As you probably already know, I’m a big proponent of intermittent fasting (IF)—and I practice it myself. After all, it best reflects our evolutionary feast-or-famine hardwiring.
But IF isn’t just essential for effective weight control. It also offers a safe, simple, natural strategy for battling metabolic disease.
So, I was pretty excited when I saw that Australian researchers recently explored the effect that fasting has in the liver—even if their study was only on mice…
Finding the “master regulator”
It’s true that mouse studies can only tell us so much. But experiments have to start somewhere. So allow me to explain what makes this one so exciting.
These researchers were able to show that alternate day fasting (ADF) influenced key proteins in the liver—and one master regulator protein, which controls a whole host of essential metabolic activities throughout the entire body, in particular.
Meaning, if you can find a way to reprogram how this liver protein functions, it could potentially open a lot of doorways to disease prevention. And that’s a big deal, any day of the week.
To get more specific, these researchers zeroed in on the HNF4-(alpha) protein. This protein regulates a large array of liver genes. And until now, we didn’t know that it played a role in IF.
But it does: As it turns out, IF is able to block HNF4-alpha. And this delivers a whole host of beneficial effects—including lower levels of inflammation-related blood proteins.
The researchers also found that fasting every other day altered fatty acid metabolism in the liver. And if that benefit carried over to humans, it would mean that ADF could improve blood sugar balance and potentially help to prevent diabetes.
No drugs necessary
Now for the predictable part: Of course, the researchers are stoked that Big Pharma can now come along to develop liver-specific HNF4-(alpha) regulating drugs. (I smell patent money in the air!)
But regardless where this money trail ends up leading us, it’s a great finding that sets us up for even more exciting clinical research. (In fact, this same team did a study on ADF in humans that also proved to be quite successful. And it’s not the only research to explore the metabolic benefits of ADF, either.)
So, why didn’t the researchers take the results straight to the people, instead of handing it over to some pharmaceutical R&D team? We know IF works—against inflammation and weight gain, against fatty liver, against heart disease and diabetes, and even against the flu (as I discussed in the October 2014 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives).
Sure, we’re still not absolutely certain about optimal fasting intervals just yet. But that’s also the beauty of IF… that there’s no one set way to do it. And practically all variations—whether you’re fasting on alternate days, using the 5:2 approach (where any two days in a single week are your fasting days), or simply restricting your meals to specific eating windows (say, between noon and 6 p.m., like I do)—appear to deliver benefits in some form or another.
Personally, I have a feeling that—like most questions where diet is concerned—the answer comes down to the individual. If so, it’s not hard to predict how the scientific mission to make everything black and white could backfire here.
Because the bottom line is that you don’t need a drug to get these benefits for yourself. All you need is a clock… and an iron-clad commitment to your health.
P.S. For guidance on finding your own fasting style, check out the May 2020 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“Boost your immunity and rejuvenate your metabolism… in 36 hours or less”). Not yet a subscriber? Become one today!
“How intermittent fasting changes liver enzymes and helps prevent disease: Research on mice reveals surprising impact on fat metabolism.” Science Daily, 03/10/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200310164737.htm)