A new study by Harvard University shows how intermittent fasting and manipulating mitochondrial networks may increase lifespan.
This study, sheds new light on the basic biology involved in cells’ declining ability to process energy over time, which leads to aging and age-related disease, and how interventions such as periods of fasting might promote healthy aging.
A second research project was completed using mice and its results might have created more questions. The results of this study by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) were published in the medical journal, Cell Metabolism. The interesting effects may be cause for further research about the benefits of eating a restricted caloric intake and spreading our meals out more. Should humans be monitoring and changing our intake of food?
Intermittent fasting, which includes everything from periodic multiday fasts to skipping a meal or two on certain days of the week, may promote some of the same health benefits that uninterrupted calorie restriction promises.
The mice who were only fed a restricted diet one time daily were healthier and lived longer than mice that had unlimited access to their food.
In addition to having a longer lifespan, the mice who fasted also had a later onset of common age-related health issues and showed improvement in glucose and insulin levels during the fast. It is also important to note that the food type that was being consumed during a restricted diet did not have much of an impact on lifespan.
It is noted in the study that a more extended fast may provide the body more of an opportunity to adjust to the food consumption.
Could it be possible that more time between meals could allow the body to repair and maintain itself better than eating frequently?
Next steps for the researchers including testing the effect of fasting in mammals, and whether defects in mitochondrial flexibility might explain the association between obesity and increased risk for age-related diseases.