the possibility that dietary energy restriction may protect against stroke induced brain injury, in part by inducing the expression of neurotrophic factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF); protein chaperones, including heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) and glucose regulated protein 78 (GRP78); antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutases (SOD) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), silent information regulator T1 (SIRT1), uncoupling proteins and anti-inflammatory cytokines.This article discusses the protective mechanisms activated by dietary energy restriction in ischemic stroke.

Energy restriction and the prevention of breast cancer
Energy restriction (ER) to control weight is a potential strategy for breast cancer prevention. The protective effects of habitual continuous energy restriction (CER) and weight loss on breast tumour formation have been conclusively demonstrated in animal studies over the past 100 years, and more recently in women using data from observational studies and bariatric surgery. Intermittent energy restriction (IER) and intermittent fasting (IF) are possible alternative preventative approaches which may be easier for individuals to undertake and possibly more effective than standard CER. Here, we summarise the available data on CER, IER and IF with special emphasis on their potential for breast cancer prevention. In animals, IER is superior or equivalent to CER. IF regimens also reduce mammary tumour formation in animal models and also led to weight loss in human subjects. Animal and some human data suggest that both IER and IF may differ mechanistically compared with CER and may bring about greater reduction in hepatic and visceral fat stores, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels and cell proliferation, and increased insulin sensitivity and adiponectin levels.

Nonlinear stimulation and hormesis in human ageing
Hormesis is widely encountered in biological systems, and its effects are also seen in humans. It is possible to use hormetic strategies to enhance the function of repair processes in aging humans and therefore prevent age-related chronic degenerative diseases and prolong healthy lifespan. Such techniques include dietary restriction and calorie restriction mimetics, intermittent fasting and other physicochemical challenges. Current research supports the general principle that any type of a hormetic dose-response phenomenon has an effect that does not depend on the type of stressor and that it can affect any biological model. Therefore, novel types of innovative, mild, repeated stress or stimulation that challenge a biological system in a dose-response manner are likely to have an effect that, properly harnessed, can be used to delay, prevent, or reverse age-related changes in humans.

Neuroprotective role of intermittent fasting in senescence-accelerated mice.
Dietary interventions have been proposed as a way to increase lifespan and improve health. The senescence-accelerated prone 8 (SAMP8) mice have a shorter lifespan and show alterations in the central nervous system. Moreover, this mouse strain shows decreased sirtuin 1 protein expression and elevated expression of the acetylated targets NFkappaB and FoxO1, which are implicated in transcriptional control of key genes in cell proliferation and cell survival, in reference to control strain, SAMR1. After eight weeks of intermittent fasting, sirtuin 1 protein expression was recovered in SAMP8. This recovery was accompanied by a reduction in the two acetylated targets. Furthermore, SAMP8 showed a lower protein expression of BDNF and HSP70 while intermittent fasting re-established normal values. The activation of JNK and FoxO1 was also reduced in SAMP8 mice subjected to an IF regimen, compared with control SAMP8. Our findings provide new insights into the participation of sirtuin 1 in ageing and point to a potential novel application of this enzyme to prevent frailty due to ageing processes in the brain.

The hormetic role of dietary antioxidants on free-radical related diseases
Regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables or spices is associated with a reduced incidence of cancer and reduction of markers for neurodegenerative damage. Furthermore, greater health benefit may be obtained from raw as opposed to cooked vegetables. Nutritional interventions, by increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, can retard and even reverse age-related declines in brain function and cognitive performance. The mechanisms through which dietary supplementation with antioxidants may be useful to prevent free radical-related diseases is related to their ability to counteract toxic production of both reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, along with the up-regulation of vitagenes, such as members of the heat shock protein (Hsp) family heme oxygenase-1 and Hsp70. The most prominent dietary factor that affects the risk of many different chronic diseases is energy intake – excessive calorie intake increases the risk. Reducing energy intake by controlled caloric restriction or intermittent fasting increases lifespan and protects various tissues against diseases, in part, by hormetic mechanisms that increase cellular stress resistance. This biphasic dose-response relationship, referred to here as hormesis, display low-dose stimulation and a high-dose inhibition. Despite the current interest in hormesis by the toxicology community, quantitatively similar U-shaped dose responses have long been recognized by researchers to be involved with factors affecting memory, learning, and performance, as well as nutritional antioxidants and oxidative stress-mediated degenerative reactions. Dietary polyphenols present strong cytoprotective effects, however under uncontrolled nutritional supplementation gene induction effects and the interaction with detoxification responses can have negative consequences through the generation of more reactive and harmful intermediates.
Dietary factors, hormesis and health
The impact of dietary factors on health and longevity is increasingly appreciated. The most prominent dietary factor that affects the risk of many different chronic diseases is energy intake — excessive calorie intake increases the risk. Reducing energy intake by controlled caloric restriction or intermittent fasting increases lifespan and protects various tissues against disease, in part, by hormesis mechanisms that increase cellular stress resistance. Some specific dietary components may also exert health benefits by inducing adaptive cellular stress responses. Indeed, recent findings suggest that several heavily studied phytochemicals exhibit biphasic dose responses on cells with low doses activating signaling pathways that result in increased expression of genes encoding cytoprotective proteins including antioxidant enzymes, protein chaperones, growth factors and mitochondrial proteins.

Chronic intermittent fasting improves survival following large myocardial ischaemia in rats

Cellular stress response: a novel target for chemoprevention and nutritional neuroprotection in ageing, neurodegenerative disorders and longevity.


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