A study that lasted more than a decade concluded that "caloric restriction increase lifespan and delay the aging process for many of the species living on this planet" and "caloric restriction reduces metabolic rate and oxidative stress, improves insulin sensitivity and influence the neuro-endocrine function of the nervous system"
The medical community shows a particular interest today in fasting practice therefore a lot of active research is going on to understand and explain scientifically the effects of fasting on human body. In the last decades scientists studied this thousands of years old practice, how it works at cellular level protecting the body against diseases such as diabetes, cancers, heart disease, neurodegeneration as well as helping reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
In February 2014 Dr. Mark Mattson publised in the journal Cell Metabolism the article Fasting, Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications explaining that "Fasting has the potential to delay aging and help prevent and treat diseases while minimizing the side effects caused by chronic dietary interventions". Doctor Mark Mattson is a reputable neuroscientist, professor at Johns Hopkins University and chief of the laboratory of neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) with a lot of research done on how fasting can improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
Dr. Mattson supports the statements he made in this article with a study that lasted more than a decade and concluded that "caloric restriction increase lifespan and delay the aging process for many of the species living on this planet" and "caloric restriction reduces metabolic rate and oxidative stress, improves insulin sensitivity and influence the neuroendocrine function of the nervous system in animals". Dr. Mattson believes that challenges such as intermittently fasting (as well as making vigorous physical activity) represent cognitive challenges capable of activating neural circuits and of increasing the level of neurotrophic factors and that these stimulate the neurons growing and synapses formation and strengthening. In other words, fasting strengthens brain power.
Dr. Mattson’s long time study reveals other interesting facts, such as that intermittent fasting improves the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA. The history of evolution supports this idea as the cycle of eating three meals a day is fairly new, our ancestors used to survive without any food much more time than we do.
Therefore, what is the best way to fast intermittently?
One method, the hard one, is that after a day when you had three meals the next day not to eat anything. A more convenient method is the one called 5:2 diet, saying that you should cut to ¼ from usual calories consumption for two days in a week. During the other five days you may eat normally.
Watch here a short presentation of Dr. Mattson's study: