A Guide To Intermittent Fasting To Heal Your Gut

While IF has a wide variety of well-known health benefits, its gut health benefits are often overlooked. When you fast, you are giving your gut a much-needed rest—a point I cover in depth in my book, Intuitive Fasting: The Flexible Four-Week Intermittent Fasting Plan.

Let’s examine the ways that intermittent fasting can improve gut health, as well as when you should or shouldn’t fast and who may not benefit from IF.

3 Ways Fasting Can Improve Gut Health

When patients ask me how fasting can improve gut health, I have to stop myself from saying, “Everything!” Seriously, though, the evidence is clear — IF benefits your metabolism, microbiome, and inflammation.

One of the mechanisms behind fasting’s incredible benefits is autophagy, the automatic “cleaning” process your cells use to get rid of what they no longer need. This is one reason for many of the effects of intermittent fasting, but have a specific impact on how well the cells of your gut lining get and stay healthy.

LISTEN: Gwyneth Paltrow x Dr. Will Cole: Intuitive Eating, Intermittent Fasting, Inflammation

Benefit #1: Microbiome Diversity

Intermittent fasting is great for human gut microbiome diversity. The microbiome is made of trillions of microorganisms, and microbial diversity is vital for gut health, immune health, and overall health.

A balanced microbiome is important for gut health and overall wellness, and IF positively impacts gut microbe diversity and richness. (1)

Research has repeatedly shown that poor gut bacteria diversity is more common in obese people. (2) Fasting reduces the risk of obesity and may even help with body weight loss.

Benefit #2: Gut Inflammation

I find in my patients that systemic inflammation typically begins in the gastrointestinal system. Fortunately, one of intermittent fasting’s primary benefits is reduced inflammation. (3)

While fasting lowers gut-specific inflammation in inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, it can also lower inflammatory markers like IL-6 and CRP that contribute to inflammation and immune system dysfunction in other areas of the body. (4)

Read Next: Functional Guide To Gut Health

Benefit #3: Gut-Metabolism Connection

Metabolic health problems take root in the gut. Recent studies show that intermittent fasting can improve not only obesity and glucose dysfunction (both metabolic diseases) but also energy metabolism. (5)

Research also shows that fasting can reduce the absorption of bacterial endotoxins linked to insulin resistance and other metabolic problems. (6)

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