Hydrogen Water & Different Types of Intermittent Fasting
The human body has evolved to be able to go without food for hours or even days. However, lifestyle changes in more recent decades have changed overall human eating habits. With 24/7 access to entertainment and the internet, it has become easier than ever to stay up later, snack more, and live a more sedentary lifestyle, all of which can contribute to an increased risk for various health issues.
While obesity and other health issues have been increasing over the years, many people are focusing on how to live a healthier life, and some people are choosing to participate in different types of intermittent fasting. Fasting has been practiced for thousands of years for both health and religious reasons. But what exactly is intermittent fasting, and does it provide the benefits that everyone thinks it does?
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting involves an eating plan that alternates between eating and fasting on a regular schedule. When you are not eating, intermittent fasting regimens allow you to consume water and other zero-calorie beverages. During your eating periods, you do not want to eat an excessive amount of food or high-calorie junk food. Instead, just eat normally and choose healthy foods. (1)
One of the main purposes of intermittent fasting is to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. Some claim that it can also help prevent or reverse the effects and development of different diseases and health conditions. (1)
Different Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but all of them are based on the general idea of picking a regular time to eat and to fast. Some of the most common intermittent fasting schedules include: (1, 2)
- Alternate-day fasting: Eat a normal diet one day, then either completely fast or have one meal of 500 calories or less the next day.
- 5:2 fasting: Eat regularly for five days of the week, and limit yourself to one 500- or 600-calorie meal the other two days.
- Daily time-restricted fasting: Eat within a specified time frame each day and fast for the rest of the day. For example, eat only within an 8-hour time frame during the day and fast for the other 16 hours.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Generally speaking, it takes the body about two weeks to adjust to an intermittent fasting schedule, but those who can make it through this beginning period often notice that they feel better than they did before they started fasting. (1) While there are thousands of personal testimonies about the benefits of intermittent fasting, a handful of studies also support some of the benefits that many people experience from intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Can Help With Weight Loss
One of the main reasons people choose to participate in intermittent fasting is to lose weight. When your body goes several hours without food, it will use up all of its sugar stores for energy. To help keep your energy up, your body will start using fat instead of sugar. This process is called metabolic switching, and it helps your body burn through calories and stored fat. (1) This is common knowledge among doctors and scientists simply because we know how the body works, but several studies support the claim that intermittent fasting can help with weight loss.
One study found that alternate-day fasting for three to 12 weeks resulted in a 3%-7% reduction in body weight and a 3%-5.5% reduction in body fat in normal weight, overweight, and obese humans. (3) Another study found that between 27 different trials, participants lost 0.8%-13% of their baseline weight. (4)
A review of studies on different types of intermittent fasting found that this eating regimen efficiently reduced weight, regardless of a person’s body mass index. The review also found that intermittent fasting was great for short-term weight loss and that subjects reported lower anxiety and no hyperphagia (excess hunger). Subjects also seemed to be more careful about what they ate. (5)
Another review of various studies found that a 22-day trial of alternate-day fasting led to an average 2.5% weight loss. In addition, fasting regimens like the 5:2 diet reported weight loss ranging from 3.2% to 8.0%. This suggests that most intermittent fasting regimens will result in some weight loss. (6)
Intermittent Fasting Can Improve Brain and Heart Health
Studies on rodents and monkeys show that intermittent fasting can help extend your lifespan by increasing your body’s resistance to age-related diseases, and many scientists are hopeful that humans can experience this same benefit. With the data we have, we know that intermittent fasting enhances both brain and cardiovascular function, thus improving several risk factors for stroke and heart disease. How? By increasing cellular stress resistance and reducing oxidative stress. (7)
Intermittent Fasting Can Help the Aging Brain
One study looked at how intermittent fasting can affect the nervous system, specifically by affecting metabolic and cell-signaling pathways that regulate lifespan. What the study found was that intermittent fasting affects the energy and oxygen radical metabolism as well as cellular stress response systems. The specific effects that intermittent fasting had helped protect neurons against both environmental and genetic factors that otherwise would contribute to aging. (8)
In addition, intermittent fasting benefits different neuron pathways and mechanisms like insulin-like signaling, sirtuins (a group of enzymes that regulates lifespan, oxidative stress, and DNA damage), and FoxO transcription factors (proteins involved in cell death, reactive oxygen species response, regulation of cell cycle, and more). (8, 9, 10), These pathways help encourage the production of antioxidants, neurotrophic factors, and protein chaperones, all of which help cells cope with stress and resist disease. As a result, you may be able to help your body fight against the signs of aging, particularly when it comes to the mind. (8)
Other Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Several other studies suggest a variety of additional benefits from intermittent fasting, including:
- Longer life (1)
- Improved blood pressure and resting heart rate (1)
- Prevention of diabetes (in animal studies) (1)
- Reduced tissue damage after surgery (in animal studies) (1)
- Reduced inflammation (2)
- Improved conditions of inflammation-induced conditions, such as arthritis and stroke (2)
- Improved outcome of age-related disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer (11)
- Reduced tension, fatigue, and anger with increased self-confidence and positive mood (6)
- Improved circadian rhythms to help reprogram energy metabolism and regulate body weight (6)
Precautions With Intermittent Fasting
Although intermittent fasting can offer a host of health benefits, there are a few precautions and things to consider before you set up your fasting regimen.
First, as of February 2020, there are a limited number of studies on intermittent fasting involving humans. These human studies are often small and of a short time frame. (3) With limited studies like these, it is difficult to know the exact and long-term benefits of intermittent fasting.
There are, however, many more studies on the effects of intermittent fasting performed on animals. Because we have data from these studies, many scientists and doctors often hypothesize that humans can experience the same, or at least similar, benefits. (6) While this may generally be true, it may not be the case for everyone. It is important to use discretion when looking at results from studies performed on animals.
Secondly, a review of studies found that intermittent fasting was great for short-term weight loss, but results typically plateaued after about six months. This means that intermittent fasting can help you get started with weight loss or help you get to the weight you want; however, you will likely need to maintain a low-calorie diet and regular exercise to keep the weight off. (5)
If you choose to participate in different types of intermittent fasting, it is important to note that you may experience some mild side effects. Because you are going without food, you will likely experience considerable hunger that may or may not subside. Some studies found that participants also experienced low energy, a feeling of being cold, and irritability. (6)
- Are under the age of 18
- Have a history of eating disorders
- Have blood sugar problems or diabetes
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Need to eat regular meals for medication
- Are elderly
If you would like to start an intermittent fasting schedule, be sure to talk with your doctor first.
Hydrogen Water Can Help With Different Types of Intermittent Fasting
If you want to give intermittent fasting a try, why not give your body a little extra help to reach your weight and health goals? Intermittent fasting allows you to drink water and other zero-calorie beverages during your fasting periods. Instead of drinking regular water, why not drink hydrogen water?
Hydrogen water is water that is infused with molecular hydrogen, one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants. By adding hydrogen gas to your water, Echo™ water machines make it easy for you to experience its many health benefits. Some of molecular hydrogen’s most common benefits include:
- Reducing oxidative stress
- Improving gut health
- Improving brain function and memory
- Boosting athletic performance
- Supporting healthy weight loss
- Reducing mood and behavioral disorders
- Reducing the effects of hearing loss
- Easing allergic symptoms
- Boosting the immune system
- Reducing signs of aging
With a variety of Echo™ machine options, you can choose to have your hydrogen water in your home, available on the go, or both! By adding hydrogen-enriched water to your intermittent fasting regimen, you can increase your chances of experiencing the improved health you want.