Intermittent fasting is anti-aging

Fasting Younger Longer?

Dr. med. Martha Ritzmann-Widderich, Rottweil

The aging process, which begins as early as the middle of the 20th year of life, is characterized by various changes in all body tissues, which initially lead to functional impairment and ultimately to cell destruction.

Specifically, these are slackening of the skin and connective tissue, demineralization of the bone, vascular calcification with reduced blood flow to all organs and thus insufficient supply of nutrients as well as incomplete breakdown and repair of cell damage. The efficiency of the immune system is reduced, which is reflected in an increased susceptibility to infections and increasing cancer diseases. Furthermore, the pumping capacity of the heart decreases. The muscle mass decreases at the same time as the fat mass increases, with which the general physical performance gradually declines. From the psychological-cognitive side, there are memory disorders, mood swings, sleep disorders, sexual disorders and a reduced adaptation to stress.

Changes in the hormonal area are responsible for signs of wear and tear. Hormones such as DHEA, growth hormone, serotonin, melatonin and the sex hormones estrogens, gestagens and androgens are ascribed "rejuvenating" effects. If they are sufficiently produced, they ensure that the above-mentioned changes do not occur or occur more slowly. In the course of life, physiologically, production gradually decreases or ceases entirely.

Free radicals also accelerate aging. These are highly reactive substances that promote general tissue wear through inflammatory reactions, as well as AGE products, cell-damaging compounds made from sugar and protein. Hormones that promote tissue degeneration are adrenaline, cortisol and insulin, especially if they are released over a longer period of time. Depending on the lifestyle, the production of the substances mentioned can be controlled. Above all, the amount and composition of food determines the formation of substances that promote or retard aging.

Diseases that promote wear and tear are diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia (mainly together as a metabolic syndrome), malnutrition, constant stress and lack of exercise.

Slow down the aging process through intermittent fasting

The speed at which it occurs and the extent of signs of aging are genetically determined, but can also be influenced to a not inconsiderable extent by lifestyle. In addition to exercise and relaxation, a balanced diet in terms of macro and micronutrients is the most important tool for staying younger for longer. The total calorie intake is also important. Many studies on animals and humans show a clear connection between the amount of food, length of life and quality. Continuous food restriction or regular phases of fasting slow down the aging process, substances that promote wear and tear are produced to a lesser extent. Several studies have shown a stronger effect of intermittent fasting.

The effects of fasting are as follows:

- in the metabolic area: weight reduction and the associated lowering of blood sugar and insulin, blood pressure and blood lipids, an economization of the cardiac output and the reduction of free radicals and AGEs, thus overall slowing down of arteriosclerosis and a decrease in inflammatory parameters (TNFa, IL-6, NFkB ), along with other changes
- In the immunological area: increased defense against tumors and infections, improved DNA repair mechanisms and increased stress resistance of various tissues, positive effects on the intestinal-associated immune system
- in the hormonal area: increase in rejuvenating hormones such as DHEA, STH and decrease in the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol
- in the psycho-vegetative area: improvement of sleep quality and daily vigilance, increase in the "happiness hormone" serotonin and thereby increase in well-being, balance and performance.

Conclusion: Through regular annual fasting weeks and an accompanying healthier lifestyle, many aging processes can be slowed down and mitigated, physical and psychological well-being is maintained into old age.

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Author's address:
Dr. med. Martha Ritzmann-Widderich
General practitioner, naturopathic and nutritional medicine doctor
D-78628 Rottweil Hochbrückorstrasse 22

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