You can ease your multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms with fasting, finds a study.
“People hear these miraculous stories about patients recovering the ability to walk after they started on this diet or that, and everyone wants to believe it,” said Laura Piccio.
“All we have right now are anecdotes. The fact is that diet may indeed help with MS symptoms, but the studies haven’t been done.”
That’s why Piccio has put one dietary intervention to the test. She has launched a trial to evaluate whether drastically cutting calories twice a week can change the body’s immune environment and the gut microbiome, and potentially change the course of the disease. The study is rooted in her own research that shows that fasting can reduce MS-like symptoms in mice.
Piccio and colleagues are recruiting patients with relapsing-remitting MS for a 12-week study. Half will stay on their usual Western-style diet seven days a week, while the other half will maintain such a diet five days a week but limit themselves to 500 calories of vegetables the remaining two days.
The trial is based on findings from a mouse study by Piccio and Yanjiao Zhou, MD, PhD – an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut who studies microbiome-based therapeutics – published earlier this month in the journal Cell Metabolism.
The study showed that intermittent fasting reduces MS-like symptoms. In the study, mice were either allowed to eat freely or fed every other day for four weeks before receiving an immunisation to trigger MS-like symptoms. Both groups of mice then continued on their same diets for another seven weeks.
The mice that fasted every other day were less likely to develop signs of neurological damage such as difficulty in walking, limb weakness and paralysis. Some of the fasting mice did develop MS-like symptoms, but they appeared later and were less severe than in the mice that ate their fill every day.
In addition, the fasting mice’s immune systems seemed to be dialed down. As compared with mice that took daily meals, those that ate every other day had fewer pro-inflammatory immune cells and more of a kind of immune cell that keeps the immune response in check.
“There are several possible ways fasting can affect inflammation and the immune response,” Piccio said. “One is by changing hormone levels. We found that levels of the anti-inflammatory hormone corticosterone were nearly twice as high in the fasting mice. But it also could act through the gut microbiome.”
The gut microbiome – the community of microbes in the intestine – doesn’t just help us digest our food and synthesise vitamins and amino acids. It also helps our immune systems develop and mature. A change in the makeup of the gut community could alter whether the immune system has a pro- or anti-inflammatory bent, the researchers said.
After four weeks, the mice that fasted sheltered a more diverse ecosystem in their guts than mice that ate every day. In particular, the fasting mice had more of the soothing probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus, which other studies in mice have linked to milder MS-like symptoms.
In addition, transferring gut bacteria from fasting mice to non-fasting mice made the recipients less susceptible to developing MS-like symptoms, suggesting that something in the microbial community was protecting the mice.
These results were encouraging enough for Piccio and colleagues to launch a human study of 40 to 60 people. Each participant will undergo a neurological assessment and provide blood and stool samples at the start, midpoint and end of the study.
Participants already taking injectable medications for MS will continue their prescribed drug regimens, and anyone who relapses during the study will receive appropriate treatment.
“We’re not looking for clinical benefit, although we certainly hope to see an improvement,” Piccio said. “Because MS is so variable and people with relapsing-remitting MS can be stable and nearly symptom-free for long periods, you’d need a huge study to see any benefit. Instead, what we want to find out is whether people on limited fasts undergo changes to their metabolism, immune response and microbiome similar to what we see in the mouse.”
A pilot study with 16 people limiting their calories every other day for two weeks found immune and microbiome changes that echo the ones seen in mice. The current study is designed to more closely analyze those shifts – and perhaps set the stage for an even larger study to find out whether skipping meals can ease symptoms for people with MS.
“I don’t think any physician working with this disease thinks you can cure MS with diet alone,” Piccio said. “But we may be able to use it as an add-on to current treatments to help people feel better.”
The study appears in the journal Cell Metabolism.
4 Simple Tips To Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals And A Healthy Living
Health is wealth! But in the today’s world where everyone is so occupied with work do we actually pay attention to our lifestyle. Well! Not really. After all, what does it actually take to lead a healthy lifestyle? A healthy lifestyle is extremely important as it helps to improve your health and well-being. There are a lot many different things that you can do to live a healthy lifestyle. These include eating healthy and nutritious foods, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, adequate sleep and managing your stress. A healthy lifestyle is not just about eating wholesome meals and regular physical exercise. There is much more to that. It is also about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Health expert Luke Coutinho in his recent Instagram post talks about keeping life simple and healthy.
Top 4 simple and effective tips for better overall health:
1. Clean balanced meals
Eating balanced and healthy meals is extremely essential for a healthy lifestyle. Your meals should include healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, dairy products, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, you should avoid unhealthy foods like red and processed meats, high-calorie foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and excessive sodium. A healthy diet will be beneficial for your overall health and keep you away from chronic diseases.
2. Some movement
Movement is a key to a healthy life. Some sort of physical activity is very necessary. Not just few times a week but everyday. Exercising daily can boost your overall health in many ways. It can help increase your life span, lower the risk of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, help you develop strong bones, and manage your weight. For this, you can simply especially for close distances, choose walking or cycling over driving or taking transportation. You can climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator. You can pick up simple exercises that are easy to do at home or outside that you enjoy. For instance, Zumba, aerobics, running, swimming or may be playing your favourite sport.
3. Adequate sleep
You might ignore this one but sleep is very important. It helps your body to heal and rest, so you must not ignore on your sleep. Lack of sleep may lead to poor health outcomes like obesity, diabetes, and even certain heart diseases. Continued lack of sleep can lead to a weak immune system and make you more prone to cold and the flu.
You can do some simple things to ensure that you sleep better at night. You can avoid caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. Also, avoid eating heavy meals before bedtime. Physical exercise can also help you sleep better at night. But avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime.
Though it is difficult to avoid stress in today’s world. But simple measures can always be taken to reduce stress. As stress again could lead to high blood sugar levels, hypertension and can even affect your heart. So practice some deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga to manage stress. Also, try reaching out to friends, family and relatives quite often. This will help you remain positive and happy all the time.
Facing Digestion Issues? This Quick After-Meal Mix Can Help You!
Has it been long since digestive issues have been interfering with your health? Poor digestion is undoubtedly a sign of poor health and there is something that you must do about it . We have previously spoken about different kinds of foods that can help improve digestion. In this article, we will talk about an after-meal digestive mix suggested by lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho. This digestive mix consists of simple ingredients which can be easily found in Indian households. This after-meal digestive needs 5 ingredients, namely fennel seeds, sesame seeds, chopped almonds, flax, and ajwain. All these foods are popular for their benefits on digestive health.
Here are some benefits of Luke Coutinho’s after-meal digestive mix:
1. Fennel seeds: Fennel seeds are commonly consumed after meals. Many restaurants provide fennel seeds after food. Fennel seeds are highly popular for their digestive benefits. They can also help in getting relief from flatulence, painful periods, boosting metabolism, regulating blood sugar and improving hydration.
2. Sesame seeds: Dietary fibre in sesame seeds help in improving digestion. They provide your body with the required fibre which is needed for improving digestion. Fibre helps in improving gut bacteria. 100 gm of sesame seeds contain around 12 g of fibre. This amount, when combined with other fibre-rich foods, can restore digestive system in the body.
3. Almonds: Almonds too are rich in fibre. When consumed in the appropriate quantities, almonds can help in improving digestive health. Almonds can provide beneficial gut bacteria. Vitamin -E rich almonds are great for heart health and eye health.
4. Flax: Flax seeds are loaded with nutrients like protein, carbs, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins and much more. Content of dietary fibre in flax seeds can be beneficial for your digestive health. Including flax seeds in your diet can assure regular bowel movements.
5. Ajwain: Chewing ajwain or carom seeds can help in easing gas and flatulence. Carom seeds are full of thymol which helps in secreting gastric juices that aid digestion. For years, ajwain has been used a home remedy for curing indigestion. You can consume it in small quantities as it tastes slightly spicy.
For preparing Luke Coutinho’s after-meal digestive mix, you simply need to mix all of the above ingredients in a glass jar. A teaspoon of this mix after your meals every day can bring significant improvement to your digestion.
(Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative Medicine)
Know how to counter ill effects of long-time sitting
These are the findings of a recent study which appear in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The results highlight the importance of movement — regardless of its intensity or amount of time spent moving — for better health.
“Our findings underscore an important public health message that physical activity of any intensity provides health benefits,” said lead author Keith Diaz of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
About one in four adults spends more than eight hours a day sitting, according to a recent study.
In a previous paper, Diaz and his team discovered that adults who sat for long stretches at a time — an hour or more without interruption — had a greater risk of early death than those who were sedentary for the same total amount of time but got up and moved around more often.
They also found that people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death, suggesting that taking movement breaks every half-hour could lower your risk of death.
But just how intense, and for how long, does the physical activity need to be to counter the ill effects of sitting?
The study found that replacing just 30 minutes of sitting with low-intensity physical activity would lower the risk of early death by 17 per cent, a statistically significant decrease. Swapping the same amount of sitting for moderate to vigorous activity would be twice as effective, cutting the risk of early death by 35 per cent. The researchers also found that short bursts of activity — of just a minute or two — provided a health benefit.
“If you have a job or lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting, you can lower your risk of early death by moving more often, for as long as you want and as your ability allows — whether that means taking an hour-long high-intensity spin class or choosing lower-intensity activities, like walking,” Diaz said.