CALIFORNIA – Researchers at the University of California – Irvine Campus (UCI), have discovered that fasting benefits the circadian clocks in the liver and skeletal muscle which lead to protection against aging, Science Daily reported.
“We discovered fasting influences the circadian clock and fasting-driven cellular responses, which together work to achieve fasting-specific temporal gene regulation,” lead author, Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Donald Bren Professor of Biological Chemistry at UCI’s School of Medicine.
“Skeletal muscle, for example, appears to be twice as responsive to fasting as the liver.”
The study, published recently in ‘Cell Reports’, is important because while nutrition is known to influence clocks in peripheral tissues, it was unclear how fasting influences clock function and ultimately affects the body.
The circadian clock operates within the body and its organs as intrinsic time-keeping machinery to preserve harmony or homeostasis in response to the changing environment.
How Does it Affect?
The research was conducted using mice which were subjected to 24-hour fasting periods. While fasting, the researchers noted that the mice exhibited a reduction in oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and energy expenditure.
The team found that all of these biological processes were completely abolished by refeeding the mice, which parallels results observed in humans.
Sassone-Corsi concluded that “the reorganization of gene regulation by fasting could prime the genome to a more permissive state to anticipate upcoming food intake and thereby drive a new rhythmic cycle of gene expression.”
In other words, he says: “fasting is able to essentially reprogram a variety of cellular responses. Therefore, optimal fasting in a timed manner would be strategic to positively affect cellular functions and ultimately benefiting health and protecting against aging-associated diseases.”
Fasting in Islam is the practice of abstaining from food, drinking, sex from dawn to sunset. As a great religious emphasize on this ritual, Ramadan fasting for 29 or 30 days is the 4th of the 5 Pillars of Islam.
Beside Ramadan, Muslims also fast during other occasions like the Sunnah fasting on special days like Ashura and the weekly voluntary fasting of Mondays and Thursdays, as well as fasting for an oath to God.