We hear so much about fasting and gut health nowadays, but did you know that the two are very intricately linked?
In the following video I share two studies in which fasting’s unique benefits to gut health were demonstrated.
In a traditional, natural setting, human beings would experience scenarios of little to no food on a regular basis. Changes in season, natural disasters, changes in food availability, changes in the success of hunting etc etc would all result in populations either eating light fare or going without food entirely.
Of course, our bodies have developed ways in which this lack of food can actually be very beneficial. For years now, we’ve been hearing about long-term caloric restriction and its affect on human longevity but we’re also starting to uncover a new story about short term caloric* restriction through fasting.
*IF does not always restrict calories per say, but operates in a restricted eating window.
Fasting means to literally go without food for an extended period of time, and is a strategy practiced for thousands of years across varying cultures and religions.
A recent study from researchers at MIT demonstrated some incredible benefits to something as simple as a 24-hour fast.
After mice fasted for 24 hours, researchers removed intestinal stem cells and grew them in a culture dish, allowing them to determine whether the cells can give rise to “mini-intestines” known as organoids.
The researchers found that stem cells from the fasting mice doubled their regenerative capacity.
“It was very obvious that fasting had this really immense effect on the ability of intestinal crypts to form more organoids, which is stem-cell-driven,” one of the study’s lead authors, Maria Mihaylova says. “This was something that we saw in both the young mice and the aged mice.
Further study revealed that fasting induces cells to switch from their usual metabolism, which burns carbohydrates such as sugars, to metabolizing fatty acids. This switch occurs through the activation of transcription factors called PPARs, which turn on many genes that are involved in metabolizing fatty acids.
After ‘switching off’ this pathway, the researchers found that fasting’s benefits seem to become ‘blocked’, a strong indicator that the benefits are indeed linked to the metabolic change.
Now you guys would know that I’ve been advocating a diet (see the new Third Edition Gut Healing Protocol) which helps you become more fat adapted. This essentially means that you become a fat burning machine rather than a sugar burning machine which allows for you to operate at higher efficiency with less dependence on food.
This type of diet involves a bunch of vegetables, some fruits, some smart grains for active individuals with good gut health, and liberal amounts of healthy fats and proteins. Basically, a wholefoods diet.
My big obvious, GUYS THERE’S AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM HERE moment, is asking the question…
Could we induce those same effects with a smart, fat adapted diet?
Imagine a human body in which every single cell is REgenerating at a moderate pace as opposed to DEgenerating at a moderate pace?
The implications are huge.
Another study which I spoke about in the video above is one in which researchers were able to demonstrate that long-term caloric restriction is actually able to change the population of gut bacteria within one’s microbiome to one that is more supportive of longevity and overall health and well-being.
The researchers took different groups of mice and assigned them different diets, testing their faecal matter throughout the entire lifespan. They found that particular species of gut bacteria were enhanced within the calorie restricted group.
“Calorie restriction enriches phylotypes positively correlated with lifespan, for example, the genus Lactobacillus on low-fat diet, and reduces phylotypes negatively correlated with lifespan. These calorie restriction-induced changes in the gut microbiota are concomitant with significantly reduced serum levels of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, suggesting that animals under calorie restriction can establish a structurally balanced architecture of gut microbiota that may exert a health benefit to the host via reduction of antigen load from the gut.”
TRANSLATED: LESS INFLAMMATION.
I apply a more sustainable way of fasting in my own health regime. This method is called Intermittent Fasting (IF) and basically requires one to go without food for around 16 hours out of the day. For instance if I have dinner at 6 PM I would then wait until 10 AM to have breakfast (times are considered interchangeable).
Whilst here in Spain & France, I have noticed that most of the population seems to apply principles of intermittent fasting, eating dinner at a late time, yes, but then not eating until very late the next day, sometimes around 1 or 2 PM.
Perhaps this strategy has something to do with The French Paradox?
Fasting it seems has a very beneficial impact on our gut health. When applied intelligently, for instance in people who are able to manage the blood sugar effectively and do not require regular meals, it can be a great way for us to establish and maintain a long-term healthy gut microbiome.
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PS: THE 3RD & FINAL EDITION OF THE GUT HEALING PROTOCOL JUST GOT RELEASED!! HAVE YOU GOT YOURS YET?
PPS: I ATE SNAILS THE OTHER DAY!! ?