Research uncovers previously unknown effects of fasting, including notably increased metabolic activity and possible anti-aging effects.
Fasting may help people lose weight, but new research suggests going without food may also boost human metabolic activity, generate antioxidants, and help reverse some effects of aging. Scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and Kyoto University identified 30 previously-unreported substances whose quantity increases during fasting and indicate a variety of health benefits.
The study presents an analysis of whole human blood, plasma, and red blood cells drawn from four fasting individuals. The researchers monitored changing levels of metabolites, substances formed during the chemical processes that grant organisms energy and allow them to grow. The results revealed 44 metabolites, including 30 that were previously unrecognized, that increased universally among subjects between 1.5- to 60-fold within just 58 hours of fasting.
The findings expand on established ideas of what fasting could do for human health. The next step would be to replicate these results in a larger study, or investigate how the metabolic changes might be triggered by other means.