Fasting, Memory, and Brain Function

If you think about it, your memory is one of your best assets as a human being. It gives you the ability to reflect on your past life lessons and experiences, recall fond family vacations, holidays, and birthday’s, help you remember important facts for a school test, and even remind you where you parked your car in the grocery store parking lot. 

If you think about it, your memory is a vital part of your everyday life. 

Unfortunately, life factors such as stress, age, and even lack of sleep can start to affect your memory and how your brain functions. This article discusses the benefits of fasting on cognition, how it can improve memory, and simple ways you can “exercise” your mind to keep it doing what it does best! 


How Intermittent Fasting Helps Improve Memory & Brain Function

In a study out of King’s College London, research showed that intermittent fasting - when tested on mice over a 3 month period - resulted in helping improve memory and brain function. One of the most significant changes it showed included the recruitment of the “longevity gene” known as Klotho. It was concluded that the gene has an important role in creating adult-born hippocampal neurons; the very neurons that are pivotal in memory function yet decline as we age. Although this particular study was performed on mice, researchers show a lot of promise that the same results would be yielded when tested on humans.

What Happens To Your Brain During Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting continues to show its effectiveness when it comes to promoting and maintaining brain health. When you fast, a “metabolic switch” occurs; your body goes from utilizing glucose to fatty-acid derived ketones. Not only can this help improve body composition and maintain muscle mass but it also sparks the activation of pathways that boost performance, how your body functions, and shows the potential for slowing down the aging and disease process. 

Metabolic switching has also been shown to optimize neuroplasticity in the brain - a direct link affecting cognition and mood - through the process of autophagy. Simply put, this is the “cleaning” and detoxifying process by the body (on the cellular level called autophagy) and that has shown to help reduce inflammation and enhance overall brain function and cognition!

Citravarin

With research touting fasting as an extremely beneficial way to improve sleep, being consistent with your fasting practice will support your efforts even more! One of the ways to help you “stay the course,” and reap all the benefits of your intermittent fasting regime, is with our easy dissolve mints that use Citravarin to block hunger pains. Safe, and easy to use, Citravarin is made using THCV - the very cannabinoid found in cannabis - but without the high. These daily fasting mints will help you stay focused, and kick cravings, so you can experience all the amazing benefits of your fast, including reduced inflammation, skin, better sleep, improved performance, longevity, and, of course, memory.

Fasting Benefits For The Brain

One of the biggest benefits from fasting is its ability to prevent (and even treat) metabolic syndrome; a risk factor for various neurological diseases. A researcher from the National Institute of Aging showed that fasting has the ability to trigger the release of chemicals that increase productivity and growth of neurons. 

In a study performed on fasted mice, a 50% increase in the brain chemical called “BDNF” (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) was present, which is activated by an increase in beta-hydroxybutyrate while burning fat in a fasted state. Since BDNF is responsible for producing new neurons and strengthening synapses, it was concluded that improved cognitive function may be correlated with an increase in mitochondria from the increased production of the brain chemical. Additional results from the study not only showed this increase in BDNF but the areas of the brain that affect learning and memory showed positive improvement too.

Short vs. Long Term Memory and Fasting

You know the expression “you are what you eat?” While this is along a bit of a different line “WHEN you eat may be just as important as WHAT you eat” when it comes to your long-term memory. There is still not enough evidence that supports fasting as a means to improve short term memory despite the fact most research has only been performed on short term fasts. 

In a recent study, one group of mice were given a 10% calorie-restricted daily diet, and allowed to eat whatever they wanted. The second group of mice fasted every other day. The only different between both groups’ diets? The time in which they were fed! After a 10 day period, and putting the mice through a spatial learning test called a “Morris Water Maze,” researchers were able to confirm that the mice who fasted showed an increase in the neurons within the hippocampus as well as an increase in the number of Klotho genes. Although most of the studies yielding these results have been done on animals, researchers conclude that some more modified, realistic approaches of these same studies on humans will give similar outcomes. 

Healthy Habits and Tips to Improve Brain Function

Now that you have seen the potential benefits of fasting on brain function and health, here are some easy and adaptable habits you can implement on a daily basis, and do a world of good for your overall well being at the same time! 

  • 🧠 Exercise: Beyond its physical benefits, exercise continues to show a positive effect on brain health. An increased blood flow to the brain during exercise can potentially reverse some of the mental decline we experience as we age. Aim for, at least, 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
  • 🧠 Nutrition: Your diet is one of the most important factors in brain function and health. Focus on foods rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Speaking of healthy fats, many have been shown to be of extreme importance when it comes to your cells functioning properly, which can decrease the risk of disease and improve cognitive performance.
  • 🧠 Sleep: Aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep each night gives your body a chance to rest, repair, and recharge, and gives your brain a chance to remove anomalous proteins that, in turn, will help to improve brain health and long-term memory
  • 🧠 Stay Social: Continuing to interact with family, friends, and loved ones will not only ward off the feelings of loneliness, which can lead to anxiousness, tension, and depression, but it can slow the decline of memory loss and strengthen cognition. 
  • 🧠 Keep Your Mind Active: Just like you need to keep your body physically active, keeping your mind active is just as important. Think crossword puzzles, jumbles, reading, card games, etc.; anything that will continue to challenge your mind! 


Worried about cravings?

If you like the idea of using intermittent fasting to relieve inflammation, you might be worried about food cravings sabotaging your fast. If so, check out Temper's Citravarin Fasting Mints to block cravings.

See Fasting Mints