Intermittent Fasting: Can It Slow Aging? Thomas DeLauer

Intermittent Fasting: Can It Slow Aging? Thomas DeLauer

Intermittent Fasting: Can It Slow Aging? Thomas DeLauer

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we can talk about how fasting improves longevity all day long until we’re blue in the face the fact is if we don’t have science if we don’t have data and if we don’t understand physiology then none of it matters it doesn’t make sense so in this video I want to truly help you understand with science and referencing one particular major study that truly shows how fasting has an effect on the cells when it comes down to longevity and living a longer more prosperous life so this study was conducted by the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and was ultimately published in the Journal of cell metabolism so a lot of the science I’m talking about today is coming from this study but there’s also some basic understanding of mitochondrial function that I’m going to break down before I get into the nitty-gritty of this study and how it correlates with fasting okay so first off we need to understand what the mitochondria is I’m gonna make this simple because I’ve talked about it in depth in a lot of other videos the mitochondria is a portion of a cell that is the energy powerhouse it creates adenosine triphosphate it creates ATP which is simply energy okay and it does this through a process known as oxidative phosphorylation so what that is it’s where it takes oxygen goes through a labyrinth of different processes and ultimately creates energy via oxygen so things like our heart and things like our kidneys and our lungs they require a lot of mitochondria so when we have mitochondria that is functioning well our heart is functioning well our lungs are functioning well our organs are functioning well it’s something that we obviously want to be working in a very clear fashion but the mitochondria does more than just create energy and it’s constantly changing something known as mitochondrial dynamics see the mitochondria goes through states of fission and fusion fission where it’s multiplying and fusion where they’re coming together so essentially in the case of fission mitochondria can actually have these two daughter organelles and then they can have more organelles basically what that means as mitochondria can multiply and this multiplication can either help or hinder an analogy that I like to use is this if you have a kid you have the ability with that one child to create a profound impact on the world because you can take your thought processes you can take your beliefs and you can help your child pronounce them even more okay then if you have two kids you can potentially magnify that to X if you have three kids you can magnify that more and more and more some people successfully do this with multiple multiple children seven eight nine even ten but I would honestly argue that if you got up to twenty thirty or forty kids that your efficiency would start to diminish and this is the same kind of thing with that mitochondrial dynamics okay if the mitochondria continue to have children and they continue to multiply they become a less efficient they’re just kind of working chaotically so we want a nice degree of fission and a nice degree of fusion where the mitochondria are growing bigger and stronger but also multiplying strategically and this is very very important when it comes to fasting because this is exactly what I’m going to talk about and how this study really dope into this you see too much fission causes something called the fragmentation also known as hyper tabulation this fragmentation or hyper tabulation is simply what it sounds like you become fragmented it’s like you’re getting spread so thin it’s like you’re multitasking trying to manage 40 children so that’s exactly what’s happening here so let’s dive in a little bit more with fission and fusion and I promise I’m going to make some sense of this but I have to make sure the science is outlined first so mitochondria will alternate between two states fused and fragmented we want them to be in the few state more often than fragmented a little bit of fragmentation is okay but what it’s been found is that fasting diets and restricted diets in general actually improve what is called mitochondrial homeostasis which is the perfect balance between fission and fusion perfect balance between fused and fragmented so fasting actually promotes that natural balance there’s not too much of one or the other a lot of it comes down to the fact that mitochondria do more than just produce energy you see mitochondria actually orchestrate what is called apoptosis apoptosis is the cell recycling and this is very critical when it comes down to living for a long period of time see when a cell is no longer needed it doesn’t just die it’s not like our body has this ability to just say you’re done you’re dead you see what it does is it says okay you’re no longer needed so let’s extract what we need from you and put it somewhere else so you have this cell that has a membrane on the outside and it envelops the cytoplasm and all other components of the cell well when this cell is no longer needed that membrane sort of acts like a bag and everything is sucked out of that and recycle it’s like it takes the guts out of the cell and puts them where they need to be used it’s like Robin Hood okay he’s taking from the already big cell that has a lot to offer but not really contributing to the world sucks it out and gives it to the cells that actually need it so it’s a really beautiful thing but the mitochondria orchestrates all this and if the mitochondrial networks are not working well because they are too fragmented this apoptosis doesn’t occur so then we have way too much in the way of cells that aren’t needed that are just compiling and they’re just building up and building up and building up and they’re ultimately wasting space because Robin Hood isn’t there to come in and suck out the guts I know it’s kind of graphic but it’s truly how it is and this all has to do with ampk okay I know I’m going deep on this but I promise it seemed to make sense so stick with me ampk or amp kinase is the key to mitochondrial health it is sort of a dictator of what the mitochondria is going to do when energy levels are low AMPK is up when energy levels are low but energy demands are high AMPK goes up and signals more mitochondrial growth in a positive clean way unless you have a lot of AMPK that’s triggering a crazy response okay so good amounts of AMPK trigger healthy mitochondrial growth but what this study found out was that ampk ended up increasing based on restricted intake of calories so this study took a look at nematode worms and I know this is weird you’re thinking what the heck does a nematode have to do with life as a human the reality is nematode worms have similar mitochondrial function as humans do but they also only live for two weeks so it makes it a lot easier to overall look at lifespan over a shorter period of time without having to measure a chronicle the life of multiple humans over the course of a hundred to 120 years so with nematodes it was found that by restricting calories their levels of a and P K would go up and they would live longer because their mitochondria was able to develop homeostasis and ultimately get to a point where it was able to function in a lot more of a clearer way but to make matters even better it was also able to process fats a lot better so the mitochondrial machinery not only became more effective but it also became more effective at utilizing fats as a fuel source which the beta oxidation processes where oxygen comes in through oxidative phosphorylation it was able to happen better that means more efficiency more fat burning more oxygen and living longer simply by incorporating fasting or restricting calories so this is an explanation of how you can live longer utilizing fasting it helps your body recycle it helps your body utilize what needs to be utilized better and overall it increases at ampk that’s going to allow your mitochondria to fuse the right way and defragment the right way whenever it’s possible now I’ve done a lot of other videos on how to fast so I’ll save that content for those videos but now you have a general understanding of how fasting can preach longevity as always keep it locked in here my channel I apologize for the science but I know that’s why you’re here I’ll see you soon

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Fasting & Mitochondria (Longevity & Lifespan)

Research from Harvard Chan School of Public Health, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, found why fasting can lead to a longer, healthier life (4) Manipulating mitochondrial networks inside cells — either by dietary restriction or by genetic manipulation that mimics it – may increase lifespan and promote a healthy life.

These organelles are constantly changing in size and number by the processes of fission (breaking apart) or fusion (putting together)… Both processes are necessary for mitochondria to stay healthy. Too much fission and there is fragmentation; too much fusion is called mitochondrial hypertabulation.

Fission & Fusion:
Inside cells mitochondrial networks generally alternate between two states: fused and fragmented.
The study found that restricted diets promote homeostasis in mitochondrial networks allowing for a healthy plasticity between these fused and fragmented states. Fission and fusion imbalances of mitochondria result in reduced function – defective mitochondrial dynamics have been implicated in cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
Mitochondria, other than just being the powerhouse of the cell, also play an integral role in programmed cell death or apoptosis. When the body decides that a cell is no longer necessary, the cell does not simply die. When the cell is damaged or no longer necessary, it undergoes an orderly disposal of its cellular contents, which are reabsorbed and its components may be reused for other purposes. This process is called apoptosis and is a major mechanism for the precise regulation of cell numbers. It is also a major defense strategy for the removal of unwanted or potentially dangerous cells (cancer) So, if the process of apoptosis is impaired, then the result is too much growth.

The researchers in the study used nematode worms, which live just two weeks and thus enable the study of aging in real time in the lab. As mentioned, mitochondrial networks inside cells typically toggle between fused and fragmented states. The researchers found that restricting the worms’ diet, or mimicking dietary restriction (fasting) through genetic manipulation of an energy-sensing protein called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), maintained the mitochondrial networks in a fused or “youthful” state. In addition, they found that these youthful networks increased lifespan by communicating with organelles called peroxisomes to modulate fat metabolism.

The key to keeping mitochondria healthy is AMPK, a sort of reverse fuel gauge of the cell. When energy stores are low, AMPK goes up – AMPK is a phylogenetically ancient sensor triggered by high cellular energy demands. If energy demand is high and energy stores are low, then AMPK goes up and stimulates new mitochondrial growth. AMPK goes up with decreased nutrient sensing, which is tightly correlated to longevity. Simply put, increased AMPK (low cellular energy status) also acts through several intermediaries to increase mitochondria.

Fasting also stimulates autophagy and mitophagy, the process of culling the old, dysfunctional mitochondria – fasting essentially gets rid of the old mitochondria and at the same time stimulates new growth.

Researchers Concluded on the Study:
Our work shows how crucial the plasticity of mitochondria networks is for the benefits of fasting – if we lock mitochondria in one state, we completely block the effects of fasting or dietary restriction on longevity. The study also found that fasting enhances mitochondrial coordination with peroxisomes, a type of organelle that can increase fatty acid oxidation, a fundamental fat metabolism process.
In the study’s experiments, the lifespan of the worm was increased by simply preserving mitochondrial network homeostasis through dietary intervention. These results help shed light on how fasting can increase longevity and promote healthy aging.


1) Harvard study uncovers why fasting can lead to a longer and healthier life. (2017, November 6). Retrieved from

2) Intermittent fasting may be center of increasing lifespan. (2017, November 6). Retrieved from

3) Dr. Jason Fung. (2018, January 25). Fasting, Longevity and the Mitochondrial Connection. Retrieved from

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