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

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Handbook of Famine, Starvation, and Nutrient Deprivation

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.

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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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Correspondence to Alicia J. Kowaltowski .

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Cerqueira, F.M., Chausse, B., Kowaltowski, A.J. (2019). Intermittent Fasting Effects on the Central Nervous System: How Hunger Modulates Brain Function. In: Preedy, V., Patel, V. (eds) Handbook of Famine, Starvation, and Nutrient Deprivation. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-55387-0_29

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-55387-0_29

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