Intermittent Fasting Effects on the Central Nervous System: How Hunger Modulates Brain Function

  • Fernanda M. Cerqueira
  • Bruno Chausse
  • Alicia J. Kowaltowski
Living reference work entry

Abstract

Fasting has been present throughout human history and is a regular practice in many cultures and religions. Currently, findings regarding beneficial effects of fasting on body mass control and health have largely stimulated the practice. The number of studies investigating intermittent fasting effects on different pathological states has grown steadily. Evidence suggests that this dietary intervention can delay or even prevent the onset of pathologies, such as neurodegenerative diseases. Indeed, several studies have reported intermittent fasting actions on brain integrity and function. However, fasting may also affect hunger control in less desirable manners. Indeed, the brain is highly sensitive to fasting practice due to its pronounced energy demand and its central role in the control of whole body energy balance. In this chapter, the effects of intermittent fasting on brain function are discussed along with a description of the history of human fasting practices.

Keywords

Intermittent fasting Caloric restriction Energy homeostasis Brain function Hypothalamus Appetite control Energy expenditure Reproductive function Aging Cognition Neurogenerative diseases 

List of Abbreviations

AD

Alzheimer’s disease

AGRP

Agouti-related peptide

CART

Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript

GnRH

Gonadotropin-release hormone

HDL

High-density lipoprotein

IF

Intermittent fasting

LDL

Low-density lipoprotein

NPY

Neuropeptide Y

PD

Parkinson’s disease

POMC

Pro-opiomelanocortin

VLDL

Very-low-density lipoprotein

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernanda M. Cerqueira
    • 1
  • Bruno Chausse
    • 2
  • Alicia J. Kowaltowski
    • 2
  1. 1.The National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev LtdBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.Departamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de QuímicaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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