intermittent fasting and Cognitive Functions

in june 2013, Liaoliao Li, Zhi Wang, Zhiyi Zuo published a research paper on the effects of intermittent fasting on mice.

they found that chronic Intermittent Fasting improves cognitive functions and brain structures in mice

according to them

“Obesity is a major health issue. Obesity started from teenagers has become a major health concern in recent years. Intermittent fasting increases the life span. However, it is not known whether obesity and intermittent fasting affect brain functions and structures before brain aging. Here, we subjected 7-week old CD-1 wild type male mice to intermittent (alternate-day) fasting or high fat diet (45% caloric supplied by fat) for 11 months. Mice on intermittent fasting had better learning and memory assessed by the Barnes maze and fear conditioning, thicker CA1 pyramidal cell layer, higher expression of drebrin, a dendritic protein, and lower oxidative stress than mice that had free access to regular diet (control mice). Mice fed with high fat diet was obese and with hyperlipidemia. They also had poorer exercise tolerance. However, these obese mice did not present significant learning and memory impairment or changes in brain structures or oxidative stress compared with control mice. These results suggest that intermittent fasting improves brain functions and structures and that high fat diet feeding started early in life does not cause significant changes in brain functions and structures in obese middle-aged animals.”

they measured three sets of mice and found that

Total 15, 19 and 15 mice were assigned to the control, intermittent fasting and high fat-diet feeding groups. Each cage hosted 3 to 4 mice during the 11-month feeding period. Fifteen mice from each group survived till the end of the feeding period. There was no significant difference in the mortality rates among the three groups. The 4 mice that died in the intermittent fasting group were the lightest among their cage-mates from the beginning of the feeding protocol till their death.

Mice in all three groups increased their weights over time. Intermittent fasting had a significant effect on body weights [F(1, 25) = 4.644, P = 0.041]. Mice on intermittent fasting were lighter than control mice since they had been on corresponding feeding protocols for 37 weeks. Mice on high fat diet were heavier than control mice since they were on corresponding feeding protocol for 13 weeks. At the end of 11-month feeding protocol, mice on high fat diet were ∼45% heavier than the control mice. High fat diet had a very significant effect on the body weights [F(1, 25)  = 111.119, P<0.001] (Fig. 1). Intermittent fasting significantly decreased blood cholesterol, triglycerides, high density lipoproteins (HDL) and low density lipoproteins (LDL) but did not affect the ratio of LDL/HDL and cholesterol/HDL in the blood. Intermittent fasting also did not affect the fasting blood levels of albumin, creatinine and glucose. High fat diet feeding significantly increased LDL and the ratio of LDL/HDL and cholesterol/HDL. Mice on high fat diet also had decreased fasting blood glucose levels. Blood cholesterol in mice fed with high fat diet trended to be higher than that in the control mice”

 

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