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Most of us want to live healthier, longer lives. After all, the fountain of youth has existed as a concept since the first elderly cave person caught sight of their wrinkles in a pool of water. Several thousand years later and the cosmetic surgery business is booming, and every day new treatments enter the marketplace. Whoever discovers a workable age reversing elixir will become very rich indeed.
However, scientists may have already discovered it—and it's a lot simpler and cheaper than you would expect. A number of recent scientific studies have demonstrated that intermittent fasting could be the key to a longer, healthier life, and that it has the potential to reverse aging.
It seems a little counter-intuitive, but the same results have been borne out across a number of different studies, admittedly with mice, but early indications are that the same may be true in humans.
People have been fasting as part of weight loss programs for years, and it has been known that reduced calorie intake can lead to a degree of life extension—there are even online communities devoted to it.
The science behind this is quite simple. Aging occurs in part due to DNA errors being replicated in cell division, and cells only divide once they cannot grow any bigger. In effect, reduce the amount of calories consumed and increase the time it takes for cells to divide.
However scientists taking part in studies with mice discovered that older mice regrew lost hair, reversed wrinkles, and lived longer than well fed control specimens. Further studies concluded that there were many factors in play here, but in essence, fasting places the body under stress, and the biological system responds by increasing the rate of autophagy—the process where the body recycles damaged cells to replace the glucose that would ordinarily be available—and whacks up production of stem cells and anti-oxidants, all of which help boost the immune system, and yes, potentially reverse aging.
The ideal length of time for a fast is yet to be agreed upon with positive results in studies when fasting between sixteen hours and three days however there are dangers, not to mention the sheer level of will power required to abstain from eating for any prolonged period of time.