The role of pre-diet fasting in decreasing cardiovascular risk

The role of pre-diet fasting in decreasing cardiovascular risk

Fasting before the start of the diet in some patients with metabolic syndrome seems to have given a shock to the body, with positive effects on health that are maintained over time

(image: Pixabay) There are those who argue which is like an elixir of life and who warns about its negative effects on the organism. The fact is that it is still impossible to decree the usefulness and benefits of fasting. And perhaps, beyond the technical difficulties of the investigations, it is because its effects vary according to the type of fasting and the starting state of health of the person who practices it. If, for example, you have metabolic syndrome, fasting before starting a new diet seems to have lasting benefits and benefits. This is supported by the latest study by the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine (Berlin), which in the pages of Nature Communications highlights how fasting in these patients gives a kind of shock to the intestinal microbiota and the immune system, restoring a balance.

The study

Researchers involved 145 patients with metabolic syndrome, a condition that can include high cholesterol and blood sugar levels, hypertension, high body mass index .

The participants were divided into two groups: one group would follow a food protocol that included 5 days of fasting (taking only juices and vegetable broth) before starting a type of Mediterranean-like diet called Dash (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) for 3 months, the other would have started the Dash diet directly.

Comparing patient exams before, during and at the end of the studies or, the scientists noted that all participants had lost weight and decreased blood pressure and body mass index values.

However, there were significant differences between the two groups, in particular the composition of the intestinal microbiota and that of the cells of the immune system. Furthermore, the group that followed the 5-day fast showed superior and lasting benefits compared to the people who followed the Dash diet only.

A shock to the body

According to the authors of the research it is possible that the pre-diet fasting has induced a controlled damage to the organism, a shock - they define it. The analysis of the microbiota showed variations in the composition over time, which saw the alternation of different bacterial species until the restoration of a positive balance (homeostasis) which could also have influenced the composition of the immune system, reducing inflammatory phenomena and enhancing the effects of the diet. Benefits that have lasted over time compared to what was observed in the group of patients who followed only the Dash diet.

Everything to be evaluated

The study, as the authors themselves admit, certainly does not an end to the discussion on the possible health benefits of fasting. Also because this type of study has limitations and the results can be conditioned by many uncontrollable variables (for example a difference in the behavior of people in following the dietary indications slavishly).

Of particular interest, however, is the mechanism with which fasting seems to intervene on the intestinal microbiota: if it were to be confirmed by new studies also in the context of other conditions (the same team is studying the effects of fasting in patients with multiple sclerosis), it could constitute a system for regulating inflammation universal to complement traditional therapies.

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