Recent Harvard researches revealed that intermittent fasting can slow down the aging process.
What intermittent fasting means? It is a terminology that refers to various diets which cycle between a period of non-fasting and fasting. There are two types of intermittent fasting:
- Whole Day Fasting – Involves single day fasts. This type involves consuming fasting foods for 24 hours, then eating non-fasting foods for the next 24 hours. This was also known as 5:2 diet.
- TRF (Time Restricted Feeding) – This type suggests easting only during certain hours each day. Typically, this means fasting for 16 hours then non-fasting for the remaining 8.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, manipulation of the mitochondrial networks whether by dietary restriction or by generic manipulations that imitate dietary restriction, can increase lifespan and contribute to healthy life. The main target of this research were the cells which ability to process energy is declining over time. Mitochondria is the part of the cells responsible for producing energy, they form networks which change their shape according to the energy demand. Their capacity to process energy declines as the time passes by, this had a huge impact on the metabolism and until now it was a mystery for the scientists. They have finally explained how changing the shapes of the mitochondrial networks has impact on the cells ability to process energy.
To test their theory they have experimented on Caenorhabditis elegans – a free living transparent nematode worm who have a short lifespan, making it perfect for this research. The scientists at Harvard, discovered that restricting their diet or simulating a dietary restriction with genetic manipulation using AMP(energy sensing protein) kept the mitochondrial networks in much “younger” state. As a result of this they’ve discovered that these young mitochondrial networks increase lifespan by connecting with other organelles (peroxisomes ) to module fat metabolism.
Heather Weir lead author of the study said “ Diet restrictions and intermittent fasting have contributed to slowing down aging process, our latest discovery means that eventually we’ll find a way to avoid diseases that contribute to our aging.”
William Mair, Professor of Genetics and Complex diseases at Harvard Chan School Of Public Health said” If we manage to keep the young state of the mitochondrial networks permanently, the cells ability to process energy wont decline anymore and the result will be increased lifespan”
The next goal for the researchers at Harvard’s School Of Public Health is to test the impact mitochondrial networks have in the process of fasting in mammals, and if problems in mitochondrial elasticity will explain the connection between obesity and age related diseases.