New research has found an unexpected benefit of intermittent fasting in people with Alzheimer’s disease, improving sleep patterns.
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Recent scientific research has shown that intermittent fasting can significantly improve sleep disturbances in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This research highlights the profound effects of the fasting cycle on the body’s internal clock, The Scientist reports.
Under the direction of Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology and Pathology, University of California, San Diego Paula Desplats A study was conducted stating that more than forty percent of the genes responsible for protein synthesis in humans are coordinated with the 24-hour cycle, which is regulated by a group of neurons in the brain that coordinate cellular time. The metabolic response to the nutritional cycle also plays an important role in regulating this biological clock.
Desplats emphasized the importance of the fasting cycle for circadian rhythm learning, especially in the context of AD, where 80% of patients have disrupted circadian rhythms, leading to changes in sleep, wakefulness, daytime sleepiness, nighttime agitation, confusion and sometimes aggression.
The study also included genetically engineered mice predisposed to developing AD, subjected to intermittent fasting with limited access to food for six hours a day. This method did not involve caloric restriction or dietary changes. The results were impressive: the mice had improved sleep, metabolism, memory, cognitive abilities, the level of amyloid deposits in the brain decreased, and the activity of neuroinflammatory genes was reduced. The study demonstrates that intermittent fasting restores the rhythmic activity of genes affected in AD, significantly reduces amyloid deposits, and improves cognition and sleep-wake behavior beyond expectations.
Valter Longo, professor of gerontology and biological sciences at the University of Southern California and director of the Longevity Institute, confirmed that meal times affect the circadian clock. He noted that intermittent fasting provides numerous metabolic benefits, such as reducing inflammation, stimulating cell maintenance processes, and shifting energy metabolism away from glucose and towards ketones, which are more beneficial for the brain.
Longo believes these results hold promise for future clinical studies. Intermittent fasting may be an effective, simple and affordable method for slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Desplats also highlights the influence of the environment on gene activity and brain function, suggesting that our lifestyle and cognitive abilities may be more closely linked to our daily routines than previously thought.