WeFast is a crew of women who support each other towards the same goal: Improving our health through intermittent fasting.
Anita Tejani wrote the article of this week: Anita focuses on a scientifically-backed natural approach to health care. Her scientific research on obesity and microbiota has been published by the British Association of Nutritional Therapists.
We pull out that first grey hair. We run to the store to buy face lotions, potions and elixirs when we see that first wrinkle. We hide our sun spots with blouses or even concealers…
…we just don’t want to get older!
Now, what if there was another way to put the breaks on aging? A way to slow down the whole process - from the inside?
Well, there is… but first, we have to dive a little deeper into the aging process to understand why this ‘fix’ will work.
As you get older, your body slows in its ability to repair damaged tissues (1). The resources to keep up with the onslaught of environmental factors, genes as well as the risk of disease, which increase the rate of cell turnover, are simply not available. On top of that, the body is already killing off millions of cells to clear out old ones on a daily basis.
With the resources it has, the body prioritizes the essential organs, and to the detriment of those non-essential ones.
Of course, we fully agree that our hair and skin should be considered essential - someone should inform the body of that! - but we guess that the heart, brain and lungs should get priority in the maintenance department. Moving on.
A higher demand on our bodies, with lower reserves for growth and repair as we age causes a number of age-related changes to happen, which we can see on the outside (2). Our:
On the inside, there are also major changes as a result. It’s the reason we are at a higher risk of disease as we get older; a common worry during the aging process.
So, how do we slow this process down?
There are a number of ways that IF slows the aging process:
Just 14 hours of fasting each day has been shown to reduce the risk of DNA damage in a pilot study in 14 subjects (3).
After 4 weeks, researchers found that fasting increased the products of a specific DNA repair protein, reducing the risk of many diseases associated with DNA compromise.
Remember the environmental toxins we mentioned earlier? It’s these factors that use up important compounds in the body called antioxidants. Antioxidants are major role-players in the anti-aging process because they help to eliminate factors responsible for tissue damage. In other words, we can help our bodies to stay young by keeping antioxidant levels high!
IF has been shown to improve antioxidant supply. Going without food triggers the body’s survival response, hiking up the production of antioxidants, and in doing so, decreases the negative effects of free radical damage (4).
Muscle wastage is a hallmark of aging. From around the age of 40, we begin to lose muscle, in fact, over the next 40 years of life, most people will have lost 50% of their muscle mass as a result of an age-related condition called sarcopenia (5).
Weakness and loss of independence are a major consequence of this, and it is one of the major reasons for frailty.
IF may reduce this process due to the health benefits it has for mitochondrial function (6). The mitochondria, which provide energy for each and every cell in the body, decline in their ability to function with age, and are associated with one of the processes leading to sarcopenia.
Recent research has shown promising results for IF in the treatment of obesity (7).
Obesity as well as the co-existing condition metabolic syndrome, are well-known causes of inflammation. Inflammation leads to higher production of free radicals, tissue damage and risk of disease, all of which are associated with aging.
Most people eat too frequently during the day and at night, which reduces the time that the body has to regenerate and repair.
Fasting for a set period allows the body the time it needs to perform critical functions related to health and wellbeing. It allows for adaptive cellular processes to take place, processes such as blood sugar regulation, stress resilience and modulation of inflammation that may have the greatest effect on the processes of aging (8).
Not only are those benefits notable on what happens to the organs and tissues on the inside of our body, but these effects will surely be visible on the outside, too.
Here’s to both looking and feeling healthy, happy and youthful!
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