Eating vegan end fasting once a week, could it be considered as a longevity concept? Find out what scientific evidence shows about fasting, intermittent fasting and fasting mimicking diet in relation of a plant base diet.
Prof. Andreas Michalsen: "I'm a medical doctor and a specialist in internal medicine and director of a Hospital for Internal and Integrative Medicine and further I'm professor for Medicine and complementary medicine at Charité University Medical Center in Berlin, Germany. I'm also a co-organizer of this VegMed congress.
In my lecture today I delineated, I summarized the research and the experience that we have with caloric restriction with fasting therapy and with intermittent fasting and the context to a plant based diet. That means: is there a link, is there a beneficial combination of fasting therapies or fasting regimens on the one side and on the other side of a plant based diet? So that we can prevent chronic diseases and treat chronic diseases.
My lecture covered both topics. Intermittent fasting is now a very interesting topic because we know that it's beneficial or it might be beneficial for a lot of diseases and it's very easy to handle, very easy to practice. It might be possible to practice intermittent fasting just by skipping a meal, by skipping dinner or by skipping breakfast or to practice it by one fasting day in a week. On the other side, we have especially in Germany and in Central Europe a large standing experience with long term fasting, with prolonged fasting. We call it now periodic fasting for 7 days, for 14 days, for 20 days. A lot of people can do it. And for this type of fasting we clearly know that it's a very good additional tool against diabetes, hypertension, also osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, so for a lot of diseases.
For periodic fasting we have studies and meta-analysis that show the benefits in rheumatoid arthritis. We have a number of randomized trials that give us high evidence regarding its effect in diabetes, in high blood pressure, in hypertension. But also we do now research with its first clinical trials that show benefits in quality of life in multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease. Surprisingly we saw also some benefits when patients that receive the chemotherapy for cancer practice a 3 or 4 day fasting during the chemotherapy.
Principally fasting belongs to humanity as long as humanity exists because the availability of food was not like now, for most of the time of human mankind. That means the the organism, the body is well adapted to days of fasting. There could be no problem, otherwise we would all not be here. However we have to regard some safety aspects today when people are on medication. That means people that have medications against high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome; fasting should be supervised by a medical doctor who is experienced in this topic. Persons that are healthy can fast on their own, they should just maybe read a little bit about the best way to do it.
There is no regulation, in Germany we have 300 doctors, a board of fasting specialized doctors, but it's not an official regulation. It's just that we now are in the face that we have to train doctors and inform doctors about the best practice to fast. This is also an important issue because on the other hand researchers, like Prof. Walter Longo from Los Angeles, suggest, because we have no specialized doctors, to use a fasting mimicking diet that is more easy to apply, that means low sugar products that mimic a fasting and that everybody can just do.
We know from many many research publications there are 3 components of the fasting effect. One component is the reduction of animal protein and animal fat, that is one part of the fasting effect. The second is the reduction of sugar, of refined sugar. And the third is the definite calorie restriction, the fasting itself. So if you have a low calorie diet, not a fasting but a low calorie diet, that is fasting mimicking diet with 700-800-900 calories, and furthermore it's vegan and it contains no sugar, it's almost the same as a prolonged fasting. So this opens the window for a fasting mimicking diet which is standardized and defined and which might be a very interesting option for many people that say: "Oh, I don't want to fast". But they can then adopt the fasting mimicking diet.
We have first insides into the effects of fasting on the microbiome, on the intestinal microbiome. We know from a course of 7 days fasting, typical fasting with 300 calories a day, that it improves the microbiome and that the diversity of the microbiome is increased after the fasting. We also know from several experimental trials on intermittent fasting that it has impact on the microbiome and we interprete it today that it's more or less an improvement of the microbiome. It's still a complex issue - microbiome - but we see positive effects.
The role of toxins appears to be not relevant for fasting but there are a lot of discussion, a business about detox and toxins and fasting but if we regard the data, it appears not to be important at all. There is no indication that in fasting toxins are mobilized or are more excreted. There is only one thing that the science has really proved and that autophagy, that means the capability of the body to detox from older the proteins, is increased during fasting. But this is a cell food pair mechanism, it's not a classical detox but even here we find beneficial effects".
This is a video of the web-tv Veggie Channel.
Director: Massimo Leopardi
Editor: Julia Ovchinnikova