24-Hour Fasting: Does A Gap In Meals Help Stop Inflammation And Illness?


Fasting has various impacts on the human body.

While fasting, the liver uses the last of its glycogen reserves around 18 to 24 hours during which the body transitions into a different mode.

Calories are certainly one of the primary causes of inflammation and illnesses. Consumption of a high-calorie diet results in making an individual prone to non-communicable diseases. As per the neurologist Dr Sudhir Kumar, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, calories are associated with a chronic metabolic inflammatory syndrome, which further results in diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Recently, an experiment was conducted by researchers from Cambridge University in which they collected blood samples from volunteers who were asked to consume a regular meal of 500 Kcal, and then fast for 24 hours. These volunteers were fed with 500 Kcal meals again.  It was observed that the levels of interleukin 1 beta were reduced during the fasting whereas the levels of arachidonic acid (AA) increased. Simply put, these two biochemical changes aid in reducing metabolic inflammation at the time of fasting.

Dr Kumar, meanwhile, also agreed with the observation made by the university saying that fasting leads to the suppression of metabolic inflammation. This suppression is further lined with associated with a drop in serum proinflammatory cytokines like interleukin 1-beta.

It is pertinent to note that fasting has various impacts on the human body. The body even changes the ways it uses energy. Irrespective of the fact that someone is fasting or not, the body still needs energy. “Its primary energy source is a sugar called glucose, which usually comes from carbohydrates, including grains, dairy products, fruits, certain vegetables, beans, and even sweets,” said Dr Ranga Santosh Kumar, consultant general physician and diabetologist, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad.

During the time of fasting, the liver uses the last of its glycogen reserves around 18 to 24 hours during which the body transitions into a different mode. In the absence of carbohydrates, the body starts creating glucose using fat. According to Dr Santosh Kumar, “At this point, a person’s metabolism slows down, and their body begins burning muscle tissue for energy.”

He further explained that true starvation mode occurs only after numerous consecutive days without food. Dr Santosh Kumar said, “So, for those breaking their fast after 24 hours, it is generally safe to go without eating for a day unless other health conditions are present.”



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