Intermittent Fasting and Cardiovascular Health: Can IF help your heart?



An Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting as a Strategy for Weight-Loss

Intermittent Fasting and Diabetes: Can IF improve insulin sensitivity?

We have already established that intermittent fasting seems to have some interesting effects.  The new question we must consider is whether or not is has the potential to stop the number one killer in the United States cardiovascular disease.  Millions of people suffer from this disease, and it is one of the single largest contributors to emergency room visits.  If there was evidence that intermittent fasting could help with this disease it would make a massive difference in terms of lives saved.One of the biggest issues in researching this issue is realizing that despite the incredible effects intermittent fasting has in mice and rats, it may not have those same effects in humans.

Believe it or not, humans are not rats.

But it can be helpful to consider for a moment rodent and monkey models and in those we do see benefits to the cardiovascular system.  The question is then whether or not they occur in humans, and whether or not the affect can be attributed to intermittent fasting, or just the reduction in calories.

This study done on overweight women does show an improvement in LDL cholesterol levels after an intermittent fasting intervention.  However, because it was not controlled against a normal calorie restriction group we have no idea whether or not the effect can be contributed to intermittent fasting.

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Unfortunately for us, it may be true that intermittent fasting does not offer an advantage for cardiovascular health.  This study published in Nature seems to show that there is not an advantage in most metabolic markers, including LDL levels for those who choose intermittent fasting over normal calorie restriction.

What this means for us is that intermittent fasting is NOT a magic bullet that will magically help reduce heart disease.  However, it may be possible that some people find it easy to stick to Intermittent Fasting than a normal caloric restriction diet for weight loss, and for people who are significantly overweight, a reduction in weight can do good things for markers of cardiovascular risk.

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