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Fasting as a Therapy in Neurological Disease

Department of Neurology, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton 3204, New Zealand
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2501; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102501
Received: 22 September 2019 / Revised: 12 October 2019 / Accepted: 15 October 2019 / Published: 17 October 2019
Fasting is deeply entrenched in evolution, yet its potential applications to today’s most common, disabling neurological diseases remain relatively unexplored. Fasting induces an altered metabolic state that optimizes neuron bioenergetics, plasticity, and resilience in a way that may counteract a broad array of neurological disorders. In both animals and humans, fasting prevents and treats the metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for many neurological diseases. In animals, fasting probably prevents the formation of tumors, possibly treats established tumors, and improves tumor responses to chemotherapy. In human cancers, including cancers that involve the brain, fasting ameliorates chemotherapy-related adverse effects and may protect normal cells from chemotherapy. Fasting improves cognition, stalls age-related cognitive decline, usually slows neurodegeneration, reduces brain damage and enhances functional recovery after stroke, and mitigates the pathological and clinical features of epilepsy and multiple sclerosis in animal models. Primarily due to a lack of research, the evidence supporting fasting as a treatment in human neurological disorders, including neurodegeneration, stroke, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, is indirect or non-existent. Given the strength of the animal evidence, many exciting discoveries may lie ahead, awaiting future investigations into the viability of fasting as a therapy in neurological disease. View Full-Text
Keywords: fasting; therapy; neurological disease; metabolic syndrome; cancer; neurodegeneration; stroke; epilepsy; multiple sclerosis fasting; therapy; neurological disease; metabolic syndrome; cancer; neurodegeneration; stroke; epilepsy; multiple sclerosis
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Phillips, M.C. Fasting as a Therapy in Neurological Disease. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2501.

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