Intermittent fasting exploded as one of the most popular diets in Western cultures after some evidence pointed to it helping with weight loss
According to a study, intermittent fasting could lead to a number of positive health outcomes and reduce fatigue.
The study, published in the journal Nutrients, followed participants who fasted for 16 hours for five days a week over a three-month period and found that multiple markers of good health increased, along with a decrease in a marker known for progression. of the tumor.
Intermittent fasting exploded as one of the most popular diets in Western cultures after some evidence pointed to it helping with weight loss.
The jury is still out on whether fasting produces significant weight-loss benefits compared to a typical caloric deficit, but the University of Mainz scientists wanted to dig deeper into the potential health benefits dieting might have.
During the study period, 30 participants committed to a 16:8 regimen (fasting for 16 hours, and allowing an 8-hour eating window) while completing questionnaires, assessing their fatigue, and taking blood samples for biomarker analysis.
These were done at two weeks, four weeks, and after the period ended. Each participant was made to adhere to their normal lifestyle in addition to the change in diet.
According to the questionnaires, the average participant experienced a nearly 20 percent increase in quality of life across all metrics, including physical and mental health, physical functioning, and pain. Some of these took just two weeks, but others took up to four weeks for noticeable improvement.
There was about a 40 percent relative reduction in mental fatigue after three months on the diet, although there was no significant difference after two weeks.
There was also a significant reduction in IGF-1, an insulin-like hormone that plays a role in tumor growth.
Overall, the results showed that intermittent fasting in this routine is safe and could promote good health, but some caveats remain.
The sample size was too small to draw meaningful conclusions about the effectiveness of intermittent fasting, and the questionnaire style of the study may introduce bias. However, the study did show measurable differences in the blood of the participants, so it is likely that there was a positive effect at least for these people.
The researchers say this may provide evidence that fasting may be good for shift workers and even people with cancer, although this would need many more trials before it can be recommended.
They await further trials on intermittent fasting to identify if it could be included in patient care.