How can intermittent fasting affect health?


Intermittent fasting can have numerous health benefits, including:

  • Enhancements in the gut microbiome, especially for treating conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and forms of colitis. Time-restricted feeding helps people with these conditions by impacting clock genes and the mucosal lining of the gut, favoring a healthier microbiota 1.
  • Intermittent fasting impacts various aspects of health and wellbeing, both physical and mental, such as weight loss (especially fat loss), muscle maintenance, organ health (including gut and liver health), the genome and epigenome, inflammation, sickness recovery, exercise, cognition, mood, and potentially lifespan 2.
  • It's important to avoid creating a feeding window that's too short. For menstruating women, there must be sufficient leptin signaling to the brain to maintain ovulation. Men should be cautious since fasting or extreme exercise combined with fasting can reduce testosterone, sperm counts, and fertility 3.

    Intermittent Fasting Benefits

    Andrew explains how intermittent fasting can improve gut health by promoting healthy gut microbiota and reducing the amount of lactobacillus present in the gut. Time-restricted feeding can assist people with irritable bowel syndrome and other forms of colitis by impacting the expression of clock genes and having a direct effect on the mucosal lining.

    Huberman Lab

    Effects of Fasting & Time Restricted Eating on Fat Loss & Health | Huberman Lab Podcast #41
  • Linked to the increase of brown fat stores, which are important for thermogenesis and lean body mass, intermittent fasting helps improve liver health and potentially reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease 4.
  • An ideal intermittent fasting schedule would involve not eating at least 60 minutes after waking up and abstaining from food intake 2-3 hours before bedtime, with an eight-hour feeding window appearing to be optimal 5.
  • It has shown positive effects on liver disease, metabolic markers, and reduction in body fat when meals are confined to a specific timeframe, mostly correlating with daylight hours 6.
  • Time-restricted feeding is used by some for weight management or physical performance enhancement, and certain glucose disposal agents or behaviors can play a role in this 7.
  • Overall calorie intake still determines weight loss, maintenance, or gain; hence, the decision to employ intermittent fasting might be based more on ease of adherence and preference for eating patterns than inherent metabolic advantages 8.

It is essential to note that the effects of intermittent fasting are largely individual, and it's advisable to consult a healthcare provider before making significant changes to one's eating patterns.