I came across this story in The Guardian. Apparently, neurons work more effectively if they are starved every now and then – one or two days a week, with a minimal calorie intake of 500 is suggested – and are less likely to malfunction.
“Reducing your calorie intake could help your brain, but doing so by cutting your intake of food is not likely to be the best method of triggering this protection. It is likely to be better to go on intermittent bouts of fasting, in which you eat hardly anything at all, and then have periods when you eat as much as you want,” said Professor Mark Mattson, head of the [National Institute on Ageing in Baltimore]’s laboratory of neurosciences.
– as reported by The Guardian
Mattson was speaking to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver on Saturday, February 18, 201. The abstract for his presentation can be found here.
The abstract states:
Dietary energy restriction (DER) extends lifespan and protects the brain and cardiovascular system against age-related diseases in animal models. We have found that DER, particularly when administered in intermittent bouts of major caloric restriction (e.g., alternate day fasting), activates adaptive cellular stress response pathways in neurons resulting in increased production of neurotrophic factors, protein chaperones, antioxidant enzymes and proteins involved in mitochondrial biogenesis. As a result, the function of synapses is enhanced, neurogenesis (the production of new neurons from stem cells) is increased, and neurons are more resistant to oxidative and metabolic stress.– Mark Mattson , National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD
[…] DER has slowed the disease process and improved functional outcome in animal models of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, stroke and myocardical infarction.
There: “slowed the disease process”. That’s important. That makes me think that it might be worth a try. And, while it might not be “easy”, it won’t be complicated, either. Nor should it harm me if I am otherwise well.
I’ve got a cold at the moment, though…