Intermittent fasting is reviewed for the athlete, obesity, and for general longevity in the rest of us alike.
Do not self-administer or prescribe anything reviewed here based on these learning points. Leave this to doctors who have studied this extensively only please. Repeat, this is for educational purposes only.
Alongside exercise and proper sleeping, it turns out that intermittent fasting is another spectacular, natural thing you can do for your health and to prolong longevity.
Since we evolved like all of the creatures to suffer periods of drought and famine, for us to be able to check in McDonald’s, Pizza, then Chipotle three times a day is completely unnatural.
Heck, we don’t even plant seeds anymore! So, overtime, our metabolism gets messed up in a way that’s a far departure from what it was supposed to be. Intermittent fasting isn’t just a means of caloric restriction. It is a means to resetting your metabolism BACK TO NORMAL.
So, if done properly, it should never be done for more than three months at a time… Like a good drought or famine. You see, it has to mimic a drought or famine. Things we don’t see anymore.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. So that’s why it should work: evolution is probably the best reason to justify anything that makes sense. But how does it work… Ah… Physiology In short, caloric restriction, if done correctly, up regulates stem cells in the GI tract!
The way this occurs at a molecular level is fairly straightforward. Caloric restriction leads to increased oxidative phosphorylation in the G.I. tract cells. This increases beta phosphorylation, so increases the metabolism of fatty acids, making fat the preferential substrate for the energy of those cells.
This not only leads to ketosis as we all know, it optimizes the NAD+/NADH ratio for ideal stem cell function. Optimal stem cell function in terms of ideal quiescence is correlated with optimal health and longevity.
Probably the biggest high risk group it really shouldn’t be doing intermittent fasting without the close observation of an expert position is a growing population group these days, the bipolar disorder patients, both types one and two.
See, bipolar patients are prone to manic cycling. If they get into a manic episode, you can throw their meds off, and lead to spinning function spirals of chaos and dysfunction. How does intermittent fasting make you manic? Ask anyone who’s ever done it. It leads to ketosis, and that leads to a massive amount of energy for up to a day or so.
That can lead to functional mania in most of us. But in the bipolar patient, it can lead to manic episodes that are usually bad in and of themselves. But it can throw the medicated or unmedicated patient into medication resistance.
Also, manic states can be followed by rebound situations that wind up in severe depression. Not good. Another big risk is doing intermittent fasting incorrectly. So, what are the correct ways of doing intermittent fasting.
The first and most important rule about intermittent fasting is that you should do it under the close guidance of a trained physician. The next most important rule, it is never done for more than 90 days. The pulse nature of this care must be emphasized.
One, it’s not safe to do it for long, no matter how much you fall in love with the ketotic manic highs, the weight loss, the improved athletic performance, the longevity you are buying into.
But two and most important, because it’s designed to mimic times of drought or famine in an organism’s life, and us a resetting of that organisms’ metabolism, it just won’t work if you do it continuously. It must be done; it must be stopped. The honeymoon’s off of it must be for at least a month. And often times for a year.
Again, let your physician decide. And never do a couple of 90 day passes back to back. Never. Dangerous, and it takes with the efficacy of this whole thing. On eating days by the way, breakfast is stressed. And on eating days, only eight hours of eating in general is considered healthy eating on an eating day.
These are general principles that must be followed by anyone who wants to do the best for their health, regardless of intermittent fasting. Please and thank you!
Intermittent Fasting Options
There are three main patterns of calorie restriction to choose from. Probably the least effective, but quite popular, and correct if done safely, is the “2-22” pattern of fasting. The most popular is fasting two days a week. It is more affective than 2-22, but not as effective as the least popular, but the most effective option – fasting five days a month. Yep!
2-22 refers to two hours of eating following waking up, yes breakfast, followed by 22 hours of fasting. Fasting means only water and coffee and tea if you drink those. Again, it’s least effective in terms of how much weight you will lose, it’s least effective in terms of how little rebound there will be, like that. But it’s generally very effective. And a very healthy thing to do at least yearly even if you don’t want to just lose weight.
More effective is a second option, fasting two days a week. Again, this will be for 90 days only. The two most studied days are Thursdays and Mondays. Water, tea or coffee if you drink these things are allowed. Nothing else on the two fasting days. This produces more effective weight loss, better athletic conditioning, better improvement in sleep cycles, a better reset of metabolism in general than 2-22. And, perhaps not so oddly, it is the most popular intermittent fasting option that has been scientifically proven to help your health and longevity.
The most effective option for intermittent fasting is fasting five days out of 30, again, for only 90 days total. Again, only under the guidance of an MD. As absolutely intolerable as that sounds, it is possible, it is safe, and it is done with the best of results. What makes it more tolerable however is to use a diet that tricks the body into thinking it’s fasting for those five days.
A highly respected scientific company called Prolon sells such a multi-patented diet on Amazon. Doctors trained in the administration of intermittent fasting and that diet can sell you that for less $ in their practices usually.
Intermittent fasting is safe, it is for everyone as long as it is done under the guidance of a trained MD, as long as it is done in pulses, as long as you do it for no longer than 90 days while you are doing it ever. All humble opinions here for the purpose of learning.
Do not self administer intermittent fasting without the help of a trained physician. I think I’ve said that enough times!
DAVID ALLINGHAM, M.D., MS