Can fasting help protect your heart by controlling inflammation? Learn about the connection between intermittent fasting and heart health.
According to a recent study, intermittent fasting may increase a key protein that manages inflammation and protects the heart. Intermittent fasting is a type of fasting that limits your food and beverage consumption to certain times of the day or week. While there are various ways to implement it, one of the most popular versions recommends that you alternate between 24-hour periods of fasting with normal eating schedules.
Appearing in the September 2021 issue of the European Heart Journal Open, the study shows that intermittent fasting may improve scores on insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. The researchers analyzed the data from a clinical trial in which participants fasted twice a week (drinking only water) for the first four weeks and then once a week afterward.
According to Dr. Benjamin Horne, the study’s lead researchers, the mechanism behind intermittent fasting may be similar to the way SGLT-2 inhibitors work to lower type 2 diabetes and heart failure risk. Moreover, the inhibitors also raise galectin-3 levels, which is a protein that controls inflammation. Since inflammation is a major factor in heart failure and type 2 diabetes, “it’s a good marker for people at higher risk of having a poor outcome,” said Horne.
The analysis uses 67 of the original trial participants’ levels of galectin-3 and other heart failure markers. According to the results, higher levels of this protein were associated with better scores on metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.
Intermittent Fasting and Your Heart
“The study is pointing to an area for further investigation,” says Jo Ann Carson, a past chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee who was not part of the new research. However, she notes that the meaningful effect on galectin-3 didn’t happen until the end of the study period. In other words, “you have to stick with [intermittent fasting] to get the benefit from it.”
Furthermore, since the original clinical trial wasn’t meant to analyze the galectin-3 levels and their impact on heart health, the strength of the conclusions may be limited according to Carson. “If you want to use intermittent fasting to lose weight, you’re better off doing something more moderate, like a 12- to 16-hour fast,” Carson explains. “You’d eat during the daytime but stop by 6 p.m., and not eat again until 8 or 10 a.m. the next day.”
While the studies may be promising, more research is necessary to solidify the study’s conclusions. However, other studies suggest that intermittent fasting may be related to longer lifespans and a lower risk of heart failure.
Regardless of whether you try intermittent fasting or another method, losing weight will definitely boost your heart health. In addition to losing weight, you can help your system by taking supplements like L-arginine Plus.
Its ingredients effectively promote circulation, blood pressure health, cholesterol health, and more. If you’re ready to support your heart health, then make it a goal to maintain a healthy weight range and take L-arginine Plus.