Survive without food to extend your life.” It’s a statement that may sound unbelievable, yet it finds its roots in our ancestral past. Over the centuries, our hunter-gatherer forebears honed the ability to endure hunger long before food became widely available.
Fasting as a means to promote health isn’t new. It’s featured in various religious practices, including Taoism, touted as a cure for numerous ailments. Modern research lends credence to these ancient beliefs, showing fasting’s potential to prolong human fibroblast lifespan by boosting NAD+ and sirtuin activity.
Join us as we delve into the remarkable benefits of fasting, exploring its impact on 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, increasing SIRT1 activity and improving 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. Autophagy suppresses p53 genes(which promotes tumor growth) and eventually prevents mitochondrial degeneration.
Understanding Longevity Genes
In the aging process, longevity genes take center stage. They code for proteins key to the healthy development of cells, tissues, and organs. Their efficient work can extend their lifespan.
We’re at the early stages of this research. It’s believed that genetic factors account for about a quarter of variations in human life expectancy. Yet, the exact genes and their roles in longevity are unknown.
Specific genes seem vital for longevity and mitochondrial health. As we discover these genes, we learn more about human cell biology, aging, telomeres, and longevity. This journey into the heart of these genes lets us explore human longevity further.
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 how the body responds to insulin, protects itself from free radicals, and breaks 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 increased 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 Boosts NAD Level:
Fasting emerges as the most cost-effective way to bolster NAD+ levels in the body. It’s essential to understand the significance of NAD+. It maintains a pivotal role in energy balance, converting nutrients into energy cells can use. In the electron transport chain, it serves as an electron transfer molecule, combating the aging process.
Increased NAD+ to NADH ratio equals more readily available energy and superior cell energy production efficiency. You can indirectly raise NAD levels in the body through fasting or daily calorie intake reduction.
The research underscores that fasting augments the levels of NAD+ and sirtuins, the proteins found to slow down the aging process.
In regards to presenting the benefits and longevity benefits in a table format, here’s a simple breakdown:
|Enhanced energy balance
|Extension of healthy lifespan
|Better nutrient conversion to energy
|Protection against age-related diseases
|More efficient cell energy production
|Slowing down of the aging process
|Augmented levels of NAD+ and sirtuins
|Increased cellular resilience
Supplements For Boost NAD
- MCT (Ketones)
Fasting Helps to Stimulate FOXO3
FOXO proteins are key players among the genes promoting lifespan and longevity, contributing to DNA repair and protection.
FOXO3 activation can be achieved via calorie restriction, intermittent fasting, and high-intensity exercise.
|Strengthened DNA repair and protection
Besides fasting, 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.
When it comes to mitochondria, these cell powerhouses depend on certain minerals for optimal function. Notably, magnesium plays a role in ATP production, the energy currency of cells, while iron is crucial for the electron transport chain, a key process in cellular respiration.
- 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 to activate poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase in DNA repair at DNA damage sites.
Oxidative stress and DNA damage prevention is an unattainable ideal, and intriguingly, we need some level of both for generating hormesis. This paradoxical response signifies a process where low-level exposure to stressors boosts cell function and resilience, making it an essential part of our body’s complex balance.
Balancing Autophagy and mTOR for Optimal Cellular Health and Longevity
Autophagy is a cellular process of cleaning and recycling components. Long studied, recent discoveries reveal its crucial role in cancer prevention and treatment. It’s a catabolic process that simplifies complex molecules.
Depending on the context, Autophagy and mTOR can yield positive and negative outcomes, influencing cell longevity significantly. Hence, understanding where and when these pathways are activated is crucial.
|Promotes cell growth and proliferation
|Cleans up and recycles cell components
|Can lead to uncontrolled cell growth, potentially leading to cancer
|This can lead to uncontrolled cell growth, potentially leading to cancer
|Can impair cell growth and function
|It may cause excessive breakdown of essential cellular components
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
Autophagy, a key cellular health indicator, can be boosted by several strategies. The good news is that these methods don’t have to break the bank. However, be mindful of the ketogenic diet: while useful, it shouldn’t be prolonged as you still need a certain amount of carbohydrates. i
Hence, use ketones intermittently, not continuously. Now, let’s explore other strategies.
- Ketones: According to several studies, the production of ketone bodies may help 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).
Ketones, curcumin, and bitter chocolate are key allies in boosting autophagy. Studies suggest ketone production can promote autophagy, with higher ketone levels often indicating autophagy activity.
Curcumin, too, triggers autophagy in cancer cells and encourages brain cell creation. It enhances dopamine receptors, aids recovery, and regulates inflammation to alleviate depression symptoms.
Dark chocolate, packed with antioxidants and minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper, and phosphorus, offers numerous benefits, from immunity support to improved sleep. However, it can be slightly addictive due to its dopamine-triggering properties, so moderation is key.
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 and peak resiliency to stress and aging.
Fasting and exercise can have many benefits, such as weight control, increased energy levels, improved muscle tone, enhanced mental clarity, and reduced risk of heart disease.
Chronic Stress is Detrimental For Longevity
Too much Work is often the main source of chronic stress, with its constant demands impacting mental and physical health. Other chronic stress sources include relationships, financial concerns, and family issues.
Studies show chronic stress influences longevity genes, notably Telomeres. These protect the ends of DNA strands. Every time a cell divides, a portion of its telomeres is lost. Telomerase, an enzyme, can restore it, but constant stress and cortisol exposure deplete it.
That’s why mild, acute stress can be beneficial, as seen in exercise, cold exposure, and fasting. However, chronic stress and cortisol yield the opposite effects.
How Can Lower Stress Simple Strategies?
You won’t need to spend too much 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 ability to function of someone at least twenty years younger than their exact age, which has been true from ancient times 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 healing, maintain a stable mood, decrease pain perception, and relax muscles.
Grounding is another another-free method for helping lowering cortisol levels and improving the ability to stress.
Taoism, Sufism, and Love: An Unusual Path to Longevity and Health
You may wonder, “What does Sufism have to do with longevity and health?” Interestingly, human well-being is directly tied to our perspectives and thoughts.
Looking at the world through a Sufi lens (not necessarily religious, but from the standpoint of understanding) can usher in feelings of “love” and “radiant love.”
Adopting this mindset is no easy task for the modern individual often engaged in conflict.
Yet, I suggest delving into Rumi’s teachings for a transformative outlook on the world. This perspective can aid in stress reduction and foster a sense of peace rather than anger towards others—a viewpoint beneficial for many.
Intermittent fasting and dry fasting offer valuable methods for cell regeneration, gene expression, oxidative stress reduction, and lipid structure regulation. Dry fasting delivers a more forceful approach to fat burning and DNA preservation. Plus, fasting can heighten the brain’s ability to create new cells, providing neuroprotective effects.
In conclusion, these fasting practices provide a unique toolkit to tap into our body’s innate capabilities. They induce a positive cellular and metabolic health shift, eventually enhancing longevity.
Seize these benefits to power your health journey. Fasting’s purpose extends beyond short-term gains; it fosters long-term health and wellness.
Can anyone try intermittent fasting?
While intermittent fasting can benefit many, it’s not suitable for everyone. Certain individuals, such as pregnant women, those with eating disorders, or people with specific health conditions, should avoid it. It’s always wise to consult a healthcare professional before beginning any new diet regimen, including intermittent fasting.
Are there different types of intermittent fasting?
Yes, there are various approaches to intermittent fasting, including the 16/8 method, the 5:2 diet, and the eat-stop-eat method. Each technique involves different fasting and eating windows, providing flexibility to choose the method that best fits your lifestyle.
Autophagy is a cellular cleanup process, enhanced by intermittent fasting. During fasting, autophagy removes damaged cells and proteins, aiding cellular repair and rejuvenation. This process is vital for maintaining optimal health and promoting longevity.
How does intermittent fasting affect brain health?
Intermittent fasting benefits brain health by boosting the production of a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), which aids in the growth of new neurons. This process can improve cognitive function and potentially protect against neurodegenerative diseases.