Intermittent fasting is a method of eating that involves alternating between periods of eating and fasting.
It has gained popularity in recent years due to its potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and reduced inflammation.
There is also growing evidence to suggest that fasting can have positive effects on metabolic and cardiovascular health, as well as cognitive function.
A new study by researchers at Intermountain Health builds upon this evidence, suggesting that fasting may also provide protection against heart-related COVID-19 complications in people with heart disease.
Of the 464 patients who had been diagnosed with COVID-19, 135 reported that they fasted routinely, on average for 42.7 years.
The team found that those who practiced regular fasting had a lower rate of heart failure-related hospitalization, complications, and death than COVID-19 positive patients in the study who did not fast.
The researchers emphasized that the study participants were not patients who fasted as part of a fad diet but had been fasting for religious reasons for decades.
They stressed that anyone who wants to consider starting a new fasting practice should consult their doctors first, especially if they are elderly, pregnant, or have conditions like diabetes, heart or kidney disease.
The team noted that more research is needed to fully understand why intermittent fasting is associated with better COVID-19 outcomes in patients being treated for heart conditions.
However, they suggested that fasting reduces inflammation, which is associated with poor COVID-19 outcomes, and promotes autophagy, which helps the body destroy and recycle damaged and infected cells.
Additionally, after 12 to 14 hours of fasting, the body switches from using glucose in the blood to ketones, which can improve heart function.
Moreover, fasting may also have other potential health benefits.
For example, research has shown that intermittent fasting can improve insulin sensitivity, reduce blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels.
It may also protect against age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by promoting the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that helps the brain grow and repair itself.
Despite these potential benefits, it’s important to note that fasting is not appropriate for everyone.
People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or eating disorders, may be advised against fasting. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid fasting, as should children and adolescents.
In summary, the recent study by researchers at Intermountain Health suggests that regular fasting over long periods of time may provide protection against heart-related COVID-19 complications in people who have previously sought cardiac care.
While more research is needed to fully understand the link between fasting and improved cardiovascular health, the findings provide insight into the potential benefits of this eating pattern.
However, as with any dietary changes, it’s important to consult with a doctor or healthcare professional before starting a new fasting practice.
There are several ways to do IF, but the most common methods are:
16/8 Method: Also known as the Leangains method, this involves fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window. For example, you might choose to eat only between noon and 8 pm, and fast for the remaining 16 hours.
5:2 Diet: This involves eating normally for five days of the week and restricting calories to 500-600 for two non-consecutive days.
Alternate-Day Fasting: This involves fasting every other day, either by restricting calories to 500-600 or by completely fasting.
Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week.
It’s important to note that IF may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with certain medical conditions or who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you’re considering trying IF, it’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it’s safe and appropriate for you.
If you care about Covid, please read studies about hand size linked to risk of severe COVID-19, and Vitamin D level could determine COVID-19 severity.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about How vitamin K helps protect the heart, reduce blood clots and death risk and results showing that the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease.
The study was conducted by Dr. Benjamin Horne et al.
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