Healthy Living

Intermittent Fasting Benefits: Improves Fat Metabolism, Helps Prevent Diseases

A new study shows that the effects of intermittent fasting could help improve fat metabolism and trigger changes in the body that could prevent certain diseases. Researchers hope the findings will guide scientists in finding ways to block cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

The study, published in the journal Cell Reports, highlights the health benefits of alternate day fasting. It states that the diet “reprograms liver proteins,” including one protein that plays a key role in multiple biological pathways in organs, including the liver. 

Researchers used new “state-of-the-art analytical tools” to look into how the diet directly affects the liver and helps prevent disease. They also gathered data using the technique known as multi-Omics, which included multiple data sets showing the associations within biological systems.

“These multi-Omics approaches give us unprecedented insight into biological systems. We are able to build very sophisticated models by bringing together all the moving parts,” John O’Sullivan, of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said in a statement

In tests with mice, intermittent fasting caused changes in the activities of the HNF4-(alpha) protein, which helps regulate liver genes. 

“For the first time we showed that HNF4-(alpha) is inhibited during intermittent fasting. This has downstream consequences, such as lowering the abundance of blood proteins in inflammation or affecting bile synthesis,” Mark Larance, lead researcher and a research fellow at the University of Sydney, said in a statement. “This helps explain some of the previously known facts about intermittent fasting.”

Restricting meals every other day also triggered changes in the metabolism of fatty acids in the liver. Researchers said such changes could help improve approaches to glucose tolerance and the regulation of diabetes.

The researchers hope the findings would guide future efforts that aim to determine effective fasting periods and to see how the diet would help with protein response in the liver.

“What's really exciting is that this new knowledge about the role of HNF4-(alpha) means it could be possible to mimic some of the effects of intermittent fasting through the development of liver-specific HNF4-(alpha) regulators,” Larance said.

Intermittent fasting Intermittent fasting has been linked to increased resistance to stress, improved blood sugar levels and better blood pressure and resting heart rates. However, the dieters are encouraged to stay hydrated. Pixabay

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