Intermittent Fasting for Brain Health: A Powerful Tool

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.

Intermittent Fasting Promotes Brain Health

“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.

Autophagy for Brain Health

The cells in your brain are no different than the cells in your body; they too undergo this process.

You may have noticed that when you wake up from a good night’s sleep, your mind feels “fresher” and works better than when you went to bed.

This fresher feeling is due, in large part, to the enhanced cleaning of the brain cells (neurons) that take place when we sleep and fast.

You see, at night, you fast for several consecutive hours and think nothing of it.

Fasting for Brain Health Takeaways

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.

More on intermittent fasting:

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss: 7 Ways fasting Can Help

Intermittent Fasting and Building Muscle: Fasting for Muscle Gain

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Anton

I’ve had the privilege of studying the fields of obesity, metabolism, and aging for the past 20 years and felt an increasing desire to share what I’ve learned with as many people as possible the past few years.

More About Dr. Anton
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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Dr. Anton

    I’ve had the privilege of studying the fields of obesity, metabolism, and aging for the past 20 years and felt an increasing desire to share what I’ve learned with as many people as possible the past few years.

    More About Dr. Anton
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    RECENT ARTICLES

    Real science. Real advice. Straight to your inbox!

    Get the latest news on topics like intermittent fasting, healthy aging, reducing obesity, and more.