Written by Stephen Anton PhD on August 6th, 2020
When you fast long enough to activate your body’s metabolic switch (typically 12 or more hours), your mind and body start running on super-charged energy molecules called ketones (1).
One reason “flipping your metabolic switch” is so beneficial for the brain is that ketones generate approximately 25% more energy in the body than glucose (sugar)(2).
So, the shift in fuel that occurs can give your brain an immediate boost.
This is one of the primary reasons more people are fasting for mental clarity.
Perhaps you have experienced moments of great mental clarity while fasting?
This was one of my first experiences, and a big reason I became interested in what was happening in my brain while I was fasting.
Over time, I learned that when our bodies use ketones for energy, after this metabolic switch is flipped, changes happen within our cells that have health-promoting effects in both our minds and bodies.
One of these processes is called autophagy, which is the way cells clean themselves so they can function better.
So, if you can start the fasting process (aka not eating) a few hours before going to bed and then wait to eat for a few hours after waking up, you are well on your way to incorporating Intermittent Fasting (IF) into your lifestyle and having cleaner brain cells.