In the first human clinical trial of its kind, 100 adult participants aged 20-70 were placed on 3 monthly rounds of a 5-day fasting-mimicking diet.
Results showed reductions in multiple cardiovascular risk factors (e.g. blood pressure, inflammation), weight, waistlines, and total body fat. In turn, this reduced the participants risk for developing disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other age-related diseases.
Dr. Valter Longo, director of the University of Southern California Longevity Institute explains,
“This study provides evidence that people can experience significant health benefits through a periodic, fasting-mimicking diet that is designed to act on the aging process. Prior studies have indicated a range of health benefits in mice, but this is the first randomized clinical trial with enough participants to demonstrate that the diet is feasible, effective and safe for humans.”
The fasting-mimicking regimen included eating foods provided by L-Nutra, a nutrition company which specializes in this diet, 5 days a month for 3 months. Participants consumed between 750 to 1,100 calories a day, and meals contained portions of all food groups including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
On average, participants lost 6 pounds over the 3 month period. In addition, their waistlines reduced by 1 to 2 inches and their blood pressure dropped by an average of 4.5 mmHG systolic and 3.1 mmHG diastolic. Their IGF-1 levels, a metabolic hormone which increases the risk of cancer, also dropped by an average of 22 ng/mL to 46.2 ng/mL.
Most importantly, benefits were retained even after participants returned to their normal diets three months later, and were most beneficial for participants who were more at risk for developing these aforementioned diseases, such as those who were obese or diabetic.
The researchers suggest that these benefits may be resulting from a multi-system rejuvenation at both a cellular and organ level, and conclude that future larger FDA-approved studies should take place in order to confirm whether the fasting-mimicking diet can be used as a preventative measure.