Occasional fasting may help people live healthier and longer, says a new study. According to researchers from the University of Florida, people on feast and famine diet may have some benefits from fasting, however, consuming antioxidant supplements while fasting might counter those benefits.
Earlier, researchers experimented on mice and found that fasting do extend their lifespan. Now scientists carried their research on 24 human participants. Each participant was allowed to eat 25 percent and 175 percent of their normal diet on every alternate day. Researchers measured participant’s weight, blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, glucose level, over a time span of 10 weeks.
Researchers found that the fasting activated a gene called SIRT3, responsible for living longer and healthy life. “We found that intermittent fasting caused a slight increase to SIRT 3, a well-known gene that promotes longevity and is involved in protective cell responses,” Michael Guo, a UF MD-PhD student who is pursuing the PhD portion of the programme in genetics at Harvard Medical School.
SIRT3 gene encodes a protein called SIRT3 that belongs to a class of protein called sirtuins which are responsible for lengthening lifespan in mice, as stated by earlier researches. The study authors believe that SIRT3 protein are produced much faster by the body when exposed to oxidative supplements, however, antioxidants might counter the same as these substances can neutralise the free radicals produced in the body.
Researchers say that when body goes under fasting it get stressed and produces free radicals that further triggers production of SIRT3 essential for healthier and longer life.
“The hypothesis is that if the body is intermittently exposed to low levels of oxidative stress, it can build a better response to it,” said Martin Wegman, an MD-PhD student at the UF College of Medicine and co-author of the paper published in the journal Rejuvenation Research.
Besides lengthening life, intermittent fasting also decreased insulin levels in the participants, thus it can serve anti-diabetic purpose as well.