The Transformative Power of Intermittent Fasting: Insights from Mattson, Longo, and Harvie's Study

Oct. 31, 2023 by Ava Green

The Transformative Power of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) is not just another fleeting health fad. It's a practice deeply rooted in the history of various cultures and religions.

But it's the scientific world that has recently begun unraveling its profound impact on health and disease processes. The groundbreaking study by Mark P. Mattson, Valter D. Longo, and Michelle Harvie published in "Ageing Research Reviews" offers a comprehensive look at how IF influences the human body.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting involves cycles of eating and fasting periods. Unlike diet plans that specify what to eat, IF focuses on when to eat. It includes various approaches, such as alternate-day fasting, the 5:2 method (eating normally for five days and reducing calorie intake for two days), and daily time-restricted feeding windows.

The Science Behind Fasting

The study suggests that IF induces a metabolic switch. During fasting periods, the body shifts from utilizing glucose to fatty acids and ketones as primary energy sources. This switch seems to trigger adaptive cellular stress responses, which enhance resistance to toxins and stressors.

Impact on Health

  1. Weight Management: IF contributes to weight loss and fat reduction while preserving muscle mass.
  2. Brain Health: The study suggests that IF can foster neural health by enhancing cognitive function and resilience to neurological stress.
  3. Cardiovascular Health: Improved heart health, including reduced resting heart rate and blood pressure, is associated with IF practices.
  4. Diabetes and Insulin Resistance: IF can improve insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  5. Cancer: Although more research is needed, preliminary data suggest that IF might slow down the progression of certain cancers.
  6. Longevity: Animal studies indicate that IF can extend lifespan. While more human studies are needed, the signs are promising.

Potential Side Effects

The study also acknowledges possible side effects, particularly during the initial phase of IF. These may include hunger, irritability, and a temporary decrease in concentration.


The study by Mattson, Longo, and Harvie reveals that intermittent fasting goes beyond mere weight loss. It's a lifestyle change that potentially offers multiple health benefits, impacting how our body fights diseases and ages. However, it's essential to approach IF with consideration of individual health conditions and preferably under medical guidance.


Mattson, M.P., Longo, V.D., Harvie, M. (2016). Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Ageing Research Reviews, 39, 46-58. Source