Fasting increases metabolism in humans, reverses ageing, says study

Apart from losing weight, occasional fasting may also help to boost metabolic activities, generate antioxidants, and also helps reverse ageing, says a study.

Scientists have identified 30 previously- unrecorded metabolites whose quantity increases during fasting and indicate a variety of health benefits.

We have been researching ageing and metabolism for many years and decided to search for unknown health effects in human feelings, said Takayuki Teruya, the lead author of the paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, according to PTI.

Fasting actually induces metabolic activation rather actively.

What have scientists found in the research?

In the recent paper, scientists analysed human blood, plasma and red blood cells are drawn from four fasting individuals.

The researchers monitored changing levels of metabolites in the fasting individuals substances formed during the chemical processes that grant organisms energy and allow them to grow.

The results revealed 30 previously-recognised metabolites and 44 new metabolites that had been increasing universally among the subjects between 1.5 to 60-fold within just 58 hours of fasting.

What did previous research say?

In previous researches, researchers had found that the quantity of various metabolites decreases with age. Three of such metabolites were previously known leucine, isoleucine, and ophthalmic acid.

According to Teruya, these particular metabolites are very important for maintaining muscles and antioxidant activity, respectively.

In fasting individuals, these metabolites increase in level which suggests that fasting can help increase longevity.

What does fasting do to the human body?

The human body tends to extract carbohydrates from quick energy sources when available; otherwise, when quick energy sources are not available, the body uses alternate energy stores.

Apart from this energy substitution, fasting also makes the human body do other things.

In the analysis of human blood, the researchers found a global increase in substances produced by the citric acid cycle –a process by which organisms release energy stored in the chemical bonds of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids.

The marked increase in energy shows that while fasting, the tiny powerhouses running every cell in the human body start working in overdrive.

Benefits of fasting according to the study

1. Fasting appeared to enhance the metabolism of purine and pyrimidine, chemical substances which plays key roles in the gene expression and protein synthesis.

2. The finding suggests fasting may reprogramme which proteins cells build at what time, thus altering their function.

3. The change may promote homeostasis in cells, or serve to edit their gene expression in response to environmental influences.

Thus, the recent findings expand on what fasting could do for human health. The new steps to be taken would be to replicate these results in a bigger study or investigate how the metabolic changes might be triggered by other means.

Read: Chinese researchers clone 5 gene-edited monkeys

Read: You exercise and lose weight, but how does it happen? Scientists decode weight loss process