Washington, April 04: Routine periodic fasting may help promote health and reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a new study.
Cardiologists with the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute have said that fasting not only lowers one''s risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes, but also causes significant changes in a person''s blood cholesterol levels,
Both diabetes and elevated cholesterol are known risk factors for coronary heart disease.
In the new research, fasting was also found to reduce other cardiac risk factors, such as triglycerides, weight, and blood sugar levels.
"These new findings demonstrate that our original discovery was not a chance event," said Benjamin D. Horne, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, and the study''s principal investigator.
"The confirmation among a new set of patients that fasting is associated with lower risk of these common diseases raises new questions about how fasting itself reduces risk or if it simply indicates a healthy lifestyle."
Unlike the earlier research by the team, the new research recorded reactions in the body''s biological mechanisms during the fasting period.
The participants'' low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C, the "bad" cholesterol) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, the "good" cholesterol) both increased (by 14 percent and 6 percent, respectively) raising their total cholesterol – and catching the researchers by surprise.
"Fasting causes hunger or stress. In response, the body releases more cholesterol, allowing it to utilize fat as a source of fuel, instead of glucose. This decreases the number of fat cells in the body," said Horne.
"This is important because the fewer fat cells a body has, the less likely it will experience insulin resistance, or diabetes."
The findings have been presented at the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans. (ANI)