Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern which is related to fasting periods and eating. Basically, it is not a diet but it can be described as an eating pattern. In humans, fasting is achieved by taking no or little amount of food. Intermittent fasting is a method in which people can do fasting from 16 hours to 24 hours that is done for twice a week. It is very popular in the health and fitness community. People are using this method to improve their health and also to lose weight. Intermittent fasting has many beneficial effects on the body and brain. So, it is one of the most popular health and fitness methods. During fasting periods, you can eat either little food or nothing at all. Therefore, it has many benefits on human health. Now people are using this technique to get a healthy lifestyle. There are many ways of doing intermittent fasting and all you get benefits from it.
Here are some common methods of doing intermittent fasting:
- Eat stop eat: This method involves fasting for 24 hours and you do not eat anything in fasting period. You can do it once or twice a week.
- The 5:2 method: In this method of intermittent fasting, you can get only 500-600 calories on two nonconsecutive days of the week. On the other 5 days, you can eat normally.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like waxy substance that is formed by the liver. It helps the body to make different hormones, vitamin D and membrane of cells. Cholesterol also gets from the food that’s why its level increases in the body which leads to risk of many diseases related to the heart. When cholesterol level increases, it starts to deposit on the walls of the arteries. It makes it difficult for blood to pass through the arteries. Deposition of cholesterol in the arteries can also lead to formation of clots in blood arteries that cause heart attack or stroke. The main cause of high cholesterol is an unhealthy lifestyle. Too much consumption of oily foods can cause high levels of cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol passes through the body by lipoprotein. There are two types of lipoprotein; HDL and LDL. HDL (high density lipoprotein) is also known as “Good cholesterol”, has beneficial effects on the body and reduces the risk of heart diseases. HDL absorbs the cholesterol from the body and takes back to the liver. Then the liver removes it from the body and helps to lower the risk of coronary heart diseases. Another is LDL (low density lipoprotein), also known as “Bad cholesterol”. Most of the body cholesterol consists of LDL but a high level of LDL causes heart diseases, coronary arteries disease, peripheral arteries disease, heart attack or strokes.
Health benefits of Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has many benefits on health. It can lower the cholesterol and also weight of the body. On intermittent fasting days, high caloric foods are restricted. High caloric food makes more cholesterol in the body that has bad effects. So, high caloric foods are not consumed during intermittent fasting. Research shows that intermittent fasting can lower the LDL level in the body which helps to prevent heart diseases such as heart attack and atherosclerosis. Fasting helps to break the fats of the body. It also reduces the deposition of cholesterol from the arteries that can normalize the blood flow through the arteries. Therefore, fasting can help to lower the coronary heart disease and also stroke.
Methods of Intermittent fasting to lower cholesterol level
There are two methods of intermittent fasting to lower cholesterol level. The methods are normocaloric and hypocaloric.
- Normocaloric intermittent fasting: Normocaloric is a method in which weight remains constant. It is due to the energy of consumed food is equal to the energy we spend. It is one of the major types of intermittent fasting which is helpful in lowering the cholesterol level.
- Hypocaloric intermittent fasting: It is the low caloric diet and helps to reduce the level of cholesterol in the body.
Obesity and dyslipidemia
There is a link between obesity and dyslipidemia. Dyslipidemia is the abnormal level of lipids in the body. Mostly, it is related to hyperlipidemia. Hyperlipidemia is due to an unhealthy lifestyle that can lead to increase in cholesterol level. So, it can be decreased by intermittent fasting. It helps to reduce the cholesterol level, VDLD and LDL level from the body. So, Intermittent fasting can be better than taking drugs to lower the level of cholesterol. Basically, Intermittent fasting is the main method to control dyslipidemia. When patient is not taking food for some time, it can remove lipids from the body and reduces the level of cholesterol.
Weight loss analysis
In obese people, cholesterol level increases due to large deposition of fats in the body. As body fat and obesity have a link, so it can be reduced by intermittent fasting. In the fasting state, body do not get cholesterol from the food, it lowers the level of cholesterol in the body. When cholesterol level decreases, it helps in weight loss. Also, body do not get a larger amount of energy which can cause weight loss. Intermittent fasting helps to reduce the body weight that can also be lower by a low caloric diet. Cholesterol level also decreases by reduction in body weight. Intermittent fasting is a strategy for promoting metabolic health. It is observed that any intermittent fasting method can decrease the weight. Weight loss also helps to decrease the cholesterol level within the body.
Impact of intermittent fasting on Cholesterol level
If we compare the pre and post intermittent fasting period then it shows that HDL level increases while LDL level decreases. Moreover, total cholesterol level and triglyceride level also decreases by intermittent fasting. The increase in Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-alpha) is also associated with high cholesterol. TNF-alpha is an inflammatory cytokine which is produced during acute inflammation. By intermittent fasting, TNF-alpha level decreases which help to improve the lipid profile and lowering the cholesterol level. Intermittent fasting also helps to increase the hepatic production of apolipoprotein A which is the precursor of HDL. Apo A helps to increase the level of HDL. Intermittent fasting helps to reduce the production of apolipoprotein B which can be helpful to decrease the LDL level because LDL is formed by Apo B. When Apo B production is decreased, it can also decrease the LDL level. It shows that apolipoprotein A increases while apolipoprotein B decreases by intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting also improves the quality of lipoprotein. In the fasting state, oxidation of fatty acid increases in the liver. Oxidation can help accumulation of triglycerides that decreases the production of VDLD. When VDLD production decreases, the level of VDLD and triglycerides in the bloodstream also decrease. Since VDLD are produced by apo B, reduction in apo B levels can help to reduce the level of LDL and sdLDL in blood.
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) expression also decreases due to intermittent fasting. It is associated with fat mass loss. CEPT is a protein that has the function to transfer the HDL into VDLD. Therefore, lowering the level of CETP can decrease the conversion of HDL into VDLD. So, intermittent fasting can help to increase the level of HDL. Cholesterol is produced by the action of enzymes. SREBP-2 expression is reduced by intermittent fasting which can inhibit the activity of many enzymes that produce cholesterol. So, Cholesterol level decreases by inhibition of activity of enzymes that are due to the intermittent fasting.
Role of Intermittent fasting on CVD
Intermittent fasting is helpful to reduce cardiovascular diseases. LDL level decreases in the bloodstream that helps to improve the flow of blood in the arteries. So, intermittent fasting prevents chronic heart disease such as heart attack and atherosclerosis. It can also prevent arteries from clot formation in it. During intermittent fasting, LDL is destroyed by the liver and remove from the body which is beneficial to prevent clot formation in arteries. Intermittent fasting may help to improve cholesterol level in humans but it is important to consider the duration, weight loss and gender. However, intermittent fasting has an effective result in human health.
To conclude, intermittent fasting is a popular method in the health and fitness community. It is an eating pattern that has many benefits on human health. Intermittent fasting can help to reduce the weight loss and also prevent the body from cardiovascular diseases. Cholesterol level is also reduced by intermittent fasting. It can help to reduce LDL level and increase HDL level in the bloodstream. Reduction of LDL in blood can be helpful. When LDL level decreases in the body, it breaks fat deposition from the arteries that can reduce the risk of heart diseases. Changes in cholesterol level occur with or without the weight loss in intermittent fasting. Mostly, cholesterol level changes with the weight loss. Intermittent fasting is the dietary method which is used to improve the cholesterol level in dyslipidemic, healthy and obese people. Mostly, positive effect is observed on dyslipidemic patients. People are using this method to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Intermittent fasting makes you healthy and even helps you to live longer.