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Understanding The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Do you feel:

  • Hungry in an hour or two after eating?
  • Unexplained weight gain?
  • Hormonal imbalances?
  • An overall sense of bloating?
  • A sense of fullness during and after meals?
If you are experiencing any of these situations, then try considering intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Humans have practiced this method of eating for centuries since the time of the hunter-gatherer societies. Studies have been shown that people used it historically for medicinal purposes by ancient Rome, Greek, and Chinese civilizations. Fasting has even been used for spiritual reasons in certain religions, including Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Fasting involves abstaining from calorie-containing food and beverage for at least twelve consecutive hours. This dietary party can be the result of several hormonal and metabolic changes in the body. Research shows that these changes may help promote specific health benefits, including weight loss, neuroprotective effects, decreased inflammation and can improve blood glucose and insulin levels.


Other methods involve abstaining from food for several days or even weeks, and intermittent fasting is one of the most common fasting methods that typically involves a shorter fasting period between 16 to 24 hours at regular intervals. Several types of intermittent fasting are determined by the duration of the "feeding window," which is the timeframe of when the food is consumed, and the "fasting window," which is the timeframe for the food to be avoided. Here are the other methods of fasting, which includes:
  • Time-restricted feeding (TRF): This type of fasting has a feeding window period from 4 to 12 hours every day, following by a fasting window for the remainder of the day when only water is permitted. The most common variation of time-restricted feeding is 16/8, which involves 16 consecutive hours of fasting per day.
  • Early time-restricted feeding (eTRF): This is a type of variation of time-restricted feeding that involves a 6-hour feeding window early in the day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., while the remainder of the day makes up for the fasting period.
  • Alternate day fasting (ADF): This type of fasting involves alternating one day of unrestricted eating with one day of complete fasting.
  • Period fasting (cycling fasting): This type involves fasting for one or two days per week with 5 or 6 days of eating as desired. The variations of periodic fasting include 5:2 and 6:1 fasting.
  • Modified fasting: This type of fasting has some methods of intermittent fasting like alternate day fasting. This fasting can be modified to include very-low-calorie consumption during the fasting window period.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

Intermittent fasting is the result of changes in hormonal patterns and energy metabolism in the body. After consuming food, the contents are broken down into nutrients and are absorbed in the digestive tract. The carbohydrates are broken down, specifically, into glucose and absorb into the bloodstream, distributing it into the body's tissue as the primary source of energy. The hormone insulin helps regulate the blood glucose levels by signaling the cells to uptake the glucose from the blood, where it provides fuel for the body to function.

With intermittent fasting, a person is done with a meal; the supply of glucose is depleted from the body. For the energy to meet its needs, the body will break down the glycogen, the storage form of glucose found in the liver and skeletal muscles. The body uses gluconeogenesis, which is a process where the liver produces glucose from non-carbohydrate sources.


Then after approximately 18 hours of intermittent fasting, the levels of insulin are low, and the process called lipolysis begins. During this process, the body starts to break down fat into free fatty acids. When there is an insufficient amount of glucose available to meet the body's energy demand, the body itself will transition to using those fatty acids and fatty derived ketones for energy. This metabolic state is known as ketosis. Since liver cells are responsible for ketogenesis, which is the production of ketone bodies, the fatty acids start to break down in the mitochondria of cells by a process called beta-oxidation and start converting to ketones acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate.

The ketones are then used by muscle cells and neurons to generate ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the primary carrier of energy in cells. Research has stated that the availability and use of the fatty acids and ketone bodies for energy replace the use of glucose in other vital body tissues, including the heart, liver, pancreas, and brain.

Four metabolic states are induced by fasting are referred to as the fast-fed cycle, and they are:
  • The fed state
  • The post-absorptive state
  • The fasting state
  • The starvation state
The physiological effect of intermittent fasting can also be achieved by following a ketogenic diet, very high fat and low carbohydrate diet. This diet's purpose is to shift the body's metabolic state into ketosis.

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting


Tons of research has demonstrated how intermittent fasting has a wide variety of health benefits, including:
  • Weight loss
  • Type 2 diabetes prevention and management
  • Improved cardiometabolic risk factors
  • Cellular cleansing
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Neuroprotection
Studies have been shown that several proposed mechanisms are responsible for these health effects of intermittent fasting and have proven to be beneficial to a person's lifestyle.


Intermittent fasting has been practiced for centuries and has gain popularity in recent years. It involves abstaining from consuming foods for at least 12 consecutive hours by turning the fat cells into energy for the body to function. The health benefits that intermittent fasting provides is beneficial for an individual who is trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some products help provide support to the gastrointestinal system as well as making sure that sugar metabolism is at a healthy level for the body.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues as well as functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or chronic disorders of the musculoskeletal system. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .


Dhillon, Kiranjit K. “Biochemistry, Ketogenesis.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 21 Apr. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493179/#article-36345.

Hue, Louis, and Heinrich Taegtmeyer. “The Randle Cycle Revisited: a New Head for an Old Hat.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism, American Physiological Society, Sept. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2739696/.

Stockman, Mary-Catherine, et al. “Intermittent Fasting: Is the Wait Worth the Weight?” Current Obesity Reports, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5959807/.

Unknown, Unknown. “Understand Intermittent Fasting.” Fullscript, 8 July, 2019, fullscript.com/blog/intermittent-fasting.

Zubrzycki, A, et al. “The Role of Low-Calorie Diets and Intermittent Fasting in the Treatment of Obesity and Type-2 Diabetes.” Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology: an Official Journal of the Polish Physiological Society, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30683819.

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The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to contact us. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN* email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com phone: 915-850-0900 Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*