More and more research is showing the potential power of intermittent fasting in preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
By Dawn Flemming
Dementia and Alzheimer’s is a growing problem across the world and the United States. The primary reason why people are afflicted with the disease is aging. However, we have written many times before that diet also plays a big factor in the progression and onset of the disease.
Processed foods, sugar and other foods have been linked to Alzheimer’s.
Recent research is showing that intermittent fasting may help protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s to some degree.
The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation writes the following about the potential benefits of intermittent fasting:
Intermittent fasting, as the name implies, involves reduced calorie intake or full fasting for 16–24 hours, followed by regular eating. Preclinical studies in rodents suggest that long-term intermittent fasting might promote longevity, reduce cognitive deficits, improve cognition, and increase the generation of new brain cells.
A 2018 study concluded that intermittent fasting can help with the deterioration of cognitive function and Alzheimer’s:
Impact statement Intermittent fasting was evaluated for its effects on cognitive function and metabolic disturbances in a rat model of menopause and Alzheimer's disease. Intermittent fasting decreased skin temperature and fat mass, and improved glucose tolerance with decreasing food intake. Intermittent fasting also prevented memory loss: short-term and special memory loss. Therefore, intermittent fasting may prevent some of the metabolic pathologies associated with menopause and protect against age-related memory decline.
Other studies prior to this have also supported the claims above.
Why intermittent fasting? According to Mark Mattson, a professor of neuroscience in the John Hopkins School of Medicine, says the fasting:
“is a challenge to your brain, and we think that your brain reacts by activating adaptive stress responses that help it cope with disease,” says Mattson. “From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense your brain should be functioning well when you haven’t been able to obtain food for a while.”
If the body sees itself in danger of starving, it will therefore generate new activity that may protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s.
There are different methods of intermittent fasting. You can click here to learn more.
If you are at risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s, you can speak to your doctor and see if intermittent fasting is safe for you.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.