How fasting may help reduce inflammation in the body

Evan Walker
Evan Walker TheMediTary.Com |
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Experts say fasting for at least part of the day can provide overall Health benefits. AsiaVision/Getty Images
  • Researchers say fasting can do a lot more than just helping a person lose weight.
  • They say fasting may also help reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Experts say high calorie diets are associated with a chronic metabolic inflammatory syndrome called metaflammation.

The tradition of three full meals per day is being called into question.

The trio of daily meals and the typical Western, high-calorie diet are the focus of a new study published in the journal Cell Reports providing more evidence that fasting at least part of the day may be good for the body.

Fasting has been promoted in recent years for weight loss, typically when someone skips a meal and their body reacts using stored fat and carbohydrates as energy sources.

Now, the authors of the new study say intermittent fasting may help inhibit inflammation.

Experts say that inflammation can contribute to a variety of chronic diseases. One of these is metabolic syndrome, which can increase the risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

In some cases of inflammation, the body may be sending cells to defend against viruses, bacteria, and other organisms causing infections.

Sometimes, though, the body mistakenly perceives its own cells or tissues as harmful. This reaction can lead to autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.

The researchers in the new study say a high calorie diet associated with many Western cultures is associated with a chronic metabolic inflammatory syndrome called Health">metaflammation.

The authors say metaflammation “underpins many prevalent noncommunicable diseases.”

They report that elevated levels of the immune response proteins interleukin (IL)-1β, NLRP3 inflammasome activity, and systemic inflammation are hallmarks of chronic metabolic inflammatory syndromes.

They added that exogenous arachidonic acid can impair NLRP3 inflammasome activity in human and mouse macrophages.

Researchers took serum samples from 21 volunteers, who consumed a baseline 500 kilocalorie meal, fasted for 24 hours, and then consumed another 500 kilocalorie meal.

In peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from these volunteers, IL-1β levels were elevated 3 hours after the second meal. Plasma arachidonic acid was elevated in the volunteers during fasting but reduced after the second meal.

The scientists reported that in fasting subjects, compared to other participants with more normal meal plans, plasma IL-1β was lower and arachidonic acid was higher.

Arachidonic acid inhibits phospholipase C and reduces JNK stimulation and NLRP3 activity, they said.

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