One cellular response to fasting is the activation of autophagy (from the Greek, “auto”oneself, “phagy” to eat). This is a process in which the cell self-digests its worn out or damaged components. This self-digestion not only provides vital nutrients to cells during fasting but also allows cells to rid themselves of undesirable components such as invading microorganisms, malformed or worn out proteins or damaged organelles (sub-structures within a cell).
This self-cannibalistic process of autophagy keeps cells from becoming choked with trash and malfunctioning. It is triggered by fasting, exercise and certain dietary compounds and is now being seen as a biological pathway that functions to promote health and longevity. Proper autophagy is believed to help protect against a range of diseases, including infections, neuro-degeneration, cancer, heart disease and aging.
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to reduce inflammation in asthma patients and reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. In addition, it is a way to boost the level of human growth hormone (HGH), which typically declines as we age. You can see the pattern here: intermittent fasting has been scientifically proven to work. All of these disease prevention benefits are wonderful, but what is really exciting about intermittent fasting is the way you can feel right now in your body when you put it into practice!
In summary, current research has shown these important and often unknown highlighted benefits of intermittent fasting:
• Normalizing insulin sensitivity, which is critical for optimal health as insulin resistance is a primary contributing factor to nearly all chronic disease, from diabetes to heart disease and even cancer
• Normalizing ghrelin levels, also known as “the hunger hormone”
• Promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production, which plays an important part in health, fitness and slowing the aging process
• Lowering triglyceride levels
• Improved learning and memory
• Reduced levels of IGF-F, reduces risk of cancer and delays aging