by The Welthi Bureau 13th Feb, 2019
Here’s what the Researchers say
It might or might not come as a surprise to you that Fasting might actually play a key role in slowing down the process of ageing, apart from the numerous other benefits you enjoy when you reduce your calorie intake. A recent study exploring the impact of fasting on the human body concluded that it increases the metabolic activity more than was previously known, and may even impart anti-ageing benefits.
Researchers are still debating exactly how effective a role fasting plays in the process of weight loss, but studies have shown that intermittent fasting can promote weight loss in certain people.
It is important, while considering using fasting in order to lose weight, to understand the metabolic processes involved. This is also helping research teams to discover ways to harness the benefits of fasting, without the need to go without food for several hours.
The fact is, there are a number of metabolic changes that take place when the human body is starved of food. Generally, when carbohydrates are available, the body uses them as fuel. Once they are gone, however, the body looks elsewhere for energy, during a process called ‘gluconeogenesis, when the body derives glucose from non-carbohydrate sources, such as amino acids. As was expected, after fasting, the levels of these ‘metabolites’ were present in the participants’ blood, along with another surprising metabolic change, which was the marked increase in the products of the citric acid cycle.
The Citric Acid Cycle happens in‘mitochondria’, whose function is to release stored energy. Therefore, the hike seen in the metabolites associated with this process, thrusts the mitochondria into overdrive. Another finding was an increase in levels of purine and pyrimidine, which scientists had not yet linked to fasting; thereby suggesting that fasting causes cells to switch the type and quantity of proteins that they need to function. And hence we arrive at the possibility that fasting slows the ageing process, simply by promoting the production of anti-ageing compounds within the body. Higher levels of purine and pyrimidine, say researchers, are clues that the body might be increasing the levels of specific antioxidants, including ergothioneine and carnosine.
In a previous study, researchers demonstrated how, as we age, a number of metabolites decline. These include leucine, isoleucine and ophthalmic acid. The latest study showed that fasting boosted these three metabolites and hence suggested that fasting can act against ageing.
Scientists believe that a hike in antioxidants might be indicative of our body’s survival response to starvation. When starved, the body undergoes high levels of oxidative stress, and by producing antioxidants, it might help avoid some of the damage done by free radicals.
The above facts are only presented as findings of researchers. At no point do we advocate or recommend any such practice of fasting, except after consulting your Physician, as people with health issues may be not be advised to starve the body for any length of time.
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