Intermittent Fasting – Latest Research in 2022

Intermittent Fasting (IF) Could Make You Smarter (and Happier, Too!)

The brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF, is a protein found in the brain. It is essential for neuroplasticity and the growth and development of brain cells. It also plays key roles in learning, memory, and your mood. Low BDNF levels correlate with cognitive dysfunction, memory impairments, and depression.

A 2022 review study, based on 82 peer reviewed papers, evaluated the link between intermittent fasting and cognitive performance and how targeting BDNF could optimize brain health. In preliminary studies, researchers concluded that IF was consistently found to upregulate BDNF and boost cognitive performance. Clinical studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Women are more likely than men to experience mental health issues; for example, women are roughly 40% more likely to experience depression than men. As a result, these studies are  great news for women who struggle with brain fog and cognitive problems.


IF as a Treatment for Fatty Liver. What is Scientific Evidence?

Currently,  there is no prescription drug approved to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD). Doctors recommend losing weight and adopting a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet. NAFLD is very prevalent, affecting up to 55% of women with PCOS. This is because excess weight, insulin resistance and androgen excess seen in PCOS are also risk factors for NAFLD.

This new study reviewed several  studies, evaluating the benefits of IF for managing fatty liver. Clinical trials found that IF safely and effectively improves fatty liver by promoting weight loss, reducing insulin resistance, and minimizing metabolic syndrome. Different types of IF may help manage fatty liver, including time-restricted fasting, alternate‐day fasting, and prolonged fasting.


IF Keeps Your Gut Flora in Top Shape.

The human gut holds a community of more than 100 trillion bacteria and other microbial cells. Your gut flora has important roles- it supports healthy digestion and metabolism, strengthens the immune system, fights infections, and even influences gene expression. Many chronic illnesses correlate with gut flora imbalances, including PCOS. Research studies found that women with PCOS have altered gut flora compared with healthy women. Furthermore, changes in the gut flora correlate with total testosterone and hirsutism associated with PCOS. Probiotics, prebiotics and plant compounds (polyphenols) are all known to balance the gut flora. Recently, researchers found evidence that IF can help, too.

A new systematic review of multiple studies found that alternate day fasting (ADF) and time restricted feeding (TRF) improves the composition of the gut flora, especially balancing the levels of certain bacterial species involved in metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and weight control.