“Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.”
—Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800 B.C.
Advances in medical sciences means that fewer people die young. As the population grows older, there are newer health problems facing us: age-related neurodegenerative disorders. More and more older people are now finding themselves in the danger zone of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. It is projected that by 2050, the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s will triple—from five million today to 15 million.
In this TEDx talk given at the John Hopkins University, neuroscientist Dr Mark Mattson establishes a clear link between our energy intake and cognitive abilities of the brain.
In his laboratories, Dr Mattson found that reducing the energy intake in mice could increase their lifespan by 30-40%. So he and his team started studying the effects of energy restrictions on the brain in the context of age-related neurodegenerative diseases. What they found is that when they reduced the energy intake, they could slow down the factors that lead to the degeneration of neurons in the brain.
Dr Mattson shares a few anecdotal insights on the benefits of fasting, a practice that goes back thousands of years before explaining the benefits of intermittent fasting. “Fasting is a challenge to your brain and your brain responds to fasting by activating adaptive stress response pathways that help [it] cope with stress and resist disease,” says Dr Mattson.
Whether you want lose weight, lengthen your lifespan, reduce the risk of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease or simply have greater energy, fasting is a proven way to do it, provided you do it correctly. Watch this talk to find out more.
About Mark Mattson
Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University. Dr Mattson is one of the foremost researchers in the area of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.