Scientifically designed fasting diet lowers risks for major diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease and other age related disease

A randomized trial shows cycles of a five-day fasting diet designed by a USC researcher safely reduces the risk factors for age-related diseases.

What if you could lose weight and reduce your risk of life-threatening disease without any changes in what you eat — other than a five-day special diet once every few months?

That’s what happened for 71 adults placed on three cycles of a low-calorie, “fasting-mimicking” diet. The phase II trial, conducted by researchers at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, demonstrated a host of benefits from the regimen.

The diet reduced cardiovascular risk factors, including blood pressure and signs of inflammation (measured by C-reactive protein levels), as well as fasting glucose and reduced levels of IGF-1, a hormone that affects metabolism. It also shrank waistlines and resulted in weight loss, both in total body fat and trunk fat, but not in muscle mass.

In effect, the diet reduced the study participants’ risks for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other age-related diseases.

This study provides evidence that people can experience significant health benefits through a periodic, fasting-mimicking diet that is designed to act on the aging process,” said Valter Longo, director of the USC Longevity Institute and professor of biological sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “Prior studies have indicated a range of health benefits in mice, but this is the first randomized clinical trial with enough participants to demonstrate that the diet is feasible, effective and safe for humans.

“Larger FDA studies are necessary to confirm its effects on disease prevention and treatment,” he added.

ProLon® is designed to achieve the beneficial effects of fasting while providing micronutrient nourishment (vitamins, minerals and others) of which the body is deprived during fasting. It minimizes the psychological burden of pure fasting.

ProLon® comprises proprietary plant-based soups, bars, drinks, snacks, herbal teas, vitamins, and supplements.

One hundred people participated in the trial from April 2013 to July 2015. The participants, ages 20 to 70 and all generally healthy, were divided into two groups for the randomized trial.

Participants in the first group, the control group, were asked to continue their normal eating habits for three months. People in the second group were placed on a three-month test of the fasting-mimicking diet.

Those on the special diet were required to eat food products supplied by the nutrition company L-Nutra during the fasting periods of five days each month. The diet, which was designed to mimic the results of a water-only fast, allowed for participants to consume between 750 and 1,100 calories per day. The meals for the fast-mimicking diet contained precise proportions of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

After three months, participants in the control group were moved onto the special diet.

The researchers found that participants on the fasting-mimicking diet lost an average of about six pounds. Their waistlines shrank by one to two inches. Their systolic blood pressure, which was in the normal range when the study began, dropped by 4.5 mmHG, while their diastolic blood pressure dropped by 3.1 mmHg. Also, their levels of IGF-1 dropped to between 21.7 ng/mL and 46.2 ng/mL, reaching a range associated with lower cancer risk.

“After the first group completed their three months on the fasting diet, we moved over participants in the control group to see if they also would experience similar results,” Longo said. “We saw similar outcomes, which provides further evidence that a fasting-mimicking diet has effects on many metabolic and disease markers. Our mouse studies using a similar fasting-mimicking diet indicate that these beneficial effects are caused by multi-system regeneration and rejuvenation in the body at the cellular and organ levels.

“Our participants retained those effects, even when they returned to their normal daily eating habits,” he added.

At-risk participants

The researchers also noted that participants considered “at risk,” because they had risk factors such as high IGF-1, cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar levels, made significant progress toward better health.

For example, baseline fasting glucose levels for participants with high blood sugar levels (putting them at risk for diabetes) dropped into the healthy range, below 99 mg/dl — but these levels didn’t drop among participants who already had healthy levels at the beginning of the study. Cholesterol was reduced by 20 mg/dl in those with high cholesterol levels, and by about 5 mg/dl in all participants.

“Fasting seems to be the most beneficial for patients who have the great risk factors for disease, such as those who have high blood pressure or pre-diabetes or who are obese,” Longo said.

The researchers had invited participants in the study for one last set of tests three months later, at the end of the diet. The research team found that the beneficial effects — from weight loss, smaller waistlines and lower glucose, blood pressure and IGF-1 levels — were sustained.

The next step for researchers is a large, FDA phase III clinical trial to test the FMD on patients diagnosed with age-related diseases or at high risk for them. The researchers said further investigation will determine whether the benefits of the diet can continue for several months.

Fasting Mimicking Diets™ promote and maintain healthy levels of:

  • Insulin-like growth factor 1, a marker associated with increased mortality and DNA damage in human cells
  • C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation
  • Insulin-like growth factor 1, a marker associated with increased mortality and DNA damage in human cells
  • Stem cells and regenerative markers
  • Fasting glucose

L-nutra Prolon’s website is here

You need to get the recommendation of your doctor to get into the program and diet.

Science Translational Medicine -Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease

Fasting: More than a fad

Mice that fast periodically are healthier, metabolically speaking. To explore whether fasting can help people as well, Wei et al. studied 71 people who either consumed a fasting-mimicking diet for 5 days each month for 3 months or maintained their normal diet for 3 months and then switched to the fasting schedule. The fasting-like diet reduced body weight and body fat, lowered blood pressure, and decreased the hormone IGF-1, which has been implicated in aging and disease. A post hoc analysis replicated these results and also showed that fasting decreased BMI, glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, and C-reactive protein (a marker for inflammation). These effects were generally larger in the subjects who were at greater risk of disease at the start of the study. A larger study is needed to replicate these results, but they raise the possibility that fasting may be a practical road to a healthy metabolic system.

Abstract

Calorie restriction or changes in dietary composition can enhance healthy aging, but the inability of most subjects to adhere to chronic and extreme diets, as well as potentially adverse effects, limits their application. We randomized 100 generally healthy participants from the United States into two study arms and tested the effects of a fasting-mimicking diet (FMD)—low in calories, sugars, and protein but high in unsaturated fats—on markers/risk factors associated with aging and age-related diseases. We compared subjects who followed 3 months of an unrestricted diet to subjects who consumed the FMD for 5 consecutive days per month for 3 months. Three FMD cycles reduced body weight, trunk, and total body fat; lowered blood pressure; and decreased insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). No serious adverse effects were reported. After 3 months, control diet subjects were crossed over to the FMD program, resulting in a total of 71 subjects completing three FMD cycles. A post hoc analysis of subjects from both FMD arms showed that body mass index, blood pressure, fasting glucose, IGF-1, triglycerides, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and C-reactive protein were more beneficially affected in participants at risk for disease than in subjects who were not at risk. Thus, cycles of a 5-day FMD are safe, feasible, and effective in reducing markers/risk factors for aging and age-related diseases. Larger studies in patients with diagnosed diseases or selected on the basis of risk factors are warranted to confirm the effect of the FMD on disease prevention and treatment.

A landmark study published today in Journal Cell finds that providing mice with a temporary, specifically formulated Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD™) promotes the growth of new insulin-producing pancreatic cells and reduces symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The study also examined pancreatic cell cultures from human type 1 diabetes patients, finding similar results.

In type 1 and late-stage type 2 diabetes, the pancreas loses insulin-producing beta cells, increasing instability in blood sugar levels. The study showed a remarkable reversal of diabetes in mice placed on the FMD for four days each week. They regained healthy insulin production, reduced insulin resistance, and demonstrated more stable levels of blood glucose — even in the later stages of the disease.

The research revealed that genes normally active in the developing pancreases of embryonic/fetal mice are reactivated in diabetic adult mice when cycling Fasting Mimicking Diets with normal diets. This increases production of the protein neurogenin-3 (Ngn3) and, as a result, promotes the creation of new, healthy insulin-producing beta (β) cells.

SOURCES- USC, L-nutra, Science Translational Medicine, Cell

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