Fasting is a normal activity in many cultures, but for many individuals, fasting can seem like torture. Thinking about food, whether you are planning your next meal, or thinking about the last one, occupies a noticeable part of our day. Researchers at MIT have discovered that fasting for 24 hours straight can actually have an amazing effect on your body, specifically your intestinal tract.
MIT researchers have discovered that fasting for 24 hours in mice causes a metabolic switch, causing their guts to enhance their intestinal stem cells. Intestinal stem cells are what power the intestines, and as people age this powerhouse start to slow down. This is why humans put on weight as they age. 24 hours of fasting in mice has shown that the intestinal stem cells will regenerate and double. These cells already regenerate naturally, but it typically takes 4 days before regeneration. The increased regeneration could help assist in not only a better intestinal tract, but also an easier way to lose weight.
The trial has yet to be performed on humans, but given the biological similarities between mice and humans, researchers anticipate similar results in humans. The benefit of increased regeneration would not only be for weight loss, but for treating or curing other ailments such as infections or cancers. 24 hours of fasting can seem extreme, but the potential benefits could outweigh those long 24 hours.