If You Do One Thing To Boost Your Metabolism, This Should Be It
We hear all the time that one of our top health priorities should be optimizing metabolism through specific types of exercise and other strategies like intermittent fasting. But what does that really mean? Many people assume that it's all about weight loss, but while our metabolic health does affect our ability to maintain a healthy weight, it's about way more than that.
In fact, the official definition of metabolism is "the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life." Pretty broad, right? This means that burning fuel for energy, utilizing the nutrients we eat to support important bodily functions, and even creating DNA technically fall under the umbrella of "metabolism."
There are a lot of ways to boost our metabolism in the traditional sense—including HIIT workouts, consuming specific metabolism-boosting foods, and drinking a ton of water—but one of the most exciting, by far, is intermittent fasting. Study after study has shown that IF is an effective way to lose weight and boost metabolism, and now new research published in the latest issue of Scientific Reports shows that IF is a good way to boost metabolism in the broad sense of the word, too.
In this study, a group of scientists from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and Kyoto University identified a series of metabolic markers that typically decrease with age. Then they discovered that fasting increases these markers, which has the potential to protect our health in a bunch of ways. The specifics of this study get pretty complex, but essentially, when we deprive ourselves of food for a certain period of time, metabolites like butyrates—which have anti-inflammatory properties—are released as well as chemicals like purine and pyrimidine, which are important for gene expression and protein synthesis.
The results of the study also showed that fasting boosted the body's production of antioxidants, which are molecules that prevent age-related diseases and decline. This last find was an interesting one since we've long known that fasting can promote longevity but have yet to identify all the reasons why. The production of antioxidants that occurs in the body during fasting could be one explanation.
As the first author of the study, Dr. Takayuki Teruya, explained, "These are very important metabolites for maintenance of muscle and antioxidant activity, respectively," said Teruya. "This result suggests the possibility of a rejuvenating effect by fasting, which was not known until now."
So what's the take-home? Fasting can definitely help us lose weight and maintain healthy muscles, but it also affects the more intricate metabolic processes going on in our body right now, especially the ones that promote long-term health and longevity. We don't know about you, but this sounds like a great excuse to read and reread our beginner's guide to intermittent fasting.