Scientists observed how fasting led to the gut bacteria increasing the production of a metabolite known as 3-Indolepropionic acid (IPA). This potent neuroprotective antioxidant is required for regenerating nerve fibers called axons – thread-like structures at the ends of nerve cells that send out electrochemical signals to other cells in the body. The new research is published in Nature and was conducted by researchers from Imperial College London.
Although this novel mechanism was discovered in mice, it is hoped to also hold true for any future human trials. The research team states that the bacteria that produce IPA, Clostridium sporogenesis, is found naturally in the guts of humans as well as mice and IPA is present in human bloodstreams too. “There is currently no treatment for people with nerve damage beyond surgical reconstruction, which is only effective in a small percentage of cases, prompting us to investigate whether changes in lifestyle could aid recovery,” said study author Professor Simone Di Giovanni from Imperial’s Department of Brain Sciences. “Intermittent fasting has previously been linked by other studies to wound repair and the growth of new neurons – but our study is the first to explain exactly how fasting might help heal nerves.”
Excerpted from Technology Times