How intermittent fasting helps prevent disease

In a new study, researchers have used state-of-the-art analytical tools to understand how intermittent fasting works on the liver to help prevent disease.

The findings will help medical scientists working in cancer, heart disease, and diabetes research develop new interventions to lower disease risk and discover the optimum intervals for fasting.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Sydney and elsewhere.

In the study, the team examined how every-other-day fasting affected proteins in the liver.

They found an unexpected impact on fatty acid metabolism and the surprising role played by a master regulator protein that controls many biological pathways in the liver and other organs.

In particular, the researchers found that the HNF4-(alpha) protein, which regulates a large number of liver genes, plays a previously unknown role during intermittent fasting.

The researchers also found that every-other-day-fasting—where no food was consumed on alternate days—changed the metabolism of fatty acids in the liver, knowledge that could be applied to improvements in glucose tolerance and the regulation of diabetes.

A technique known as multi-Omics, which considers multiple data sets such as the total collection of proteins and genes, was used in the study.

It allows for the integration of large amounts of information to discover new associations within biological systems.

The team says that the information can now be used in future studies to determine optimum fasting periods to regulate protein response in the liver.

The lead author of the study is Dr. Mark Larance at the University of Sydney.

The study is published in Cell Reports.

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