Intermittent fasting is best known for its weight management benefits. Fasting for 16 hours has helped many people regain their fitness but that is not it. Researchers from Imperial College London have found out that intermittent fasting may be helpful in repairing nerve damage caused due to either reason.
According to research published in the journal ‘Nature’, the team conducted research on mice to understand the effect of intermittent fasting on nerve cells. Fasting acts as a catalyst to increase the production of a metabolite named 3-Indolepropionic acid (IPA) that regenerates nerve fibers to initiate electro-chemical signals and aid nerve damage.
Can intermittent fasting heal nerve damage?
Whenever there is nerve damage, it is not possible to treat with medications and/or alternative therapies especially if it is chronic. Surgical reconstruction is the only possible solution that too is not effective in all the cases. In order to find out a lifestyle-related recovery option, researchers conducted this study to link intermittent fasting with nerve damage repair. This fasting method has previously been linked to new neuron growth and wound repair which made scientists hopeful for its possible positive impact on healing nerve damage.
The research team took mice with sciatic nerve damage and then divided them into two groups. The first group mice were put on intermittent fasting for 30 days while the other group had no dietary restrictions. These mice were then operated and their recovery was tracked down by the researchers. It was found that nerve damaged recovery was nearly 50% faster in fasting mice than those with no restrictions at all. Regrowth of axons or nerve fibers was relatively greater in the first mice group which is responsible for faster recovery.
How does this happen?
While studying, researchers found out that the levels of IPA metabolites were higher in mice following intermittent fasting as compared to those with no diet restriction. This mechanism was found to be responsible for nerve damage repair. The IPA produced in the process was found to be capable of healing damaged nerves. However, it is not clear as to how long the patient should follow intermittent fasting. The guidelines on this are yet to be studied to help people understand the procedure.
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