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Neuroscientist Reveals What Fasting Does To Your Brain And Why You Haven't Heard About It!

December 16, 2015 3 min read

Mark Mattson is the Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging. He's also a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University and one of the leading researchers into the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underpin neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Mark has a few things to say about what we have been told is healthy.   Mattson believes that there are many things we think we know for certain, things we accept as fact that might not be true at all. He suggests that some of these facts have been manipulated and presented to us for the financial gain of a few companies and individuals. When it comes to eating three meals a day, Mattson has this observation, "the food industry — are they going to make money from skipping breakfast like I did today? No, they’re going to lose money. If people fast, the food industry loses money. What about the pharmaceutical industries? What if people do some intermittent fasting, exercise periodically and are very healthy, is the pharmaceutical industry going to make any money on healthy people?” A very interesting point that is not entirely wrong. If we are all actually and truly healthy, the big drug companies would go out of business. They obviously have an interest in keeping us at least a little sick, which is why we all need to be careful about which medical studies and research we put our faith in.   Mattson's research is potentially threatening to these big industries. He and his team have found that fasting twice a week could significantly reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. It has been found that children with epilepsy experience fewer seizures when placed on a calorie restricted or fasting diet. The belief is that fasting helps to activate protective measures in the brain that counteract the overexcited signals exhibited by epileptic brains. Normal brains can experience a level of excitation when they are overfed. In other words, fasting is good for us.   Fasting is difficult for the brain and so it adapts to this challenge by creating stress response pathways that help it to better cope with stress and the risk of disease. Actually, the changes that occur in the brain during fasting are similar to those that take place during exercise. They both increase the production of protein in the brain, which promotes the growth of neurons -- the connection between neurons and the strength of synapses. [bctt tweet="Neuroscientist Reveals What Fasting Does To Your Brain And Why You Haven't Heard About It!"] Fasting has also been found to stimulate the production of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus. Mattson also notes that fasting can increase the production of ketones which neurons use for energy. Fasting increases the amount of mitochondria found in nerve cells and may even increase the mitochondria in neurons. This increase of mitochondria in neurons enhances the neurons' ability to communicate with one another, which improves both memory and learning abilities. Mattson says, “intermittent fasting enhances the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA.” Other research has found that periods of fasting can prevent damage to the immune system and even promote immune system regeneration. Basically, fasting triggers stem cell based regeneration of an organ or body system. Fasting kills old and damaged immune cells and when the body rebounds from the fast, it uses stem cells to create new, healthy cells. Interesting, to say the least! Check out Dr. Mattson's TEDx talk below. https://youtu.be/4UkZAwKoCP8 Do you fast? Given this information, would you consider fasting? Source: Collective Evolution

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