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The Energy You Feel with Fasting is REAL – Here’s How Fasting Improves Energy

The Energy You Feel with Fasting is REAL – Here’s How Fasting Improves Energy

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The Energy You Feel with Fasting is REAL - Here’s How Fasting Improves Energy

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Ketones and Mitochondrial Efficiency

Aspects of ketogenesis: control and mechanism of ketone-body formation in isolated rat-liver mitochondria.

In the pioneering research of Veech and Clarke published in FASEB journal, ketones were found to be an extremely efficient fuel. They reported that rat heart has increased work output by 28% while having reduced consumption of oxygen. Imagine a car fuel that makes your car go faster while also reducing the fuel consumption.

The biochemistry behind this remarkable efficiency is based on the ability of ketones to interact with coenzymes which carry electrons between protein complexes situated in the inner membrane of mitochondria where production of ATP happens. The formation of ATP Is dependent on the energy released during the transport of electrons between these complexes. Ketones have the ability to make these coenzymes (carriers of electrons) oppositely charged and therefore the energy released during the electron transport is greater.

Increased Levels of BDNF

Evolution naturally selected mechanisms that give us the ability to come up with novel strategies to obtain food during starvation. BDNF is one of these mechanisms. It enhances cognition by enhancing neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to evolve throughout our lives and improves memory. BDNF is found to be upregulated during starvation but precise mechanisms remain to be discovered. As mentioned later here, ketones might be involved in the signalling.

Apart from acting as a signalling molecule it also upregulates brain bioenergetics. A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience reported that BDNF increases the utilization of glucose in neurons by upregulating the neural glucose transporter GLUT3.

Similarly, it was reported in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, that in cultured neurons, BDNF upregulates the expression of MCT2, a transporter of ketone bodies and lactate.

Improved Sleep

A study published in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism analysed sleep pattern of 15 healthy men and confirmed that fasting results in a decrease in arousals and periodic leg movement, both of which are markers of good sleep.

The effects of improved sleep could be explained by observations reported by a study published in Biomedical Research International. The fasting lowered the blood pressure and heart rate and increased the parasympathetic activity. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is a branch of the autonomic system that is putting our body to rest. Among others, it slows down breathing and stimulates sexual arousal. PNS is termed as the “rest and digest” system.

Increased Levels of Serotonin

Serotonin helps our brain to be more patient, enhances coping behaviour and prevents anxiety and stress. On top of this, serotonin also promotes neuroplasticity – the adaptability of our brains to various events. All these features would be greatly appreciated by a starved hunter-gatherer on his quest to find something to eat.

A study published in Neurology International confirmed that, indeed, evolution worked this was. 30 subjects who followed Ramadan fasting showed higher levels of Serotonin. Besides, BDNF and neural growth factor were also increased, further supporting the notion that fasting improves cognition and brain health.

References

https://www.fasebj.org/doi/pdf/10.1096/fasebj.9.8.7768357
https://n.neurology.org/content/88/16_Supplement/P3.090
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5606297/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53094/
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