What is Intermittent Fasting | Benefits of Intermittent Fasting | Intermittent Fasting Benefits for Men Over 50
Intermittent fasting has lately emerged as a sustainable way of losing weight, especially among young go-getters. By alternating between periods of fasting and eating, you can have many positive health benefits, including weight loss.
However, do older males, especially those over 50, also benefit from this fasting regimen? How does fasting for men over 50 work, and do they get the same benefits as younger folk? This article has all the answers about intermittent fasting for men over 50.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a dietary regime where you are supposed to fast for a certain number of hours and eat all your meals in the remaining hours of the day. Many different intermittent fasting plans exist; let us look at some of the most popular ones.
16/8 Intermittent Fasting
In 16/8 intermittent fasting, the most popular IF schedule, you are supposed to fast for 16 straight hours in a day and schedule all your meals for the remaining 8-hour eating window. For example, you may fast from 8 PM one day to noon the next day. Eat 3 square meals from 12 PM to 8 PM, including snacks.
5/2 Intermittent Fasting
5/2 Intermittent fasting is also a popular fasting method. You will eat normally for five days of the week and consume only 500-600 calories in the two non-consecutive remaining days. For example, you can eat regular meals on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, limiting your calorie intake to 600 calories on Monday and Thursday.
One Meal A Day Intermittent Fasting (OMAD)
The OMAD IF diet plan is not for the faint-hearted, as it involves eating only one full meal in a 24-hour window. People who have practiced other lighter intermittent fasting plans and have not had problems with them can try this Spartan IF diet plan. For example, they fast throughout the day and consume one full meal at 8 PM. This diet plan is not recommended to be continued for a long time as it is demanding.
General Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Here’s a list of the incredible benefits that intermittent fasting can get for you. Take a look, as the list is quite impressive.
- Intermittent fasting causes weight loss, especially abdominal fat loss.
- Your insulin resistance will reduce following intermittent fasting, helping prevent Type 2 diabetes.
- IF reduces body inflammation, reducing the risk of chronic diseases like high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
- Intermittent fasting decreases the risk of heart disease.
- Animal studies reveal that intermittent fasting can help to prevent cancer.
- Intermittent fasting is shown to prevent diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Intermittent fasting induces autophagy, a cellular process where the cells of the body repair and recycle wastes. Animal studies indicate that autophagy can increase life span.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits for Men Over 50
If you are over 50, you may hear small talk that intermittent fasting is not for you. However, on the contrary, it becomes all the more important as IF has a lot to do with longevity and life span, as we shall shortly see.
Muscle Mass And Myokines
Preserving muscle mass is vital for men over 50. And Intermittent fasting has a crucial role to play in this. Myokines are a group of signaling molecules that muscles produce and release during physical activity, like exercises. These molecules have various functions, like metabolism regulation, inflammation reduction, and growth of new blood vessels.
Recent research has suggested that intermittent fasting may increase the production and release of myokines in the body, even without exercise. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can stimulate the production of certain myokines like interleukin-6 (IL-6), which can help reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.
Additionally, myokines may play a role in muscle preservation during intermittent fasting. During fasting, your body may turn to muscle tissue as an energy source. However, these myokines may help to preserve muscle mass and promote the growth of new muscle tissue.
Intermittent Fasting, Longevity, And Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide
Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+) is a coenzyme in your cells, and it plays an essential role in energy metabolism, cellular repair, and gene expression. NAD+ levels decline with age, which has been linked with age-related diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular disease. This is of particular concern if you are over 50.
Recent research has suggested that intermittent fasting may increase NAD+ levels in the body. When your body is in a fasted state, it may activate certain cellular pathways, such as the Sirtuin pathway, to help increase NAD+ levels. Sirtuins are a class of proteins that regulate cellular metabolism and are activated by NAD+.
Higher levels of NAD+ have been associated with numerous health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, increased energy levels, and enhanced cognitive function. Most importantly, NAD+ has been shown to have anti-aging effects as it plays a role in DNA repair and maintaining healthy mitochondria.
Overall, the relationship between intermittent fasting and NAD+ is an active area of research, and more studies are needed to understand the mechanisms underlying this relationship fully. However, both play important roles in maintaining health and increasing longevity. As a man over 50, this should be music to your ears.
Insulin Levels and Longevity
Research has made it amply clear that intermittent fasting helps to bring down insulin levels. If you look at studies done on sirtuins and people that live over 100 years, there is a clear correlation between their age and insulin levels. Lower levels of fasting insulin are usually associated with a longer life span.
This is pretty strong evidence. With intermittent fasting, you are lowering your insulin levels because you are not consuming much food. Insulin only spikes when you eat. If done regularly, it lowers your overall insulin level, boosting longevity.
Lipopolysaccharides are pathogenic materials designed to be hermetically sealed within our gut. As we age and lose some of our gut integrity, these substances leak into our bloodstream. This can trigger a lot of inflammatory responses. Inflammation at an older age is dangerous for you. Joint pain and pain in general, along with susceptibility to many diseases, are not good news.
However, if we can protect the gut barrier, we can prevent lipopolysaccharides from entering the bloodstream. Intermittent fasting allows us to do just that, allowing for some gut cleaning.
Telomeres and Intermittent Fasting
Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that shorten with age and cellular stress. Telomere length has been linked with cellular aging, age-related diseases, and overall lifespan. Recent research has suggested that intermittent fasting may impact telomere length. Studies have shown that IF can increase the activity of telomerase, an enzyme that helps maintain telomere length.
Intermittent fasting may also reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, two factors that can contribute to telomere shortening. By reducing these factors, intermittent fasting may help slow telomere shortening and delay cellular aging.
Intermittent Fasting and Type-2 Diabetes
3% of the population between 18-45, 15% between 45-65, and 23% between 65-74 have type 2 diabetes. If we do the math, it is clear that there is a positive correlation between age and type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis done on 60 different studies concluded that insulin resistance happens before weight gain.
Just 2-3 days a week of 16-hour intermittent fasting can significantly reduce your average insulin levels and the risk of type 2 diabetes, from which men over 50 are susceptible.
Intermittent Fasting and Cognition
As people age, there is a chance that they will suffer from cognitive decline. Let us look into the science. The brain does not transport glucose very well. If we fast intermittently, we produce ketones that are significantly smaller in size than glucose molecules. This means that they can cross the blood-brain barrier more easily.
Our brain accounts for only 2% of our body weight but consumes 20% of our energy requirements. Pound for pound, our brains take a very significant amount of energy. If we are not processing energy in our bodies, that is exponentially magnified in our brains. As we get into a deeper state of ketosis during intermittent fasting, the ketones act as a signaling device and induce the production of BDNF.
BDNF is a protein that plays a vital role in the growth, maintenance, and survival of nerve cells in our brains. It involves various functions, including memory, learning, and mood regulation. For people over 50, BDNF production can help prevent cognitive decline, which is facilitated by intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a safe and effective strategy for improving health and longevity in men over 50. It promotes metabolic flexibility, enhances cellular repair mechanisms, reduces inflammation, and improves insulin sensitivity. These benefits can positively impact many age-related health conditions, such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline.
However, you must consult your doctor before starting an intermittent fasting schedule. With the proper guidance and approach, intermittent fasting can be a powerful tool for optimizing health and aging gracefully.
Also need help fasting? Check out the Best Intermittent Fasting Mobile Apps we recommend to help you on your journey.