Dr. Anne Cross is a world renowned multiple sclerosis (MS) expert at Washington University, St. Louis, MO. She is currently doing a study with intermittent fasting (one day a week) with MS patients and the early results relative to improving disease are very promising.*
Intermittent fasting, a timed approach to eating, has proven in numerous research studies to enhance weight loss in addition to many other valuable health benefits.
As we evolved, our body was not meant to eat 24 hours a day which may explain why intermittent fasting interventions are showing promising outcomes for weight loss, balanced blood sugar levels, improved brain health, decreased inflammation and more.
So what is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting entails avoiding food consumption for a window of time or significantly restricting calories a few times per week. This allows the body to release energy that is stored as fat while also increasing insulin sensitivity, inducing weight loss, reducing appetite, improving gut health, stimulating cell “clean-up” (autophagy), increasing brain hormones like brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and turning on stem cells. It also promotes lowering levels of inflammation, helping to improve cognitive function and much more. Concurrently, more cortisone is produced that initiates a killing of rogue autoimmune cells – wow, that is quite a lot of positive impact just from this type of fasting!
A healthy diet is not a time-limited event - it should become an integral part of your daily life and something you can start doing right now. Make sure you consult your own physician for guidance specific to your health and needs.
Generally, you can:
1. Gradually adapt to your new eating lifestyle with a 12 hour fast (not eating after your last evening meal – that means no midnight snacks).
2. Work toward a 24-36 hour fast once a month with the goal to do this weekly.
3. Consider ProLon®, a five-day dietary meal program developed by Dr. Valter Longo who has studied in-depth the effects of intermittent fasting.
For more information see https://prolonpro.com
Of course everyone, with or without neurological disease, has distinct dietary needs. But it’s definitely worth a discussion with your doctor to see if intermittent fasting and its benefits as evidenced by numerous studies can be an important component in your own care plan.
Dr. Suzy Gazda
For more information about Dr. Cross’ study:
In other studies that involved a fasting mimicking diet (Longo, it was found that some test subjects had complete reversal of their MS disease and just as significantly the diet promoted oligodendrocyte myelin regeneration (OGD) and as well re-myelination of axons.
A study conducted with 60 patients with the FMD once every 6 months ( this is a modified calorie restricted diet X 5 days ) with a baseline Mediterranean diet i.e. you can't splurge at McDonalds after your done. Your healthy diet is not a diet ...is becomes part of your life. His results in these MS patients were incredibly positive.
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Dr. Suzanne Gazda, Integrative Neurology