For many of us looking to achieve a healthier and leaner body, dieting is one of the crucial components in a comprehensive body makeover regimen in addition to exercise and regular check-ups. However, with the explosion in new diet regimens, which one to choose? Let’s dive in and explore one of the hottest new diets on the scene that is gaining popularity: The fasting-mimicking diet (FMD).
ProLon is an exciting new diet rooted in science with an emphasis on longevity. If you’re looking long-term to improve your overall longevity and healthy aging in addition to losing or maintaining healthy weight in a safe and scientifically-proven manner, Dr Valter D. Longo’s fasting-mimicking diet may be the right option for you.
The ProLon FMD was conceived by Dr Longo at the University of Southern California. As a director of the USC’S Longevity Institute, he devotes his career to finding new ways to extend healthy lifespan. It was with this background and experience that he devised ProLon. The meat-free 5-day diet was studied at USC in both humans and animals, allowing Dr Longo to refine and improve the diet for optimal results.
As the name suggests, the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) is intended to simulate the effects of a fast over five days without the downsides. This allows for the improved healthy benefits of doing intermittent fasting without having to constantly fast!
What are some of those benefits as seen in all the studies? They include decreased blood sugars and risk of diabetes, improved diabetes markers, decreased body inflammation, decreased risk of certain cancers, lower cholesterol levels, and a very powerful benefit noted in all studies was the specific decrease of visceral belly fat. Visceral belly fat is the fat that increases the risk for major metabolic diseases in the body. You lose it! Despite consuming food during the 5 day diet, your body will be tricked into thinking it’s not eating, forcing it to go into a fasting mode. This is a diet that can be followed for 5 days yet reap the benefits of a lifetime of intermittent fasting!
In order to ensure you get the right amount of nutrients, ProLon comes in the form of pre-packaged and pre-produced meal kits rich in fatty acids and low in carbs and protein. Unlike the other fasting diets, you only need to do ProLon five days each month! That may not seem like much, but studies have found that it increased healthspan in mice by 11% and improved health metrics in human trials. You can lose weight while maintaining a lean body mass, improve your energy levels, and enjoy healthier skin overall. Studies have shown ProLon can help slow down the effects of ageing, prevent cardiovascular disease and Alzheimers, as well as preventing diabetes.
If you are already at your goal or ideal weight you can do the FMD every other month or every 3 to 4 months. Used that way, ProLon actually helps you not only maintain that weight but continue to improve on your metabolic health markers and decrease your visceral fat as noted earlier! There are some conditions when doing the fast: you should not do exercise as you temporarily decrease energy intake for the five days. Also, there are some minor side effects associated with a lower caloric intake such as fatigue or headaches. It’s not recommended to do the fast more than once a month, as prolonged fasting without a break can cause negative effects.
If you’re looking to reduce your weight, maintain a healthy weight, decrease your chances for developing cancer or other diseases, come visit us at NOVA Health Recovery where we can help you go over your nutrition and wellness options. We give you a report that outlines your metabolic priorities and gives you a plan for improvement and maintenance. We are knowledgeable in and provide a wide range of weight loss and metabolic improvement programs in addition to ProLon. Remember, it is NOT about giving the same program to everyone, rather, take into consideration the individual issues and needs. We can help you decide what works best for you as part of an individualized comprehensive metabolic improvement plan.
A Good Fast is better than a Bad Meal” ~ Old Irish Proverb
“He who eats until he is Sick must Fast until he is Well.” ~ Old English Proverb
Over the decades doctors and nutritionists have been solely focused on what to eat for health and weight loss. More recently, scientists have recognized that we should also be concerned about WHEN we should be eating as part of our dietary approach to overall health and wellness.
For centuries, fasting has been a large part of religious experiences including all factions of the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim faiths. Religious fasting has various intentions including bringing oneself closer to God or self awareness, to physically and spiritually purify oneself, and to become closer to an understanding of world suffering and solutions. An example of a modern day religious approach to fasting is exemplified by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints where members fast for 24 hours on the first Sunday of each month. Members are encouraged to donate the money usually used for food towards benefitting those less fortunate. The common denominator for religious fasting is purposeful giving and mindfulness for the improvement of an individual’s health and overall wellness.
In the late 19th century, Dr. Edward H. Dewey, a famous Civil War Surgeon and U.S. Assistant Surgeon General, wrote a series of books and articles on intermittent fasting for health and the improvement of multiple social ills. More recently, scientists have looked closer to intermittent fasting as a powerful tool for weight loss and longevity.
What is the definition of fasting? It turns out there is no single definition in the scientific literature. However, there are 3 common approaches:
- Meal skipping for a 24 hour period
- Alternate Day fasting where you eat approximately 400 to 600 calories total for one day then eating as you would normally the following day and repeating this pattern.
- Timed restricted feeding where you eat as you normally would during an 8 hour period then fasting during the remaining 16 hours.
Each of these has different variations to the base and all have been shown to have some sort of physiologic benefit. Intermittent fasting has gained a lot of attention in obesity and “anti-aging” research. Two key questions need to be answered:
- Does it really work for weight loss and longevity?
- Is intermittent fasting safe?
It turns out there is good literature support on both the safety of fasting and the positive effects on health. Both animal and human studies have supported intermittent fasting for weight loss, the maintenance of healthy weight, improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar, and the slowing of the aging process overall. Dr Volter Longo, the Director of the University of Southern California Longevity Institute published a human study earlier this year showing that a 5 day modified intermittent fasting diet done once a month for 3 months helped individuals lose body fat, waist size and weight, improve BMI and overall laboratory health markers without adverse side effects. Dr. Longo admits there is a need for more studies but says this approach to intermittent fasting has the best promise for improved overall health, quality of life, and healthy longevity.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase your body’s ability to produce more growth hormone naturally, improve insulin sensitivity thus allowing your body to access fat storage more readily, allow for cellular repair by breaking down old cells and building new ones, and help turn off the genes that cause aging, and keep the youth genes going longer.
These are my general guidelines and overall recommendations:
First, NEVER begin a fasting diet without proper physician advice.
Visit a Center that specializes in Dietary approaches, such as NOVA Health Recovery.
Fasting is easier than you think. Remember, over 1/3rd of the world’s population voluntarily fasts safely. Fasting needs to be purposeful in order to be effective. Fasting Mimicking Diets can be powerful tools for improved health and longevity. Proper monitoring with baseline labs and biometric measurements by your doctor can ensure you reach your goals and long term success.
Fasting-mimicking diet and markers risk factors for aging, diabetes cancer and cardiovascular diseases
Fasting Mimicking diets (FMD):
- Turns off pro-aging genes such as IGF-1, TOR, and PKA
- We go into a shielded mode and activate reparative enzymes when we fast
- During fasting, we destroy damaged intracellular organelles and activate stem cells which rejuvenates tissues
In Humans, a monthly 5 day cycle of FMD done three months does the following:
- Rejuvinates the immune system
- decreases cancer risk
- increases hippocampal neurogeesis
- increases cognitive performance
- Decreases age related diseases
Stem cells get worse with age and FMD will improve tissue maintenance and decrease carcinogenesis. FMD Reverses aging in mesenchymal stem cells by 45 times and there is an 800% increase in proliferation of stem cells.
IGF1 and PKA inhibits stem cells from regenerating, but fasting will prevent that and allows stem cells to grow.
As we age, disease risk goes up, and with diet, toxins, time – the disease risk goes up. But a FMD decreases the chances of diseases of aging , such as diabetes, Alzheimers, Strokes, and cancer.
FMD will reverse the effects of aging on white blood countif started in middle age. This allows for improved immune function, nerve regrowth, and improved cognition.
Also noted are improved biomarkers of humans for cardiovascular disease, cance, and aging.
FMD promotes rejuvenation.
5 days of a month, you do the FMD protocol for three months in a row without restrictions the other days.
Result of the FMD are:
- Body weight loss (5 lb)
- Decreased abdominal fay
- Decreased waist circumference
- Lean body mass maintained
- IGF-1 decreases, Decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
- Decreased CRP and increased stem cells
- Decreased cholesterol
If your BMI is >30 at the start, up to 9 lbs may be lost.
Most of the weight loss is visceral fat.
The body maintains the loss over time and protects the lean mass – Healing from within.
The significant benefits are maintained without other interventions:
- Decreased BMI
- Decreased weight circumferece
- Lower Blood pressure
- Decreased cholesterol
- Maintains lean mass
- Skin gets clearer and
- Less joint pain
Impacted paramters for the better include:
- Fasting blood sugar
- Blood presusre
- Abdominal obesity
Protocol for FMD:
1100 calories day one then 77 cal/day days 2-5
- Avoid exercise
- avoid coffee
- Nut- soy allergies – can’t use the program
- Must be >18
- Cannot be diabetic
- Caffeine activates PKa so one cup is all you can use
Abstinence from food switches us from utilizing sugars to utilizing fatty acids and ketones. Fasting has been utilized in religious contexts throughout the ages.
Fasting induces hormesis – a system strain that results in improvements.
Time restricted feeding involvd eating over a period of 8 hours or less , i.e. 8 A.M – 4 P.M. as opposed to intermittent fasting with 16-48 hours of fasting with intervals of normal eating, such as the 5:2 diet. Periodic fasting lasts from 2-21 days.
Time restricted feeding results in: decreased weight, lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides, decreased inflammatory markers, lower glucose, and lower insulin, but UNKNOWN if it helps with rejuvenation!
For the intermittent fasting, such as 5:2 diet, i.e. 2 days/week of a 500 calorie diet, you get lower blood pressure, decreased abdominal fat and increased insulin sensitivity.
Periodic fasting (FMD) does the following:
- extends lifespan
- rejuvenates and regenrates
- increases cognition
- induces stress resistance
You get triglycerides, LDL , cholesterol, insulin sensitivity inprovemens
FMD involves using a specific macronutrient adjustment with protein restriction, mild calories restriction, and a low glycemic index. This results in lower Mtor/PKA/PKB and this promotes rejuvenation . It inhibits histone deacetylation.
SOD, Catalase, Nrf2 all up regulate due to the stress.
Prolon consists of:
- 66 ingredients
- Glutein – dairy free
Prolon Review << Link
Prolon diets result in increased mesenchymal stem cells in their blood – more regeneration
FMD compared to no intervention placed on a five day FMD for 5 days a month x 3 months, many changes occurred:
Lean body mass , cholesterol, CRP, Waist circumference, total body fat, Diastolic Blood pressure, LDL and total cholesterol all improved and lean body mass was maintained. the higher the BMI at the stare (BMI>30) had even more weight loss.
Results of the FMD :
- Fat mass loss
- preserves Lean muscle mass
- stem cell rejuvination
- Total fat loss
Glucose, IGF 1, blood pressure, BMI, waist circumference all remained improved after stopping following the FMD months later!
The source and amount of protein is important there is an increased rate of cancer and death increased by 3 times, but if plant based source of protein is used, then this does not occur.
Plant based protein source downregulates the IGF-1 and is good.
Tumor growth increases as we take in more protein in 50-65 year old group. This does not apply to ages>65
Lower amounts of a plant protein downregulated the IGF pathway for health.
higher intake of animal protein leads to higher mortality, but higher intake of plant protein is inversely associated with protein. Substitute 30% plant protein for meat protein was helpful.
Common fads such as juice fasting for weight loss and detox has LITTLE scientific evidence. It is not nutritionally adequate and needs careful planning. it is not a fast – it doesn’t suppress the same nutrient sensing pathway as FMD does.
How about the Ketogenic diet? High fat and low carb diet: It is nutritionally deficient – includes high cholesterol, high acid in blood , constipation, and micronutrient depletion (zinc, Vitamin D, selenium other)
The FMD promotes the following:
- Weigh loss
- Lean body mass protection
- Cholesterol imrpvement
- Improved fasting glucose
FMD in autoimmunity:
There may be a rational use for FM Din MS as well as it improves immunity:
The JAMA Article for FMD is below:
Even though the results weren’t comparable with those in animal models, a few bright spots emerged. The second phase of the Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE 2) trial, which was funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, demonstrated that it’s feasible for humans to limit calories for an extended period. In addition, participants who cut back on calories lost weight and kept it off for the duration of the study. There were no adverse effects on quality of life and the participants netted improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin resistance—all risk factors of age-related diseases.
Scientists have known since the 1930s that restricting calories by roughly 20% to 50% without malnutrition dramatically extends the health span and life span of some strains of rodents, and in the decades that followed, caloric restriction has been shown to increase the healthy life span of creatures ranging from yeast to guppies to monkeys. It’s still an open-ended question whether dietary intervention—or any intervention at all—can dramatically extend humans’ maximum life span. But epidemiological evidence and cross-sectional observationsof centenarians and groups that voluntarily cut their calories strongly suggest that the practice could help people extend their average life span and live healthier, as well.
The problem is a practical one. If dieting is difficult, lifelong caloric restriction—which typically requires cutting 500 to 600 calories every day—may be unattainable for most people.
While participants in the CALERIE 2 trial did benefit from the intervention, they likely would have had better results had they achieved a full 25% reduction in calories, said Eric Ravussin, PhD, one of the study’s principal investigators and director of the Pennington Biomedical Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Louisiana State University.
“You can prescribe whatever you want, but it’s another story to have the people following that religiously,” he said.
Having come to terms with this reality, scientists have been seeking more practical approaches. They’ve increasingly become interested in fasting-based analogues to daily caloric restriction, such as time-restricted feeding, alternate-day fasting, intermittent fasting (1 fasting day or less alternated with 1 to 6 days of a normal diet), and periodic prolonged fasting (2 or more consecutive fasting days occurring periodically).
“We know fasting is sort of an acute version of calorie restriction,” said Eric Verdin, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and president and chief executive officer of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California. Like caloric restriction, fasting—eating little to no food or caloric drinks over anywhere from 12 hours to a few weeks—has been shown to prevent disease and slow aging in a range of organisms.
In a 2011 NIA-cofunded study of young overweight women, a weekly fast—5 days of unrestricted eating and 2 consecutive days of 75% caloric restriction—produced outcomes similar to daily caloric restriction in reducing weight, total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and blood pressure, among other markers. The fasting plans used in this study and a follow-up spawned the “5:2” diets that have gained popularity in recent years.
The results of a recent phase 2 trial published earlier this year in Science Translational Medicine suggest that less severe energy restriction could provide bigger improvements with fewer fasting days per month. In the trial, dieters only had to restrict their calories 60% for 5 consecutive days a month over 3 months to get the benefits of the so-called fasting-mimicking diet.
The diet was developed by Valter Longo, PhD, a professor of gerontology and biological sciences at the University of Southern California and head of the Longevity Institute there. He has studied caloric restriction’s protective effects on aging and disease since the early 1990s.
Longo initially tested his diet in middle-aged mice, subjecting them to 4 consecutive days of the fast twice a month until their deaths. Mice on the diet lived an average of 11% longer than control mice—28.3 months vs 25.5 months—and had fewer cancers, less inflammation, less visceral fat, slower loss of bone density, and improved cognitive performance.
Autopsies revealed that fasting shrunk the rodents’ kidneys, hearts, and livers, but the refeeding period appeared to kick-start regeneration, increasing bone marrow–derived stem cells and progenitor cells and returning organs to normal weights.
In the same study, Longo also tested the diet in a small pilot clinical trial. After 3 monthly cycles of a 5-day fasting-mimicking diet, the 19 generally healthy participants in the intervention group reported no major adverse effects and had decreased risk factors and biomarkers for aging, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer compared with the control group, which maintained its normal caloric intake.
Those results were confirmed in Longo’s larger phase 2 trial reported this year, which enrolled 100 generally healthy participants. In the new study, the control group was crossed over to the dieting intervention after 3 months. In the end, 71 participants completed 3 consecutive cycles of the diet.
About a week after the end of the third cycle in the randomized arm of the study, the intervention group had lost an average of approximately 6 pounds while the control group had not lost weight. Dieters also had less trunk and total body fat, smaller waist circumference, and lower blood pressure and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels compared with the control group. In the crossover arm of the study, the intervention had comparable effects.
The diet appears to help more those who need it the most, Longo said. Its effects on blood pressure and IGF-1 levels, as well as on body mass index and fasting glucose, triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, and C-reactive protein levels, were more pronounced among those who started the study with worse numbers. In fact, participants who entered the trial with prediabetes had fasting blood glucose levels in the normal range by the end of the intervention.
For researchers seeking to re-create the benefits of daily caloric restriction on a shorter, more practical timescale, Longo’s findings are tantalizing.
“I think that he’s definitely moving the ball forward,” said Rafael de Cabo, PhD, chief of the translational gerontology branch and the experimental gerontology section at the NIA.
Ravussin, who was not involved in the new study, said he suspects the participants’ weight loss led to the improvements. Although losing weight improves diabetes, Longo believes there’s more to the fasting-mimicking diet than shedding a few pounds, and it has to do with those organs that shrank and then regrew in his mouse study. “I think the regeneration and the rejuvenation is really at the center of this,” he said.
The idea holds water, according to de Cabo. “You take any animal that is older and you put them on caloric restriction, one of the first things that you observe is that any cell that is damaged tends to be turned over,” he said.
Longo recently published a mouse study in Cell that may begin to explain the process, at least in the pancreas. Six to 8 cycles of alternating a 4-day fasting-mimicking diet with a normal diet restored insulin-producing β cells and insulin secretion in diabetic mice, reducing their fasting blood glucose levels to almost normal levels. Increased expression of certain protein markers suggested that mice on the diet had greater numbers of pancreatic progenitor cells, which resulted in the generation of fully functional β cells.
Longo believes that postfasting stem cell activation drives the health and longevity benefits of his diet. “During the refeeding, the stem cells are turned on and … they rebuild the cells and systems and organs that have been reduced in size and cell number during the fasting,” he said.
The possibility of a nonsurgical, nonmedical therapy could be life changing for patients with diabetes.
“The implications are obviously incredible in the sense that by simply changing the diet you can regenerate β cells,” said Paolo Sassone-Corsi, PhD, director of the Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism at the University of California, Irvine. “It could be a revolutionary finding.”
Both Sassone-Corsi and de Cabo, who were not involved in Longo’s studies published this year, said they are testing the fasting-mimicking diet alongside other calorie-restricted diets in their laboratories to better understand the metabolic mechanisms behind their effects.
“To me the most important thing is we’re one step closer to understanding how we can translate the last hundred or something years of research on caloric restriction to actually get it to the clinic in an efficient way,” de Cabo said.
To that end, Verdin wants to see 2- or 3-year data from a larger diverse cohort, in part to learn the potential limitations of the diet. “You can imagine there could be a subset of people in which this diet will do a lot of good, and some others in which it will not do anything, and possibly in a small subset maybe do harm,” he said.
The fasting-mimicking diet is commercially available as a 5-day meal plan. (Longo said he does not receive a salary or a consulting fee from the company that offers it and will donate 100% of his shares to charity.) The plant-based diet provides approximately 1100 calories on day 1 and around 750 calories on days 2 through 5. It’s low in proteins and carbohydrates and rich in healthful fats.
Despite the exciting findings in diabetic mice and humans with prediabetic markers, Longo cautioned that the meal plan isn’t ready for use in patients being treated for type 1 or type 2 diabetes because combining a fasting-mimicking diet with blood glucose–lowering drugs could cause hypoglycemia. He is working with diabetes experts to address safety concerns before launching a phase 3 multicenter trial involving patients with diabetes later this year. Temporarily stopping or reducing medications during the intervention could be a solution, he said.
Based on promising results in mouse models of multiple sclerosis and humans with the disease, Longo also wants to test the diet in patients with autoimmune disorders. Pending positive findings, he believes the fasting-mimicking diet could become the first food-based disease treatment to gain approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.
As with any diet, the question of adherence looms large—and assumptions may not turn out to be truths. Ravussin recently worked on a weight-loss study comparing alternate-day fasting with daily caloric restriction. Surprisingly, there was a higher percentage of dropouts in the fasting group.
But for now, the success of Longo’s pioneering studies is likely to trigger more trials of dietary interventions linked to caloric restriction. “This is just the beginning,” Verdin said.