• Glenn Wilson

    Alternate-day modified fasting is put to the test for lifespan extension.

    Dr. Greger: Is it true that alternate-day calorie restriction prolongs life? Doctors have anecdotally attributed improvements in a variety of disease states to alternate-day fasting including asthma, seasonal allergies, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, infectious diseases like toenail fungus, periodontal disease, and viral upper respiratory tract infections, neurological conditions like Tourette’s syndrome and Meniere’s disease, atrial fibrillation, and menopause-related hot flashes. The actual effect on chronic disease, however, remains unclear.

    Alternate-day fasting has been put to the test for asthma in overweight adults. Asthma-related symptoms and control significantly improved, as did their quality of life, including objective measurements of lung function and inflammation, significant improvements in peak airflow, significant improvements in mood and energy. But, their weight improved too—about a 19-pound drop in 8 weeks—so, it’s hard to tease out effects specific to the fasting beyond the benefits we might expect from weight loss by any means. For the most remarkable study on alternate-day fasting, you have to go back more than a half century.

    The 2017 cholesterol findings were the most concerning data I could find on alternate-day fasting. The most enticing was published in Spain 61 years earlier, in 1956. The title of the study translates as “The hunger diet on alternate days in the nutrition of the aged.” Inspired by the data being published on life extension with calorie restriction on lab rats, researchers split 120 residents of an old-age home in Madrid into two groups. Sixty residents continued to eat their regular diet, and the other sixty were put on an alternate-day modified fast. On the odd days of the month, they ate a 2,300-calorie regular diet, and on the even days were given only a pound of fresh fruit and a liter of milk, estimated to add up to about 900 calories. This continued for three years. So, what happened?

    Continue at NutritionFacts: Does Intermittent Fasting Increase Human Life Expectancy?

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