Fasting for therapeutic benefits has been around for centuries– yet has only recently made a comeback in popularity. The concept of fasting, or abstaining from eating food for a certain period, offers many benefits for biohackers interested in taking measures to extend their longevity. 

Several research studies support intermittent fasting or extended-period fasts, suggesting that these practices may impact longevity. Below, we’ll explore what we know about intermittent and extended fasting and how you can use it as a biohacking tool in your belt.

How Fasting Can Be Used for Biohacking

One of the most common fasting protocols used today is known as the 16/8 intermittent fasting plan. This plan involves eating all of your food within 8 hours, followed by a 16-hour fast where you consume no calories. What attracts many people to get on board with intermittent fasting initially is the potential weight loss benefits, helping them to restrict daily calories.

Research suggests that intermittent fasting can help to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, improve mitochondrial function, and stimulate cellular repair. These benefits, in turn, can ultimately affect longevity by potentially preventing the onset of diseases such as cancer or diabetes. Furthermore, some studies have found that fasting can promote an increase in a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which can improve brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Adapting to an intermittent fasting protocol can take some time, especially for beginners. Remember to start slowly, as you gradually increase your fasting period when your body adjusts. Once you adapt, fasting can be used to help you biohack your way to a longer, healthier life. Plus, fasting is a pattern of eating which means it can be incorporated to any person’s diet (whether vegan, dairy-free, etc).

Extended Fasts for Longevity

Most intermittent fasting protocols range from 16 to 24 hours per fasting period. On the other hand, extended fasts generally span longer durations, usually from two to seven days. When done correctly, this protocol can be safe, and used by biohackers to promote autophagy.

Autophagy is the process where your cells recycle waste and repair damaged cells. Studies that have explored the effects of autophagy found that this process has a profound effect on increasing lifespan. Furthermore, autophagy can help to reduce overall inflammation in the body and negate the effects of oxidative stressors, both of which are linked to chronic disease.

Both intermittent fasting and extended fasting can be done by anyone, regardless of physical health, making it one of the most versatile longevity tools. However, it must be done correctly, as nutrient deficiencies and electrolyte depletion can occur if not done properly. For those who have specific medical conditions, seeking guidance from a medical professional is also a good idea, providing oversight for your fasting protocol.

Fasting Means Caloric Restriction

Intermittent fasting usually results in a calorie restriction, which is also linked to longevity. Some research suggests a caloric restriction of 20 to 40% offers many benefits, which could ultimately impact a person’s lifespan. Some benefits of caloric restriction (CR) include enhanced immune function, reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline, improved brain function, and a reduced risk of multiple age-related diseases.

Using Fasting as a Tool

The world of fasting and longevity research continues to grow, with new research coming out every month. We’re excited to learn more about the powerful effects of using fasting as a biohacking tool for longevity in the coming years. Remember, always speak to your healthcare team before starting a new fasting protocol.

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