Alternate Day Fasting Improves Physiological and Molecular Markers of Aging in Healthy, Non-obese Humans

Written By Claire C

A comprehensive study of Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) in non-obese humans finds both promising longevity & weight loss results.

By Slaven Stekovic, Sebastian J. Hofer, Norbert Tripolt, Herald, Sourij, Rhomas R. Pieber, and Frank Madeo

Published: August 2019 in the Journal of Cell Metabolism

The Bird’s Eye View of this study:

  • Alternate Day Fasting, or ADF, describes the practice of fasting on one day and then eating freely the next day
  • It is safe to practice alternate day fasting for several months at a time
  • Some short-term benefits of alternate-day fasting include:
    • Decreased body weight (by 4.5% in this article specifically)
    • Improved fat-to-lean ratio
    • Lowered CVD risk and improved cardiovascular parameters
      • Cardiovascular parameters include blood pressure, heart rate, and energy expenditure
    • Reduced T3 and periodic reduction of amino acids
      • T3, or Triiodothyronine, is a thyroid hormone that plays an important role in the body’s metabolism
    • Increased Beta-hydroxybutyrate, an essential energy carrier used during exercise, starvation, or absence of dietary glucose
    • Reduced oxidative stress
    • Activation of autophagy 

The Specifics of ADF:

  • 4 weeks of strict alternate day fasting had positive impacts on multiple markers of general human health
  • It also caused a calorie reduction of around 37%
  • Even after 6 months, no adverse effects were noted in those participating in the study
  • On fasting days specifically, researchers noticed a depletion of the pro-aging amino-acid methionine
  • Long term alternate day fasting was associated with reduced levels of:
    • slCAM-1, an inflammatory marker linked to aging
    • Low-density lipoprotein, a molecule responsible for the transportation of cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body
    • Triiodothyronine 

Significance of ADF findings:

  • Calorie restriction has so far proven to be the most conserved and consistent method of anti-aging and longevity-promoting 
  • Unfortunately, constant levels of calorie restriction are extremely difficult to achieve using the current Calories In, Calories Out model and it may be that ADF is a more effective way to get the benefits of caloric restriction
  • Alternate day fasting allows patients to achieve a significant calorie reduction using a more tolerant intervention

“Alternate Day Fasting Improves Physiological and Molecular Markers of Aging in Healthy, Non-obese Humans” Abstract: 

Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting are known to prolong life- and healthspan in model organisms, while their effects on humans are less well studied. In a randomized controlled trial study ( identifier: NCT02673515), we show that 4 weeks of strict alternate day fasting (ADF) improved markers of general health in healthy, middle-aged humans while causing a 37% calorie reduction on average. No adverse effects occurred even after >6 months. ADF improved cardiovascular markers, reduced fat mass (particularly the trunk fat), improving the fat-to-lean ratio, and increased β-hydroxybutyrate, even on non-fasting days. On fasting days, the pro-aging amino-acid methionine, among others, was periodically depleted, while polyunsaturated fatty acids were elevated. We found reduced levels sICAM-1 (an age-associated inflammatory marker), low-density lipoprotein, and the metabolic regulator triiodothyronine after long-term ADF. These results shed light on the physiological impact of ADF and supports its safety. ADF could eventually become a clinically relevant intervention.

Find the original paper here:

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