How Can Intermittent Fasting Help Your Brain?

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging say their study of 40 older adults with obesity and insulin resistance who were randomly assigned to either an intermittent fasting diet or a standard healthy diet approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers important clues about the potential benefits of both eating plans on brain health.

Insulin resistance is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes and is common in people with obesity. Studies suggest that people with insulin resistance are at higher risk than usual for Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairment. As a result, various weight loss regimens figure widely as ways to reduce risk of these metabolic and brain disorders.

Previous Johns Hopkins research on animal models of diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease showed that intermittent fasting can improve cognition and insulin sensitivity. The new study, published June 19 in Cell Metabolism, tested the effects of intermittent fasting on women and men at risk for cognitive impairment, and it offers a “blueprint,” the authors write, for using a wide panel of biomarkers to assess dietary impact, including analysis of extracellular vesicles -; tiny packets of materials shed from neurons, which are types of brain cells that send messages. Such neuron-derived extracellular vesicles are shed into circulating blood and were collected from the new study’s participants during an eight-week period while each person followed one of the two diets.

Excerpted from News Medical Life Sciences

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