Does A Fast-Mimicking Diet Prevent Aging? Check!

Written by Dr. Amber Jones
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Does a fast-mimicking diet prevent aging or not has become a hot topic in recent years. As we age, our cells undergo changes that can eventually lead to disease.

A fast-mimicking diet is a type of fasting that tricks your body into thinking you're fasting when you're still consuming a small number of calories. Research shows this type of intermittent fasting offers powerful anti-aging benefits. 

In this article, we’ll explore what a fast-mimicking diet is, the pros and cons, and whether it can help prevent aging.

What is a fast-mimicking diet?

Fast-Mimicking Foods

It’s a way of fasting that restricts calories to mimic the effects of a water-only fast, while still allowing a specific selection of foods. The diet provides between 700 to 1,100 calories per day from plant-based foods and healthy fats. It's followed for 5 consecutive days per month.

Is a fasting-mimicking diet effective?

Multiple clinical trials demonstrate the effectiveness of fasting-mimicking diets for anti-aging purposes. In these studies, participants follow a proprietary diet of specific prepared meals for 5 subsequent days once per month.

Testing after just 3 monthly cycles spanning 3 months shows decreases in body fat and weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammatory markers. 

Subjects also exhibit increased stem cell regeneration and longevity gene activation. Self-reports show notable gains in energy, sleep quality, mood, and overall vitality.

While larger-scale research is still needed, the evidence thus far indicates that periodic cycling of fast-mimicking diets triggers measurable anti-inflammatory and anti-aging changes throughout the body and brain.

Most participants plan to incorporate yearly fasting-mimicking diet stints even after the trial period due to both subjective mental and physical benefits as well as objective improvements in key biomarkers.

Pros of a Fast-Mimicking Diet

Now, that we have understood what is it, the pros and cons of a fast-mimicking diet come next. So, now let's go ahead and examine the pros of fasting mimicking. 

There are several advantages to following a fast-mimicking diet.

  • It triggers ketosis and autophagy more quickly than water fasting because it still allows key micronutrients.
  • It supports healthy immune function and inflammation levels, unlike some longer fasts which can increase cortisol and be stressful for the body over time.
  • Fast-mimicking diets protect against cognitive decline by reducing oxidative damage and promoting neuron growth in the brain.
  • Fast-mimicking diet boosts production of the protein BDNF which supports cognitive health and brain function.
  • May enhance stem cell-based regeneration and longevity at the cellular level.
  • Reduces one’s abdominal fat, improves cardiovascular function, promotes healthier blood sugar levels, and increases resistance to muscle and bone loss.
  • Fast-mimicking diet can reverse age by activating longevity genes and regenerative stem cell pathways.
  • It gives cells time to repair DNA mutations and clear away damaged proteins that accumulate over decades.
  • Periods of low calories spur the creation of new healthy cells to replace older ones.

Cons of a Fast Mimicking Diet

Despite the many benefits, there are some potential downsides to a fast-mimicking diet.

  • Since it restricts calories substantially for a few days every month, some people report headaches, fatigue, irritability, and constipation.
  • Blood sugar levels can also dip too low for diabetics or those taking certain medications.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid fasting protocols until the baby is weaned. 
  • People sensitive to drops in blood glucose like diabetics may struggle with symptoms of low energy.
  • Adding MCT oil powders or exogenous ketones can help mitigate this.
  • Hunger pangs, food cravings, and mood swings are common.

It may take several rounds to adapt both physically and mentally. However, many people report feeling euphoric, clear-headed, and energetic after 2-3 days due to ketosis.

Does Fasting Prevent Aging?

There’s some evidence that incorporating occasional fasting into your lifestyle can help prevent aging. By allowing cells to take a break from digestion and metabolizing food, they can enter repair mode to fix damaged DNA, digest waste and abnormal proteins, and recycle old cell components. This is known as autophagy.

Studies show fasting triggers autophagy and stem cell production more than calorie restriction alone. It helps preserve telomeres which naturally shorten with age and controls genes related to longevity.

Periodic fasting has extended lifespan in yeasts, fruit flies, and rodents. While more research is needed, findings suggest the possibility of slowing human aging.

Is Fasting Mimicking Diet Effective?

So, what are the results of a fast-mimicking diet? Is Fasting mimicking diet effective? Multiple clinical trials demonstrate the effectiveness of fasting-mimicking diets.

Participants follow the diet of specific prepared meals from L-Nutra for 5 subsequent days once per month. Testing occurs at baseline, after the first fast, and again after 3 fasting/re-feeding cycles spanning 3 months.

Results show participants lose abdominal fat, retain muscle mass, support healthy blood markers, and improve immune function after several monthly fast cycles.

The vast majority of subjects reported improvement in general health, well-being, and vitality. This indicates the diet provides anti-aging effects at the cellular and whole-body levels over a short time.

Can Fasting Mimicking Diet Help Alzheimer’s?

Evidence shows fasting mimicking diets may help treat Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. People with Alzheimer's tend to have higher insulin resistance in the brain. Fasting even for short spurts can reduce insulin levels and inflammation linked to brain disease.

In mouse models of Alzheimer’s fasting both intermittent and prolonged fasting reduces brain plaques and improves cognitive function. The effects seem to result largely from better insulin signaling and decreased inflammation.

By allowing cells to repair damage, remove waste, and grow new neuron connections, fasting gives the brain a chance to rejuvenate itself on a cellular scale. More research is needed, but findings thus far indicate that fasting-mimicking diets hold promise for preventing and supporting Alzheimer’s treatment.

What are the Results of Fasting Mimicking Diet?

Clinical studies evaluating various health markers after fast-mimicking diet cycles show measurable antiaging effects. Participants exhibit decreased abdominal fat and body weight, reduced blood pressure, and total and LDL cholesterol levels even 3 months after the diet period.

Blood samples reveal lower inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein and cytokines as well as insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1). High IGF-1 is linked with accelerated aging while lower levels align more with anti-aging pathways. Samples also show markers of stem cell regeneration and longevity gene activation.

Subjects report higher energy, improved sleep, positive mood, and a sense of health after several monthly fasting cycles. The vast majority say it’s easier than expected both physically and mentally. Most plan to incorporate yearly fast-mimicking diet stints even after the trial period.

The evidence thus far demonstrates that periodic fasting mimicking diets triggers measurable anti-inflammatory and antiaging changes throughout the body and brain

Conclusion

In closing, the evidence does suggest that occasional fast-mimicking diets may help prevent aging by promoting autophagy, stem cell production, DNA repair, and cellular cleanup processes. However, more research is still needed, especially large-scale controlled clinical trials in humans. The diet appears safe for most healthy adults outside of pregnant women, diabetics, or those with eating disorders when properly implemented.

Does a fast-mimicking diet prevent aging? Early research indicates it triggers potent antiaging mechanisms that may defend against disease and extend longevity. But more evidence is needed. Regardless, periodic fasting of some type likely supports the cellular cleanup and regeneration required for continued health.

In moderation, a fasting-mimicking diet seems to offer antiaging and disease prevention potential. But should everyone now embark on regular 5-day fasts? What role might user preferences, genetics, and lifestyle factors play?

References

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Amber Jones is a sought-after dietitian nutritionist with expertise in public and community health. She holds a Masters in Public Health from Yale University and completed her dietetic internship with the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center

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