CosBeauty Magazine #85

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CosBeauty is the #BeautyAddict's guide to lifestyle, health and beauty in Australia. In this issue: - The Breast Report - your guide to augmentation - Put an end to bad hair days - 24 hour makeup, products that last - Sex appeal - do you have it?

feature

Potential health

Benefits

A comprehensive survey by US

newsletter Medical News Today

found advocates of intermittent

fasting ‘say the following benefits can

be achieved’:

Weight loss

Since the body is unable to draw

its energy from food during fasting,

it dips into glucose that is stored in

the liver and muscles. This begins

around eight hours after the last

meal is consumed. When the stored

glucose has been used up, the body

then begins to burn fat as a source

of energy, which can result in

weight loss.

Reduce cholesterol

As well as aiding weight loss, Dr

Razeen Mahroof at the University of

Oxford in the UK explains the use

of fat for energy can help preserve

muscle and reduce cholesterol levels.

Regenerate

immune cells

The study by Dr Longo noted above

suggests prolonged fasting may

also be effective for regenerating

immune cells.

‘When you starve, the system tries

to save energy, and one of the things

it can do to save energy is to recycle

a lot of the immune cells that are not

needed, especially those that may be

damaged,’ he explains.

In the study, published in the

journal Stem Cell, his team found

repeated cycles of two-to-four days

without food over a six month period

destroyed the old and damaged

immune cells in mice and generated

new ones.

What is more, the team found

cancer patients who fasted for three

days prior to chemotherapy were

protected against immune system

damage that can be caused by the

treatment, which they attribute to

immune cell regeneration.

‘The good news is that the body

got rid of the parts of the system

that might be damaged or old, the

inefficient parts, during the fasting,’

says Dr Longo. ‘Now, if you start

with a system heavily damaged by

chemotherapy or ageing, fasting

cycles can generate, literally, a new

immune system.’

Longevity

Some researchers report years of

animal studies have shown a link

between restriction of calories,

fewer diseases and longer life.

Scientists have studied the

mechanisms behind those benefits

and their translation to humans.

Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-

1) is a hormone linked to certain

diseases that affect lifespan, such as

cancer and type 2 diabetes. Some

experts report eating increases IGF-1

production. Fasting may be a way to

decrease IGF-1 levels, which could

potentially lower the risk of chronic

diseases and extend lifespan.

Cancer

Studies have reported that restricting

calories decreases IGF-1 levels, which

results in slower tumour development.

A very small study in people with

cancer found that fasting reduced

some of the side effects of

chemotherapy, including fatigue,

nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Due to potential negative effects,

long-term calorie restriction is not

recommended for people with cancer.

Short-term calorie restriction, such

as intermittent fasting, may be an

option for this group of people.

Neurological

diseases

Intermittent fasting may also impact

cognition. In a study of mice with

genes for Alzheimer’s disease,

intermittent fasting improved

performance on measures of cognitive

decline associated with ageing.

Blood sugar

Some studies have shown that

intermittent fasting improves insulin

sensitivity more than traditional

diets, but others have not found the

same advantage. Researchers have

also reported intermittent fasting and

traditional diets lead to comparable

decreases in haemoglobin A1c.

Potential health

Risks

According to the UK’s National

Health Service, there are numerous

health risks associated with

intermittent fasting.

People who fast commonly

experience dehydration, largely

because their body is not getting any

fluid from food. If you are used to

having breakfast, lunch, dinner

and snacks in between, fasting periods

can be a major challenge. As such,

fasting can increase stress levels and

disrupt sleep. Dehydration, hunger or

lack of sleep during a fasting period

can also lead to headaches.

Fasting can also cause heartburn;

lack of food leads to a reduction in

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