24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
Fax: (361)578-5500
Regular Hours: M-Fri 8am - 5pm
Every 3rd Thurs of the Month - Extended Hours Until 7 pm

Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Even a Little Light in Your Bedroom Could Harm HealthWant Respect at Work? Ditch the EmojisAs Clocks Spring Forward, Keep Sleep on TrackSleep Experts Call for End to Twice-a-Year Time ChangesHigh Anxiety: Poll Finds Americans Stressed by Inflation, WarYour Houseplants May Help You Breathe EasierAHA News: Ready to 'Spring Forward'? Ease Into the Time Change With These 9 Health TipsSome Americans Gained Better Habits During Pandemic, Poll FindsStressed Out by Ukraine News? Experts Offer Coping TipsBegin Now to Protect Your Heart as Clocks 'Spring Forward'AHA News: Break Up Binge-Watching by Taking a StandApps: They Help Manage Health Conditions, But Few Use Them, Poll FindsLifestyle Factors Key to Keeping Good Vision With AgeExercise Helps You Sleep, But Which Workout Is Best?Fitbit Recalls Over 1 Million Smartwatches Due to Burn HazardAHA News: Understanding 'Black Fatigue' – And How to Overcome ItPandemic Didn't Dent Americans' Optimism, Polls FindHuman Brain Doesn't Slow Down Until After 60AHA News: Does Kindness Equal Happiness and Health?Apps Can Help Keep Older Folks Healthy — But Most Don't Use ThemAHA News: Want a Healthier Valentine's Day? More Hugs and KissesStudy Hints That Cutting Daily Calories Could Extend Healthy Life SpanHow Healthy Is Your State? New Federal Data Ranks EachMidwinter Blues Could Be SAD: An Expert Guide to TreatmentsSpice Up Your Meal to Avoid More SaltSearching for Good Sleep? Here's What You're Doing Right - and WrongPandemic Worsening Americans' Already Terrible Sleep, Poll Finds​AHA News: Fine-Tune Your Health With These 5 Music IdeasMelatonin's Popularity Rises, Along With Hidden DangersAHA News: Healthy Living Could Offset Genetics and Add Years Free of Heart DiseaseCould Everyday Plastics Help Make You Fat?Take These Winter Workout Tips to HeartStay Safe When Winter Storms Cut Your PowerAHA News: Sound the Fiber Alarm! Most of Us Need More of It in Our DietExtra 10 Minutes of Daily Activity Could Save 110,000 U.S. Lives AnnuallyWinter Blues? It Could Be SADOrdering Groceries Online? Good Luck Finding Nutrition InfoBinge-Watching Could Raise Your Blood Clot RiskDon't Snow Shovel Your Way to a Heart AttackCelebrities' Social Media Promotes Junk Food, Often for FreeWill Reading Books Make You Any Happier?Zoom Meeting Anxiety Doesn't Strike EveryoneDid Adding Calorie Counts to Restaurant Menus Make Meals Healthier?AHA News: Here's to a Fresh Start With Whatever You Do in '22Do You Have 'COVID-somnia'? These Sleep Tips Might HelpMake 2022 Your Year for a Free Memory ScreeningNew Year's Resolution? Here's How to Make it Stick12 Steps to the Best Holiday Gift: HealthAmericans Turning to Trendy Diets to Shed Pandemic PoundsAHA News: Can the Cold Really Make You Sick?
Links
Related Topics

Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management

AHA News: Intermittent Fasting May Protect the Heart by Controlling Inflammation

HealthDay News
by American Heart Association News
Updated: Nov 18th 2021

new article illustration

THURSDAY, Nov. 18, 2021 (American Heart Association News) -- Intermittent fasting could increase a key protein that controls inflammation and protects the heart, according to a new study.

Intermittent fasting limits a person's consumption of food and beverages to certain times of the day or week to achieve weight loss. There's no single way to practice it, though one popular routine involves alternating 24-hour periods of fasting with eating normally.

Researchers analyzed data from a clinical trial that had participants fast twice a week, drinking only water, for the first four weeks and then once a week after that. The trial lasted 26 weeks, about six months. Those results, published in September in the European Heart Journal Open, showed fasting didn't reduce LDL, the so-called "bad cholesterol." But it did improve scores on insulin resistance, which can increase blood sugar and lead to Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that can increase a person's risk for heart attack and stroke.

The new analysis of that trial, presented at the American Heart Association's virtual Scientific Sessions conference held this month, delved into just how intermittent fasting seemed to improve these cardiovascular disease risk factors.

The study's lead researcher, Dr. Benjamin Horne, hypothesized the mechanism might be similar to the way a class of drugs called sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors work to lower Type 2 diabetes and heart failure risk. The drugs also raise levels of a protein called galectin-3, which controls inflammation.

"It's a good marker for people at higher risk of having a poor outcome," Horne said, because inflammation is a major component of heart failure and Type 2 diabetes. Horne is director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Heart Institute in Salt Lake City and a professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University in California.

The new analysis, using 67 of the original trial participants' levels of galectin-3 and other markers for heart failure, found that higher levels of the protein were associated with better scores on insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome evaluations. Other markers were unchanged. The findings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The increase in galectin-3 could be an adaptive response that prevents chronic disease by reducing inflammation, Horne said.

Jo Ann Carson, a past chair of the AHA's nutrition committee who was not involved in the new research, said "the study is pointing to an area for further investigation." But she noted the meaningful effect on galectin-3 didn't show up until the end of the 26-week study period. So, it seems "you have to stick with it to get the benefit from it."

The strength of the conclusions, Carson said, is limited because the original clinical trial wasn't designed to examine galectin-3 levels or their impact on heart health. She said the 24-hour, water-only fasting pattern in the study may not be practical for most people looking to shed pounds.

"If you want to use intermittent fasting to lose weight, you're better off doing something more moderate, like a 12- to 16-hour fast," she said. "You'd eat during the daytime but stop by 6 p.m., and not eat again until 8 or 10 a.m. the next day."

Several studies have looked into a variety of intermittent fasting plans and their potential benefits to lose weight and to improve on other heart disease risk factors. Horne and his colleagues, for example, found that intermittent fasting was associated with a longer lifespan and a lower risk of developing heart failure. That research was published in 2020 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. A separate 2017 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed an alternate-day fasting plan that allowed for limited meals on some days can be as effective as caloric restriction for losing weight.

American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have questions or comments about this story, please email editor@heart.org.

By Kat Long