Intermittent fasting protects against heart failure

Intermittent fasting protects against heart failure

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Effects of intermittent fasting on our heart

Intermittent fasting appears to protect people from heart failure and improve life expectancy in people with heart disease.

The current study by the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute in Salt Lake City found that intermittent fasting protects the heart and can increase life expectancy in the presence of cardiac diseases. The results of the study were presented at the 2019 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia.

Does a diet protect against heart disease?

Surely one could assume that intermittent fasting is simply a new type of diet through which people lose excess weight. However, this type of diet leads to protection against heart diseases.

Regular intermittent fasting protects against heart failure

People with cardiac catheters who regularly fast intermittently live longer than cardiac catheter patients who do not have any fasting periods. The study also found that patients who practice intermittent fasting are less likely to be diagnosed with heart failure.

Regular fasting can increase life expectancy

"This is another established example that regular fasting can lead to better health outcomes and a longer life," says study author Dr. Benjamin Horne of the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute in a press release.

Participants had a cardiac catheter

In their study, the researchers asked 2,001 people a number of questions about their lifestyle. The participating people underwent surgery to use a cardiac catheter between 2013 and 2015. The questions also included whether people practiced intermittent fasting or not. After medical surveillance for 4.5 years, the researchers found that fasting led to an improved survival rate.

Many factors were taken into account, the result remained

Other factors such as demography, socioeconomic factors, cardiac risk factors, comorbid diagnoses, medications and treatments, and other lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption were also examined. Long-term routine fasting was nevertheless a strong predictor of improved survival and a lower risk of heart failure.

Risk of Diabetes and Coronary Artery Disease Reduced by Fasting?

The study does not show that fasting is the causal effect for better survival. The results found in a large population indicate that fasting can have an effect. Studies that have already been conducted have shown that routine intermittent fasting appears to reduce the risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease. Studies conducted in 2008 and 2012 suggested that the decades-long development of these chronic diseases could be reduced by routine long-term fasting.

How does fasting affect the body?

Why long-term intermittent fasting leads to better health outcomes is still largely unknown. Fasting affects hemoglobin levels, the number of red blood cells, growth hormones and sodium and bicarbonate levels, but also activates ketosis and autophagy (the body's own disposal system). These factors appear to improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart failure and coronary artery disease.

How long should you fast?

Typically, you have to fast for about twelve hours before the beneficial effects are activated, but long-term routine fasting can result in this time being shortened so that beneficial effects occur earlier. The researchers suspect that routine fasting over years or even decades will cause the body to activate the useful mechanisms of fasting in a shorter period of time than usual.

More research is needed

Further studies are ongoing to answer questions related to the possible effects of fasting on the development of chronic diseases and survival. In addition, possible effects of fasting on appetite and perception of hunger should be examined. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Intermittent Fasting Increases Longevity in Cardiac Catheterization Patients, New Intermountain Study Finds, Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute (query: 18.11.2019), Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute

Video: Heart Disease Prevention: The Impact of Diet and Exercise on Heart Health; By David Maron, MD (May 2022).


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