Fasting and Mood

Evidence suggests that fasting may have particular benefits on mood. The association between mood and fasting is not fully understood but a number of mechanisms have been suggested to explain why fasting may affect the brain. One explanation involves a possible increase in the uptake of serotonin to the brain that might occur as glucose and amino acid transport into the brain changes. Another explanation is that the ketone bodies that are synthesised in place of the absent glucose are able to alter brain chemistry in some way. One way this might occur is through the ketone bodies affecting transcription of the cellular signal molecule brain derived neurotrophic factor. Higher levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor are associated with improved mood as the peptide is associated with improved plasticity and resistance to stress in neurons. Even short periods of fasting, perhaps as short as 12 hours, appears to show some benefit toward elevating mood in those with mild to moderate mood disorders.  

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Gudden, J., Arias Vasquez, A. and Bloemendaal, M. 2021. The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Brain and Cognitive Function. Nutrients. 13(9): 3166

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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