“In 2003 a mouse study overseen by Mark Mattson, head of the National Institute on Aging’s neuroscience laboratory, mice that fasted regularly were healthier by some measures than mice subjected to continuous calorie restrictions.”
Furthermore, the mice that fasted regularly experienced lower levels of insulin and glucose in their blood. This signified increased sensitivity to insulin and a reduced risk of diabetes.
For a while, “research into anti-aging diets took a backseat to more influential medical advances, such as antibiotics and coronary bypass surgery.” Regardless of this fact, Mattson and other researchers have continued their research into intermittent fasting’s potent effect on aging.
They have even “championed” the idea that intermittent fasting may lower the risk of degenerative brain diseases later in life.”
Of course, it’s hard to know all of the fasting results to expect for humans. The lack of experiments on humans concerning fasting is always evident, but unfortunately, it can be necessary.
Certain experiments require the subjected brain to be “altered.” Some experiments expect the participants to be exposed to the changing of diets without yet knowing the consequences for those changes.
Many of these experiments are too dangerous to be done on humans, thus the lack of fasting experiments on humans. This is why many studies have been done on rodents.
Mattson is just one of many of those who have conducted numerous studies on rodents. Mattson and his colleagues have proven that periodic fasting protects neurons against various kinds of dangerous stress, at least for rodents.
Again, we do not know for certain if humans will experience the same results as rodents. We know that both creatures are mammals and that in the past, humans have sometimes responded to intermittent fasting like rodents, but not always.
One of Mattson’s earliest studies concluded that alternate-day fasting (a form of intermittent fasting) made the rats’ brains “resistant to toxins that induce cellular damage akin to the kind cells endure as they age.”
Following this study, Mattson found that intermittent fasting protects against stroke damage. It also suppresses motor “deficits” in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease and slows down the cognitive decline in mice genetically engineered to mimic the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
So, in conclusion, why should we take note of what Mark Mattson has to say? Well, Mattson truly believes in the health benefits of intermittent fasting and practices what he preaches.
Mattson “has long skipped breakfast and lunch on weekends. ‘It makes me more productive,’ he says.” The renowned researcher has a Ph.D. in biology and has written or co-authored more than 700 articles.
Stipp, David. “How Intermittent Fasting Might Help You Live a Longer and Healthier Life.” Scientific American, 1 Jan. 2013, www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-intermittent-fasting-might-help-you-live-longer-healthier-life/.