Fasting Linked to Longevity
Everybody craves a long life. It is a universal desire. Nutritionists, dieticians, public health professionals and biomedical experts all have tips which they share with us about how to live longer. One such tip is fasting, intermittently. Scientists have conducted a plethora of studies both in animal models and human beings that have demonstrated that a strict diet is associated with a relatively longer life. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the Federal Government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) claims that what you eat and how often you eat it can affect not only the quality of your life but the length of it. The results of the Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE) research study revealed that overweight participants who reduced their caloric consumption by 20% to 30% through a supervised type of fasting and calorie restriction were able to lower their fasting insulin levels and core body temperature. These changes are positively associated with longevity. The genes that are responsible for aging are concentrated in the fasting-induced upregulated genes, according to a separate 2013 study by Uno et. al. In this study, geneticists analyzed the promoter regions of selected genes as a way of identifying transcription factors responsible for fasting-induced transcriptional changes and thus intermittent-fasting induced longevity. The findings indicated that a significant portion of these genes began to be upregulated within a period of 6 to 9 hours of fasting. In a nutshell, the findings confirmed that the 48 hour fasting period had a greater capacity to extend life span than a 24 hour fasting.
In the Old Testament God commanded the nation of Israel to observe several fasting periods. In the New Testament fasting is neither forbidden nor commanded. Although they were not commanded to do so, most early Christians practiced prayer and fasting often. Jesus Himself confirmed that after His departure His disciples would find fasting a necessity. Fasting has been found to have both spiritual and medical benefits. God had not only our spiritual well-being in mind when he gave us instructions on how to conduct ourselves during our brief pilgrimage on earth. His counsel to us is for our own well-being and it stands firm forever.