Life Extension Magazine®
Woman picking garden for refeeding after fasting

Issue: Jan 2020

Fasting for a Longer Life

Several fasting methods can result in slower aging, reduced disease risks and potential reversal of diabetes.

Scientifically reviewed by:  Dr. Kathy Wilson, Ph.D, on January 2020. Written By Paul McGlothin.

Happy, Healthy New Year!

Congratulations on reaching the 2020s—the decade when life-changing opportunities to become a long-lived, more functional human will be possible. One of the best ways to do that is already here: Fasting! The benefits are amazing:

1. Slower Aging

Scientists from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Louisiana’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center report that longer daily fasting times improve health and longevity in lab mice. The results held up regardless of what the mice ate or how many calories they consumed.1

Many LivingTheCRWay members also incorporate long, daily fasting times into their lives, and their results are remarkable, indicating reduced risk of age-related disease.2

2. Decreased Cancer Likelihood and Slower Metastasis

Fasting reduces risk factors that make cancer likely.3

Fasting may help slow metastasis and make chemotherapy more effective.4

3. Type II Diabetes and Prediabetes—Reversible

Fasting makes cells more insulin sensitive, reducing blood glucose levels. Some studies indicate that low-calorie diets can reverse type II diabetes and prediabetes.5,6

4. Improved Cardiovascular Health

Intermittent fasting may slow atherosclerosis progression, decrease blood pressure, improve lipid profile, and cut inflammation related to heart risk.7

Why Fast when you are Already Healthy?

woman with basket of fresh apples

In my 40s, I was happy with the results of my calorie-restricted diet and did not see a reason to try fasting.

Once I got into my 50s, though, brain fog crept into my life. Brain fog is another way of saying memory and other cognitive capabilities—like creativity and organizational skills—are not working as well as they once did.

Looking for help, I tried a brain-training program that flashed numbers for a few seconds on my computer screen and challenged me to repeat them back from memory. I wondered whether this kind of brain training could clear up brain fog.

Try it. Take two seconds to memorize this number:

864237906

Now look away so you can’t see the number and repeat it. How did you do? Can you repeat it without looking?

If you can, try repeating it backward without looking.

In my 50s, a sequence of nine numbers was as much as I could remember. A sequence of 10 numbers (try 2539046407), especially backward, was too much for me.

I could probably have improved my score by practicing for weeks or months, but I wanted to improve faster—like I could in my 20s and 30s. Little did I know that a far-away lab had developed what I needed: Intermittent Fasting or Periodic Fasting, as they called it in their paper.8

This innovative research compares the cognitive functions of calorie-restricted mice to mice that were not calorie-restricted but were fed on a schedule that included fasting time without food. The brain-boosting benefits were greater for the fasting mice.

Inspired, I decided to try it. I ate two meals—a big breakfast and a smaller lunch—and stopped eating as soon as I could: mid-afternoon. Then I drank only water until the next morning.

After eating this way for a few days, I tried the number sequences again, not expecting any improvement. But there it was: When I got to ten numbers, I could do it! Soon I progressed to 11 numbers, then 12 and 13. And sometimes I could remember 13 numbers backward. I was amazed. Not only did I get better at the brain-training game, but other aspects of my life got better too. I was able to use my increased cognitive skills to develop business opportunities that required new, creative concepts.

By then I was hooked. Life was too good to go back to eating three meals a day. What has become The CR Way to Daily Intermittent Fasting will always be part of my life.

Transforming Lives

older couple jogging in park

As The CR Way to Daily Intermittent Fasting developed, new possibilities emerged for people to transform their lives by improving their brain function. Seniors particularly, might be able to combine better brain function with social skills, developed over decades, to be terrific grandparents, great managers, salespeople, entrepreneurs—whatever they want.

Our mentor, Ralph Cornell in Massillon, Ohio, did just that. Ralph started daily intermittent fasting when he was in his 50s. He didn’t call it intermittent fasting. He just decided to skip lunch so he wouldn’t feel like falling asleep after eating and therefore get nothing done in the afternoon.

Ralph lived to 104, almost 20 years longer than his two brothers who died in their 80s.

Reinforcing how effective daily intermittent fasting can be for healthy longevity, Walter Breuning, who lived to 114.5 years, revealed that he ate two meals a day for 35 years.9

Should you Fast?

round cutting board with knife and fork emmulating clock, containing food; symbolizing intermittent fasting

Meredith Averill, cofounder of the CR Way, says, “If you want to slow aging, fasting may be appropriate for you. However, if you need to gain weight or if you sense that you would be under undue emotional stress while fasting, address those issues first before trying to fast. Also, see a doctor who makes sure that fasting is not unduly stressful to your cardiovascular system.”

If you decide to fast, choose a fasting method that works for you. Here are a few to consider:

  • Intermittent Fasting (15-16 hours between meals most days)
  • 24-hour Fasts
  • Weekend Fasts
  • Five-day Fasts
  • Longer Fasts

For fasts longer than 24 hours, consider going to a fasting center where your vital signs would be monitored by knowledgeable doctors.

Here is how some experienced CR Way members fast and why they chose their fasting method:

“Intermittent fasting for me usually involves just extending my overnight fast for several more hours. This is a more regular practice. For example, I haven’t eaten yet today and I will likely have my first meal around 1 or 2. Sometimes this is shorter and I will have lunch at noon and sometimes I wait until 5 or 6 for dinner. I have had several 24-hour fasts in the last year and I believe one 36-hour fast during that time due to traveling. I love fasting when traveling because I just focus on hydrating and I don’t have to worry about finding the types of healthy foods I like to eat in airports or in unknown restaurants.”

– Heidi, 2019

“Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, I began fasting as an experiment in the early 1980s, speculating that there might be benefits. My water-only fasting begins after dinner and ends two days later at noon, approximately 42 hours. This was done weekly for about 20 years. I stopped fasting for several years and later returned to a regime of fortnightly 42-hour fasts, combined with a daily intermittent-fasting eating window of eight hours. The evidence-based benefits of fasting include activation of protective nutrient-sensing pathways and deactivation of harmful pathways, thus promoting healthspan.”

– Ernest, 2019

“I started intermittent fasting in 2016 as I moved from five or six small meals a day to three meals, then two meals and finally to one meal a day with a 21-to-22-hour fasting window. In 2017 I began fasting for two to four days at a time, gradually becoming more metabolically flexible. My current optimal intermittent fasting schedule is alternate- day fasting with a six-hour eating window in the morning between 6 a.m. and noon followed by 42 hours of fasting. I also do several medium-term, four-to-six-day fasts a year—usually when travelling on business, and one long-term supervised fast at TrueNorth Health in CA in the summer. Last year after a 22-day water fast there my arterial age went down by 11 years!”

– Alex, 2019

“I prefer daily intermittent fasting to extended fasting. I would like to give my body predictability rather than surprises, so I give it meal-timing it can count on. My targets of finishing food intake around 4 p.m. in the afternoon and fasting until breakfast at 7 a.m. the next morning give me a window of time away from food of about 15 hours—and that’s every day! I’m toying with the idea of eating one meal a day to grow my fasting window.”

– Meredith, 2019

Refeeding—An Important Part of Your Fast

smiling woman holding coffee cup out in yard

When you break your fast, your refeeding plan should do the following:

  • Get insulin back into production
  • Normalize bowel function
  • Hydrate well
  • Reduce populations of pathogens and their influence

Fasting can do wonders for your health—but only if you do it the right way. The CR Way’s key to fasting success includes solving the problem from healthy refeeding as well as lifestyle planning—especially diet —to complement the beneficial biochemistry you get from fasting.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


Be part of the new age of longer life. Join LivingTheCRWay and take advantage of Longevity 101, their new online course to help you live a longer, better life.


Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill have discovered the bridge between scientific research and its practical application for a better, longer life. Their work brings real results and longevity benefits to CR Way practitioners. Their CR Way lifestyle is based on decades of research, showing favorable changes in genes and other biomarkers of aging. They have played a pivotal role in this research on aging at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and at the University of California at both San Francisco and Riverside.


You can find more about them and the benefits of LivingTheCRWay Membership by calling 877-481-4841 or visiting www.livingthecrway.com.


References

  1. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/longer-daily-fasting-times-improve-health-and-longevity-mice. Accessed October 14, 2019.
  2. The CR Way Research Database. 2019.
  3. Available at: https://osher.ucsf.edu/patient-care/integrative-medicine-resources/cancer-and-nutrition/faq/cancer-and-fasting-calorie-restriction. Accessed October 14, 2019.
  4. de Groot S, Pijl H, van der Hoeven JJM, et al. Effects of short-term fasting on cancer treatment. J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2019 May 22;38(1):209.
  5. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/278264.php. Accessed October 14, 2019.
  6. Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190702152749.htm. Accessed October 14, 2019.
  7. Malinowski B, Zalewska K, Wesierska A, et al. Intermittent Fasting in Cardiovascular Disorders-An Overview. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 20;11(3).
  8. Mattson MP, Duan W, Guo Z. Meal size and frequency affect neuronal plasticity and vulnerability to disease: cellular and molecular mechanisms. J Neurochem. 2003 Feb;84(3):417-31.
  9. Available at: http://sydnegeorge.com/two-meal-diet-aids-in-oldest-mans-longevity/. Accessed October 14, 2019.