A recent article shared from crossfit.com on the hallmarks of brain aging was particularly interesting as it referenced scientific research (as crossfit.com seems to do consistently) related to how the brain ages and how the effects of metabolism may influence the rate at which our brain ages. As I get older this is particularly interesting to me as I strive for immortality or at least strive to enjoy living as much as I can as I get older (lol, but seriously – this is interesting stuff).
The link in this article to another article on the metabolic switch theory really got me thinking about intermittent fasting again. We all know that exercise and healthy eating (mostly plants, low sugar) will help us live a more fruitful life as we age, and this article provided me some additional clarity around intermittent fasting. It also discusses the benefits of exercising for a long duration.
Here are some takeaways from both:
- Higher BMI is associated with reduced cerebral glucose utilization. In mice, insulin resistance is associated with increased brain inflammation, oxidative damage, poor calcium regulation, impaired learning and memory, and increased stress vulnerability.
- Both exercise and intermittent energy restriction have been linked to improvements in mental and motor performance and robustness against neurodegenerative disease.
- Challenges such as extended exercise or intermittent fasting, which lead to clearance of liver glycogen stores and a temporary reliance on circulating fats as a primary fuel source — repair and support resistance to the factors leading to brain aging and neurodegenerative disease.
- Fasting dietary patterns “flip a metabolic switch” and transition the metabolism toward fat mobilization and oxidation. As we begin to fast, our liver converts its glycogen stores into glucose, which it then releases into the blood to maintain elevated blood glucose levels. Once these stores run out — which can take between 12 and 36 hours, depending on an individual’s diet, their level of insulin sensitivity, and the amount of activity they perform while fasting — the metabolism shifts toward using fat as a primary fuel source.
My challenge is to figure out if my switch flips at 12 hours, or as I fear, 36 hours. I do recall when I wrestled in HS (I wasn’t very good but it is a great sport) that I routinely cut weight by fasting. I lived. Guess I can give this a go again and hopefully my metabolic switch is closer to 12 than 36 hours.