Fasting, even periodically, helps for weight loss and it also prevents the risks of developing diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Dr. Valter Longo, director of the USC Longevity Institute, deals with research on the process of aging, with special accent on how to lower the risk from diseases that usually appear with age, such as cancer and diabetes. Moreover, he does not only study the fasting process, but also the supporters of this phenomenon.
Valter is practicing a strict diet and he does not eat lunch in order to maintain ideal weight. Furthermore, every six months he fasts for 7 days. This Italian man, tall, slim and full of energy is a true inspiration for all those who want to learn more about the advantages arising from fasting.
He is amazed from fasting because his research on other people proved that it has a great positive influence on one’s health- when the organism is deprived from food, even for a short period, the so called genes for repair of the body are activated and this brings longterm benefits. Moreover, he added that there are numerous proves that periodical fasting can lead to longterm changes related to aging and diseases since only 24 hours after fasting, everything is being reversed. The beauty of fasting, according to the director, is the fact that everything is performed in harmony. Most of the early studies have been performed with rodents and provided insight into the molecular processes which take place during fasting.
In the study from 1945 rats underwent starving once in every four days, once in every three days, and once in every two days. The more they fasted, the longer the life span of the rats was and what’s more, there was no physical detoriation whatsoever. From that year onwards, there were numerous other studies which proved these original foundings.
Why is fasting helpful?
As an example, Volter puts forward the genetically modified mice known as dwarfs or Laron mice, which have a long lifespan despite their size. Moreover, their lifespan can even reach 4 years which is twice more than the average mice lifespan. However, the fascinating thing is not the life span of the Laron mice, but the fact that they remain unbelievably healthy during their entire life. Moreover, they do not experience diabetes, cancer and when they die it is impossible to find the reason behind their death with the help of autopsy.
The reason behind their smallness and longevity is the genetic modification i.e. their bodies do not react to the hormone IGF-1 which is the factor of growth. This hormone influences almost all cells in the body and maintains their activity. A certain amount is necessary in youth while we develop, but in later years it only speeds up aging and cancer risk. Furthermore, he explains it is a constant push of the gas pedals to the maximum, i.e. forcing a car. Valter claims that a car will certainly go bad if you continue to force it instead of changing its parts from time to time.
Valter’s goal is to discover how to drive as longer and as quicker as possible, while in the same time you are enjoying life. He believes that the answer is hidden in periodical fasting.