Caloric Restriction (CR) and Intermittent Fasting (IF) are basically just reducing caloric intake, without causing malnutrition, over a prolonged period of time. CR is a consistent reduction in daily caloric intake, while IF is an extended period of total fasting, followed by a period of normal food consumption, repeated over and over. This is not going days at a time without eating. This is a regimented system of either dramatically reducing your daily calories, or going a period of time every day (generally more than 12 hours) without eating anything at all. The repeated pattern to this has some interesting effects on mammals.
Fasting causes the body to go into a form of starvation mode, which produces a certain kind of stress. It has long been known that the stress caused by a lack of food is different, and has several physical, as well as psychological effects on mammals. This seems to go back to a distant time in humans when food supplies could suddenly diminish, or even disappear. Interestingly enough though, studies show that things like stress proteins and antioxidant enzymes that are produced from CF and IR help reduce “oxidative stress” on important cells. Oxidative stress on cells is what causes aging and disease. Living longer and healthier overall are just obvious here, but this can also have a profound effect on neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease, as well as diabetes, cancers, and many other diseases and disorders.
When our bodies enter this starvation mode, a couple of things that happen are that we release these proteins called “heat shock” and “Glucose-regulated” proteins, which interact with the functions of many other proteins to assist in their efficiency, as well as assisting in repairing or disposing of damaged ones. Now, without going down a “rabbit hole” I’d just like to say that proteins are not just for building muscle. Proteins are involved heavily in things like brain function, cell function, and make up a large portion of your immune system. So this is like mobilizing the entire neighborhood in an emergency. Everyone bands together to repair, protect, and use every resource to its fullest, but in this case, studies show that some of the guards are left behind, so to speak, and they function better in environments low in glucose and oxygen. So the decreased availability of insulin for oxidation during fasting has a two-fold benefit. It activates those guards, as well as, causes the body to seek energy from fat (since there is so much less insulin and glucose), as well as being forced to designate any remaining glucose. This activates things called “biochemical cascade pathways” which respond to the oxygen deprivation like wave after wave of the Calvary offering critical healing.
It is more and more apparent that the inflammatory response plays a large role in age related disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as chronic pain, depression, and a number of other pathological situations. You may have heard the term recently because the proof is becoming overwhelming. The cells in your brain and spinal column called “microlgia” are activated in response to injury, stress, and aging which causes this Inflammatory Response (IR), and as a result a proinflammatory cytokine called Interleuken-1, produced to fight infection, is released during fasting. Studies show that not only does IF and CR increase this cytokine, it also increases another type of cytokine called IFN-y, which is crucial to the immune system.
To sum it up; CR and IF seem to turn off bad systems, turn on good systems, and rewrite bad code. Weight and fat are controlled automatically. It seems to stop the hands of time on aging while fasting, and even reverses damage in some systems. Overall a regime of IF or CR can consist of 35-40% less overall consumption of food, which would put a dent in a grocery bill as well.
Call or come see me and together we will create an IF or CR Regime that suits your goals, your lifestyle, and your realistic expectations. Dr. Dhai Barr
Aesthetic Arts 503-636-2734
Center for Traditional Medicine
320 Oswego Pointe Drive
Lake Oswego, OR 97034