Most of the time, if anyone says to you, “not eating food will make you live longer,” you won’t believe it.
Our hunter-gatherer origins evolved over many years to adapt to hunger, and History was not too long before we reached an unlimited food supply.
Most religions, even Taoists, mention that fasting can help cure most illnesses. Research shows that fasting increases the lifetime of human fibroblasts by increasing NAD+ and sirtuin activity.
This article will explain the benefits of fasting for longevity, lifespan, and overall health.
- Fasting stimulates stress response and signaling anti-aging genes such as SIRT3 and FOXO, as well as other factors such as AMPK activation,
- Activating AMPK promotes higher NAD+ levels, leading to increased SIRT1 activity which turns on longevity.
- As a result, the benefits of calorie restriction and fasting on life expectancy are primarily driven by autophagy and enhanced sirtuin activity, as well as stimulating mitochondria biogenesis which promotes cellular turnover and recycling of old cells.
- Stimulating Autophagy by Fasting inhibits tumor growth by eliminating damaged organelles/unfolded proteins. This is because Autophagy suppresses p53 genes(which promotes tumor growth) and eventually prevents mitochondrial degeneration.
Understanding Longevity Genes
Longevity genes are genes that encode proteins that regulate the aging process. These proteins are responsible for developing and maintaining healthy cells, tissues, and organs, which can lead to a longer life span.
The research on longevity genes is still in its early stages; about 25% of the variation in human life expectancy is assumed to be genetically determined. However, it is unclear which genes and how they affect longevity.
Certain genes might play important roles in longevity and mitochondrial health.
Yet, the more we discover these genes, the more we learn about human cell biology, aging, telomeres, and longevity.
Here is the list we should know for optimizing longevity. Don’t worry; it’s not complicated.
Why is SIRT1 An Important For Longevity?
Sirtuins, particularly SIRT1 and SIRT3, can be turned on by fasting, and their effects can be seen in the way the body responds to insulin, protects itself from free radicals, and break down sugar.
SIRT1 is an enzyme that is involved in the process of cellular aging. It also helps regulate energy metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
Mice allowed to fast for 24 hours showed an increase in the mRNA and protein expression levels of both SIRT1 and PPARalpha in their livers.
Yet, a new study showed that The activation of SIRT1 has very relevant therapeutic potential against neurodegeneration. (SIRT1 levels are reduced, which correlates with the accumulation of tau aggregates)
SIRT3 is important for keeping the structure and function of mitochondria, which can control cell life, death, and metabolic pathways. This helps keep the balance between health and disease.
Fasting and calorie restriction both raise SIRT3 levels and deacetylate many mitochondrial proteins.
What Are The Benefits Of Activation SIRT3?
- Helps Mitochondrial biogenesis renew the cell’s mitochondrial network, reducing inflammation and increasing lifespan.
- Glucose-and-fat-burning metabolism (L-carnitine and B5 vitamin help)
- AMPK and other energy metabolism support overall health and energy function.
Activating the SIRT3 gene protects mitochondrial structure and function, which may impact cell growth, apoptosis, and metabolic pathways, leading to a healthy balance between illness and health.
Besides fasting, optimizing sleep is crucial because Melatonin is an excellent sirtuin activator, same as fasting.
Fasting Also Boost NAD Level:
The good news is that fasting is the cheapest way to boost NAD+ levels in the body. Why is NAD+ important?
Because NAD+ regulates energy balance and aids in converting nutrients into useful energy, NAD+ acts as an electron transfer molecule in the electron transport chain and helps fight the aging process.
A higher NAD+ to NADH ratio makes more readily available energy and makes the cells produce their energy more efficiently.
One of the most effective ways to indirectly raise NAD levels in the body is to either fast or reduce the number of calories you eat daily.
It has been demonstrated that fasting raises levels of the proteins NAD+ and sirtuins, which have been discovered to slow down the aging process.
Supplements For Boost NAD
- MCT (Ketones)
Fasting Helps to Stimulate FOXO3
Many genes seem to promote lifespan and longevity, and FOXO proteins are involved in DNA repair and protection.
FOXO3 can be stimulated into activity through the practice of calorie restriction and intermittent fasting, and high-intensity exercise.
Besides fasting, some kind of certain dietary components can boost FOXOS genes, such as:
- EGCG: The green tea flavonoid epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is demonstrated in treatment-activated FOXO3a
- Quercetin: Quercetin activates autophagy via FOXO1-dependent pathways, and suppressing autophagy increases quercetin-induced apoptosis.
- Astaxanthin: In rat research, an Astaxanthin molecule was discovered to activate the FOX03 ‘Longevity Gene.’ The activation of the gene in the animals’ cardiac tissue increased by about 90%, according to the researchers.
Optimize Your Mineral Intake For Better Health
Enzymes are an essential part of our lives. These small biological molecules help regulate and control the chemical reactions in our cells. They can help restore DNA after it’s been damaged by free radicals and other sources.
Many enzymes help restore DNA, such as superoxide dismutase, glutathione, Nrf2, and others. All of them need minerals like zinc and magnesium to work.
- Magnesium is essential for base excision repair enzymes, a type of DNA damage response. In large quantities, magnesium can suppress N-Methylpurine-DNA glycosylase (MPG) that initiates base excision repair in DNA. However, magnesium is required for all the downstream actions of base excision repair proteins like apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease, DNA polymerase β, and ligases. Thus, magnesium regulates repair processes to ensure a balanced repair of damaged DNA bases.
- Zinc deficiency promotes oxidative stress and DNA damage and undermines antioxidant defenses in rats. In humans, zinc deficiency causes DNA damage. Zinc involves hundreds of proteins, including DNA-binding proteins, copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD), and DNA damage repair proteins. Zinc is also needed for activating poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase that is involved in DNA repair at DNA damage sites.
It is impossible to completely prevent oxidative stress and DNA damage, and in fact, you want some of both to occur to generate hormesis.
mTOR, And Autophagy
Autophagy is a process that cells use to clean up and recycle the cell’s components. It has been studied for decades, but recent breakthroughs have found that it plays an important role in cancer prevention and treatment.
It is a type of catabolic process, which means that it breaks down complex molecules into simpler ones.
In some circumstances, autophagy and mTOR can contribute positive and negative outcomes.
Because of this, when and where you express these pathways is very important for figuring out how long our cell lives.
- Too much mTOR raises your risk of cancer, obesity, and neurological illnesses.
- Too little mTOR reduces mitochondrial energy generation and development.
Also, we know that fasting inhibits mTOR and promotes autophagy which helps to prevent aging and maintain a young, physiologically active body when combined with exercise.
Other Strategies For Boosting autophagy
- Ketones: According to the results of several studies, the production of ketone bodies may help to promote autophagy. Furthermore, higher ketone levels may be an indication of autophagy. (source)
- Curcumin: Curcumin has been shown in some studies and publications to be capable of triggering the process of autophagy in cancer cells. (source)
- Bitter Chocolate: Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, copper, and phosphorus. These minerals are utilized in your body to support variables such as immunity (zinc) and gene repair and tooth health (phosphorus) and contribute to improved sleep quality (magnesium).
Combining Fasting And Exercise
Exercising while fasting puts your body in a state of energy deficit faster than fasting or exercising alone. It grants maximum impact in minimum time, along with peak resiliency to stress and aging.
Fasting and exercise can have many benefits, such as weight control, increased energy levels, improved muscle tone, improved mental clarity, and reduced risk of heart disease.
Chronic Stress is Detrimental For Longevity
The most common cause of chronic stress is work-related. The constant demands of the job can take their toll on an individual’s mental and physical health. Other sources of chronic stress are relationships, financial worries, and family issues.
However, studies showed that chronic stress affects longevity genes, specifically Telomeres.
Telomeres are the protective coverings at the ends of DNA strands. Each time a cell divides, a piece of its telomeres is lost. Telomerase, an enzyme, may restore it, but continuous stress and cortisol exposure deplete its supply.
That’s why mild and acute stress can be helpful in some cases, such as exercise, cold exposure, and fasting. But chronic stress and cortisol are opposite effects.
How Can Lower Stress Simple Strategies?
You won’t need to spend too much money on optimizing stress adaptation skills. Here are the same strategies for that:
- Deep Sleep: Melatonin is the key hormone that helps to stabilize inflammation and lower chronic stress, as well as anxiety, depression, and cortisol.
- Adaptogens: Your body is an adaptation machine, yet, certain adaptogens can help to lower cortisol and support the adrenal gland.
- Wim Hof Breathing: Wim Hof Deep breathing lower inflammation and increase the ability to handle stress.
- Taoist Chi-Self Massage: Taoists have always had the appearance and the ability to function of someone at least twenty years younger than their exact age, and this has been true from ancient times back to the modern day. Taoist Chi-self massage good for stress reduction
- Meditation, such as inner-smile: The physiological effects of smiling include decreasing the stress chemicals adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol. Smiling triggers the release of hormones that help regulate blood pressure, enhance breathing, speed up the healing process, maintain a stable mood, decrease pain perception, and relax muscles.
Grounding is another another-free method for helping lowering cortisol levels and improves the ability to stress.
Intermittent fasting and Dry fasting are good opinions regarding cell regeneration, gene expression, lowering oxidative stress, regulation of lipid structure, and stress functions.
Dry fasting has more aggressive ways to reach fat burning and DNA protection. Also, fasting can improve the ability to create new brain cells in the brain and have neuroprotective effects.