Intermittent fasting and inflammation

by - April 23, 2019

Speaking more on the benefits of intermittent fasting, research has also shown that the practice could have some effect on inflammation. To very well understand this, we will first touch a little on the subject of “Inflammation”.

Inflammation is a defense mechanism in the body. The immune system recognizes damaged cells, irritants, and pathogens, and it begins the healing process. When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, there is a biological response to try to remove it. The signs and symptoms of inflammation can be uncomfortable but are a show that the body is trying to heal itself. Infections, wounds, and any damage to tissue would not be able to heal without an inflammatory response.

Inflammation can be beneficial when, for example, your knee sustains a blow and tissues need care and protection. However, sometimes, inflammation can persist longer than necessary, causing more harm than benefit. Chronic inflammation can eventually cause several diseases and conditions, including some cancers and rheumatoid arthritis.

According to Thomas DeLauer, “Diet plays a huge role when it comes to chronic inflammation in the body. It has been shown that a diet high in fish oil decreases the production of LTB4, so one study wanted to look at how total calorie reduction would impact this.

14 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) participated in a 1 week fast, with inflammatory marker measurements taken before and after the fast. They found that fasting reduced the release of leukotriene B4 from RA neutrophils, reduced the generation of cytotoxins from serum and altered the phospholipid fatty acid composition. It was shown that the phospholipid composition changed following the fast with a resulting reduction of LTB4 production, demonstrating an anti-inflammatory effect of fasting. No adverse effects of fasting were found in the study, only lightheadedness and a bit of weakness during the fasting period, making fasting a good option for those with RA.

Several other studies have also been successful in demonstrating that a calorie restriction diet, which is reducing your calories without malnutrition, reduces inflammatory markers. This occurred through the reduction of inflammatory cytokine production, including reduced tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6.

Chronic inflammation can impact every part of the body, including the brain. Chronic neuroinflammation is typical in many neurodegenerative diseases, including depression and Alzheimer’s.

In a 2015 study on rats it was found that IF reduced the risk of damage to brain function in both younger and older rats when looking at neurodegenerative diseases linked to central nervous system inflammation. The inflammasome is a set of proteins linked to several disorders, including type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer’s and autoinflammatory disorders.

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine conducted a study on mice in 2015 and found that beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) produced by fasting inhibits NLRP3, the set of proteins known as the inflammasome. BHB is produced when you fast, consume a ketogenic diet, do high-intensity exercise or experience calorie restriction, so these can all be used as tools to inhibit the inflammasome and decrease inflammation throughout the body.”

In a nutshell, what you eat, if/how you exercise and engaging in intermittent fasting help very well to decrease inflammation in your body and help you live a longer, healthier life.

Stay healthy, stay safe!

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