Evidence Suggests Intermittent Fasting Could Improve Cognitive Function

Written by Dr. Jonathan Peterson, Updated on April 6th, 2021

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Everyone knows that a smart and healthy diet is one of the most important factors in looking and feeling your best. What may not be apparent is that when you eat can also be very important.

For example, when you eat a big meal late at night, it disrupts your digestive system, leading you to burn fewer calories and compartmentalize more as fat. If you're interested in super-charging your wellness, you may consider adopting a strategy of Intermittent Fasting to improve your vitality.


Intermittent Fasting is less of a diet strategy and more of an eating pattern. It's not about what you eat (though that's still important) but when. Two of the most common forms of Intermittent Fasting involve daily 16 hour fasts or two weekly 16 hour fasts.

Intermittent Fasting allows our bodies to generate energy from stored fat and not rely so heavily on calories we intake. Eating too much and too often can lead to Insulin Resistance and even Diabetes. Intermittent Fasting helps take the strain off of these essential systems and put the body in a more natural state of energy generation.

Intermittent Fasting and Human Growth Hormone

One of the biggest benefits of Intermittent Fasting is that it increases the natural production of Human Growth Hormone. HGH is a powerful metabolic hormone that helps unleash the energy from our cells and also provides a whole host of benefits. It may also be a portion of the reason why recent studies provide evidence that Intermittent Fasting has a positive effect on memory and cognition.

Intermittent Fasting and Memory

There have been recent studies conducted on laboratory mice to study how Intermittent Fasting may impact cognition. In a Chinese study, researchers found that Intermittent Fasting strengthened specific important structures in the brain and also improved their performance on certain tests designed to test memory in rodents.

Another study published last year from Singapore also offers promising evidence that Intermittent Fasting could benefit the human mind. In this study, mice were forced to fast sixteen hours per day. Scientists discovered that the rodents experienced a significant increase in neurogenesis resulting from an extended period of Intermittent Fasting.

Neurogenesis refers to the development and growth of new neurons in the brain. Most neurogenesis occurs in early development, but some change occurs throughout the lifespan.

This study analyzed the effects of Intermittent Fasting on the Hippocampus. Think of the Hippocampus as the cognitive control center. This part of the brain helps us navigate the world, and it also allows us to store and utilize both short and long-term memory. In this study, rodents were divided into four groups.

The control group ate at-will, and the other groups were put on fast for 12, 16, and 24 hours alternating fast. All three groups experienced increased neurogenesis as compared to control, but the 16-hour fast produced the best results.

Protect the Brain with Intermittent Fasting

The Hippocampus is also one of the first parts of the brain to falter in the case of Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. Increased neurogenesis can help mitigate, delay or even one day halt the progression of these destructive disorders.

If you're interested in sharpening your mind in the short-term and protecting yourself from a neurological decline in the future, intermittent Fasting may be a valuable tool to help you improve your life!

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