Nutrients, Vol. 14, Pages 4216: Intermittent Fasting—Short- and Long-Term Quality of Life, Fatigue, and Safety in Healthy Volunteers: A Prospective, Clinical Trial
Nutrients doi: 10.3390/nu14194216
Mona W. Schmidt
Marco J. Battista
Karl J. Lackner
Background: Intermittent fasting (IF) is defined as an eating pattern without calorie restrictions, alternating between periods of fasting and eating. In the past decades IF has not only become a popular weight-reducing diet but is thought to improve Quality of Life (QoL) and fatigue. However, very little evidence exists for the general population. Thus, we aimed to assess the impact of a 16-h fasting period per day over a three-month study period on QoL and especially fatigue in healthy people. Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study including healthy subjects. All participants fasted 16 h for at least five days a week while maintaining their normal lifestyle. In the study, we analysed blood samples as well as QoL through standardized questionnaires (WHO-5 questionnaire, Short Form Health 36). Furthermore, we measured the degree of fatigue with the Fatigue Assessment Scale (FAS) and Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) as well as compliance, activity records, and weight alterations. All endpoints were evaluated at baseline, after two weeks, four weeks, and three months of IF. Results: A total of 30 participants fasted for the entire study period. The results of the WHO-5 questionnaire (15.6 &plusmn; 4.6 vs. 18 &plusmn; 3.6, p &lt; 0.0019) demonstrated a significant increase in QoL. For long-term QoL six out of eight domains measured by the Short Form Health 36 (SF-36) significantly improved (e.g., physical health: 92.3 &plusmn; 11.6 vs. 96.5 &plusmn; 6.3, p = 0.015; mental health: 75.5 &plusmn; 12.0 vs. 81.7 &plusmn; 9.0; p &lt; 0.001 and body pain: 74.1 &plusmn; 31.8 vs. 89.5 &plusmn; 14.9; p = 0.008) after three months. Fatigue significantly decreased from 10.3 &plusmn; 3.2 to 8.4 &plusmn; 2.5; p = 0.002 for mental fatigue and from 12.6 &plusmn; 3.8 to 10.7 &plusmn; 3.3; p = 0.002 measured by the FAS. The mean FSS-Score at baseline was 3.5 &plusmn; 1.2 compared to 2.9 &plusmn; 1.1 (scale 1&ndash;7) after three months (p &lt; 0.001). Notably, the proliferation marker IGF-1 was significantly reduced. No clinically significant changes in laboratory parameters were observed that would have endangered a participant&rsquo;s safety. Conclusions: IF according to the 16:8 regime over a fasting period of three months significantly improved several aspects of the QoL and decreased fatigue in healthy people, while maintaining a good safety profile. The practicability of this diet was also demonstrated for shift workers and people with a high percentage of active labour. Apart from the improvement in QoL and fatigue, the significant reduction in IGF-1, which can act as an accelerator of tumour development and progression, might be an indicator of the potential benefits of IF for patients with cancer.
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