Document Type

Review Article


Intermittent fasting (IF) can facilitate neurodegenerative, neuroadaptive and neuroprotective processes leading to profound effects on cognition and dementias. The impact that IF has on the central nervous system is still not fully known. Several factors come into likely effect including changes in energy metabolism, oxidative damage, insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and functional changes related to various neurotransmitters and hormones. During IF ketones are produced in large quantities and the brain consumes these for energy. The presence of ketone bodies increases the expression of the genes for brain derived neurotrophic factor which has a powerful effect on dementia and cognition. Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus, the striatum, and cerebral cortex affects learning capabilities and memory. This process is enhanced by IF. IF also has multiple effects on the endocrine wellbeing, including control of hypertension, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. In ancient times, fasting was a common practice but with recent cellular studies the beneficial effects on the brain of IF are being truly proven. In a world of costly health care with an increase in neurological disorders, IF could be an effective therapy that is multi targeted, self-controlled and cost free .Further research is required to question the effect of IF in the long-term and whether pharmaceuticals can come up with safer medication options that imitate the effects of IF without a drastic change in the eating patterns.

Included in

Neurology Commons