The gut may benefit from calorie restriction as well as intermittent fasting.

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  • Calorie restriction and intermittent fasting both increase microbiome diversity.
  • Lack of variety in the microbiome, which consists of gut bacteria, is linked to more illnesses. The microbiome is crucial to many bodily functions associated to health.
  • One of the many so-called “blue zones” in the globe, which have very high percentages of individuals living above 100 years, is in the United States.

Both intermittent fasting and calorie restriction work well to sustain the vital microbiome diversity. A recent research from the medical school at the University of Colorado shows how dietary alterations to the gut microbiota might affect gene regulation and general health.

The colony of bacteria that lives in a person’s digestive tract and throughout their body, the microbiome, is favourably impacted by both calorie-reduction diets and intermittent fasting.

All of the research participants were either overweight or obese, and they were given the option to either fast for three non-consecutive days each week for a year or, alternatively, to lower their daily calorie consumption by around 34% within the same time frame.

Even after only three months of the year-long trial, an earlier examination revealed that the variety of gut bacteria in people’s microbiomes had dramatically increased. Both the fasting group and the group that concentrated on cutting calories per day both saw improvements.

According to the data, a person may use their preferred weight-loss method to increase the variety of their microbiome and perhaps even their general health.

The latest research supports the notion that weight reduction causes changes in gut flora. The researchers found many correlations between DNA methylation, a process that alters gene regulation and may have an effect on human health, and the prevalence of microorganisms linked to metabolism, obesity, and weight gain.

The research is published in Nutrients.

The importance of microbial diversity for health

There are around 100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells within the human body. These are mostly bacteria, and the majority of them reside in the upper and lower gut. These little creatures are still mostly understudied by us. It is certain that they have an impact on our health, however.

Dr. Rudolph Bedford, a gastroenterologist who was not involved in the research, said: “The gut microbiota mediates so many other things. It controls all inflammatory reactions taking place within your body.

Cancer, diabetes, dementia, and heart disease are just a few of the illnesses that have been linked to inflammation in the bodyTrusted Source.

The microorganisms in the microbiome also affect other processes, such as hunger and obesity.

dr. ben bedford

“You want a microbiome that is really varied because the more diversity you have, the greater variety of functions you will have in different parts of your body. To control and balance all of your body’s functions, you need an extremely diversified microbiome.

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The importance of a diversified microbiome is supported by research. Additionally not engaged in the research, dietician Kristin Kirkpatrick noted that “microbial diversity has been associated with a better microbiome.”

According to studies, healthy people often have a more varied gut flora. According to the research, the likelihood of positive health outcomes increases with the number of helpful microorganisms, said Kirkpatrick.

Why calorie restriction and fasting increase microbial diversity

Following their prior investigation, the researchersAccording to a trusted source, the mechanism may be the advantages of the two arms of the intervention, which include improvements in food habits, weight reduction, cardiometabolic variables, and metabolism-related alterations.

Dr. Bedford offered a less complex explanation. He said, “The microbiome is employed full-time.” Therefore, by abstaining from food or eating less, “[y]ou’re resting it, enabling it to repopulate, much like sleep. That’s undoubtedly one of the explanations for why practices like intermittent fasting and the like help with variety.

Kirkpatrick did note that “[t]here is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to diet, so each individual diet needs to be assessed with a health practitioner.”

She also recommended that “[p]regnant women, [those who are] breastfeeding, or anyone who is dealing with a chronic condition should speak with their doctor or dietitian prior to altering their dietary pattern.”

The dietician also voiced worry that calorie restriction and fasting diets would affect those who already have a history of eating disorders.

Kirkpatrick said that anyone with a history of eating disorders or who are currently engaging in disordered eating should not try fasting or low-calorie diets.

What methods of fasting are there?

There are many different methods to fast. Although research participants fasted for three days each week, fasting may also be done for a few hours or for a few days straight.

“[T]he problem with fasting is that regrettably, as human beings, we fast, let’s say for 12 to 16 hours, we go home, and then we overeat,” Dr. Bedford said.

He advised against fasting for those with diabetes since the extended absence of meals causes changes in insulin and blood sugar levels.

Effects of drastic calorie decrease

An increase in harmful bacteria in the gut and other microbiome disruption have both been linked to excessive caloric restriction in other studiesTrusted Source.

Dr. Bedford did not raise any objections to the study’s conclusions. But he said it was rare to undertake excessive caloric restriction.

“In my opinion, your advice to starve oneself is more theoretical: you. To achieve it requires a tremendous level of discipline. I don’t think that’s a big of a deal unless you can go on a hunger strike. I haven’t seen it in thirty years,” he informed us.

Diversity of the microbiome challenges

“In an industrialized civilization,” added Dr. Bedford, “there are probably only five or six distinct animals in our food supply. A relatively small amount of plant products are also consumed by us in terms of plants.

“You include all of the medications we give our animals and all of the pesticides we use on the plants. Because you are what you consume and so are the bacteria, those factors tend to restrict the richness of your microbiome, he added.

As gastroenterologists, we see an increase in the age at which colon cancer develops; in first-world nations, this phenomena has pandemic proportions, according to Dr. Bedford.

He mentioned the existence of “blue zones,” or areas of the planet where people live very long lives. Believe it or not, there’s one in the state of California, at Loba Linda, he claimed.

He said that there is a reason why people in these regions tend to live longer: “It’s because there is a range of plant-based diets that are consumed on a regular basis. Additionally, it improves the microbiota, which results in less illness, concerns, and problems.