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Human Trials Show Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

— May 19, 2020

Intermittent fasting may prevent the onset of diabetes and cancer, new study shows.

A new study published in Nature Proteomics shows that engaging in intermittent fasting has been linked to lower cancer rates and better regulation of lipid and glucose metabolism in both mice and human study participants.  This evidence demonstrates that the diet plan is much more than another fad vastly promoted on the internet.  It has some solid health benefits to back it up.

The research examined circadian biology, the study of the body’s circadian clocks, otherwise known as its natural biological response to day and night.  The research contends, “a disruption of the rhythmic nature of circadian clocks, particularly the hepatic clock, can lead to cancer and metabolic syndrome.”  This is the same biological response for individuals who have underlying health conditions such as diabetes or are obese.  However, the study showed the response is not exclusive to these populations – it is the same for healthy individuals as well.

The researchers noted that “mouse studies demonstrated an increased rate of cancer and metabolic diseases in rodents when their circadian rhythms were disrupted…A fast of 14 hours, starting at sunset and ending at sunrise, has been repeatedly demonstrated to reset the clocks, allowing them to operate off the dysregulated rhythm of the master clock.”

Human Trials Show Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

The study states, “We hypothesized that intermittent fasting for several consecutive days without calorie restriction in humans would induce an anti-carcinogenic proteome (something like a cell’s protein profile) and the key regulatory proteins of glucose and lipid metabolism.”

After conducting trails with mice, the team moved to human studies.  Fourteen healthy individuals, including both men and women with an average age of 32, participated.  The participants agreed to spend one month fasting from sunrise to sunset, beginning their day with a very early, pre-dawn meal and ending with a late-evening meal.

The result?  The 30-day program led to “anticancer serum proteomic signature and upregulated key regulatory proteins of glucose and lipid metabolism, insulin signaling, circadian clock, DNA repair, cytoskeleton remodeling, immune system, and cognitive function, and resulted in a serum proteome protective against cancer, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, and several neuropsychiatric disorders.”

The authors concluded, “In summary, our results suggest that 30-day intermittent fasting from dawn to sunset can be a preventive and therapeutic approach in cancer as well as in several metabolic, inflammatory and immune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and neuropsychiatric disorders by resulting in a proteome protective against carcinogenesis, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, cognitive dysfunction, and mental health.  Further studies are needed to test the effect of dawn to sunset intermittent fasting in larger cohorts with consideration given to shorter durations of fasting and longer longitudinal follow-up after completion of intermittent fasting.”

While intermittent fasting is far from a new diet fad, it has increased in popularity over the years and has been thought to be beneficial in regulating metabolism, leading to weight loss.  Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, explained, “There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight- to ten-hour period of the daytime, is effective.”  She recommended, people “use an eating approach that works for them and is sustainable to them.”


New Intermittent Fasting Program Shown to Suppress Cancer and Metabolic Disease in Mice and Humans

Intermittent fasting from dawn to sunset for 30 consecutive days is associated with anticancer proteomic signature and upregulates key regulatory proteins of glucose and lipid metabolism, circadian clock, DNA repair, cytoskeleton remodeling, immune system and cognitive function in healthy subjects

Intermittent fasting: Surprising update

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