Fasting for Brain Health

Properly practiced fasting leads to improved overall Brain Health


Mark Mattson is the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University. Mattson is one of the foremost researchers in the area of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.


Medical application

Fasting is often practiced prior to surgery or other procedures that require general anesthetics because of the risk of pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents after induction of anesthesia (i.e., vomiting and inhaling the vomit, causing life-threatening aspiration pneumonia).Additionally, certain medical tests, such as cholesterol testing (lipid panel) or certain blood glucose measurements require fasting for several hours so that a baseline can be established. In the case of a lipid panel, failure to fast for a full 12 hours (including vitamins) will guarantee an elevated triglyceride measurement.

Cancer treatment

There is some preliminary evidence that fasting may have benefits for those receiving chemotherapy.The American Cancer Society used to recommend that chemotherapy patients increase their intake of protein and calories; however, current research suggests “fasting for up to 5 days followed by a normal diet…has the potential to be translated into effective clinical interventions for the protection of patients” undergoing cancer treatment especially compared to calorie restriction, although additional pre-clinical and clinical studies are necessary.

Mental health

Fasting can help alleviate some symptoms of depression.

Immune system

Some scientists have indicated that a fast will cause white blood cells to break down during the fasting, resulting in new ones needing to be built when the fast is broken, resulting in the replacement of old damaged ones

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