Fasting May Help Fight NAFLD, Researchers Say



It’s a repeating meme in the dieting world that “fasting will slow the metabolism.” When we’re looking to slim down, we tend to avoid undereating as much as overeating.

But new research suggests going without food for short periods of time may actually be good for the metabolism – and could have a positive effect on your fatty liver condition.

Helmholtz Zentrum München scientists, in conjunction with the Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung (German Center for Diabetes Research — DZD) and the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (German Cancer Research Center — DKFZ) , say that in the absence of food, a specific protein was produced in mouse study subjects that changed metabolism in the liver for the better.

The study, published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, revealed that during periods of fasting, a greater amount of GADD45β (Growth Arrest and DNA Damage-inducible) protein was produced in the bodies of mice. Already associated with the repair of damage to genetic information and the cell cycle, the protein was found during this latest study to also control the absorption of fatty acids by the liver.

Mice who lacked the gene to correctly produce this protein were more likely to develop fatty liver disease (NAFLD), researchers noted. This revelation supported the supposition that if more of the protein is present, the body will be less likely to develop NAFLD, and with fasting connected to more production of the protein, researchers are now wondering whether “going without” (under medical supervision) could be a key to solving NAFLD in humans.

These initial results are exciting, but more research is needed to confirm the mechanism and results, as well as whether or not a similar effect can be predicted in humans rather than mice exclusively.

If you’re interested in trying fasting as part of your health regimen, consult your physician and fast only per his/her advice and guidelines. In the meantime, continue with a sensible health and exercise regimen.

To view the study abstract, click here.


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