Fasting can reduce cholesterol levels in prediabetic patients
A new research on periodic fasting has identified a biological process in the body that converts bad cholesterol in fat cells to energy, thus combating diabetes risk factors.
Researchers at the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, noticed that after 10 to 12 hours of time fasting, the body starts scavenging for other sources of energy throughout the body to sustain itself. The body pulls LDL (bad) cholesterol from the fat cells and uses it as energy.
“Fasting has the potential to become an important diabetes intervention,” Benjamin Horne, PhD, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute and lead researcher on the study, said.
“Though we’ve studied fasting and it’s health benefits for years, we didn’t know why fasting could provide the health benefits we observed related to the risk of diabetes,” he said.
Prediabetes means the amount of glucose, also called sugar, in the blood is higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes.
Prior research done by Dr. Horne and his team in 2011 focused on healthy people during one day of fasting and showed that routine, water-only fasting was associated with lower glucose levels and weight loss.
“When we studied the effects of fasting in apparently healthy people, cholesterol levels increased during the one-time 24-hour fast,” Dr. Horne said.
“The changes that were most interesting or unexpected were all related to metabolic health and diabetes risk. Together with our prior studies that showed decades of routine fasting was associated with a lower risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease, this led us to think that fasting is most impactful for reducing the risk of diabetes and related metabolic problems,” he added.
The study will be presented at the 2014 American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.