Did you hear about Silicon Valley "biohackers"? It's a community of high tech workers who fast and avoid carbohydrates for better brain functioning.
I've seen noticeable improvements in cognitive function – feeling more sharp with increased mental energy.
From Business Insider:
In Silicon Valley, whole groups of self-optimization-obsessed biohackers meet to collectively break their fast once a week, and executives at companies like Facebook say fasting has helped them lose weight and have more energy.
From The Star:
Does Silicon Valley know something we don’t? Other than all our personal information, pin numbers and Google searches, that is? Possibly, say some doctors who are endorsing fasting...
More and more executives are using Intermittent Fasting as a means to improve health and boost productivity. Let's listen to Phil Libin, CEO All Turtles, former CEO Evernote (from his interview to The Guardian):
There's a mild euphoria. I'm in a much better mood, my focus is better, and there's a constant supply of energy. I just feel a lot healthier. It's helping me be a better CEO. Getting into fasting is definitely one of the top two or three most important things I've done in my life.
...on the days that they are not eating, they get more done in the office. They experience an enhanced sense of mental agility and are better able to focus on their work. They call themselves WeFast, an online community of so-called biohackers who believe that by tinkering with the biology of the human body, we can lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. Studies have found that different forms of fasting can have a powerful effect on the human body. They result in a vast array of changes, at a cellular level, affecting many metabolic systems, such as fuelling the brain and the way the body deals with stress. And while the evidence of the impact on work performance is anecdotal, many people who adhere to fasting regimes... report that they experience a heightened sense of alertness – similar to a runner's high. Laboratory studies suggest that biochemical changes in the brain could be the root cause. Mark Mattson, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, says his research suggests they lead to improved cognitive abilities. It is thought that people experience a greater sense of wellbeing when they start to burn body fat instead of carbohydrates from food...
Intermittent Fasting improves your brain power by creating more brain cells. According to Dr Mark Mattson, a professor of Neurology at John Hopkins University, fasting has been shown to increase rates of neurogenesis in the brain. Neurogenesis is the growth and development of new brain cells and nerve tissues. Higher rates of neurogenesis are linked increase brain performance, memory, mood, and focus. One particular study showed that intermittent fasting (the researchers used a 16:8 schedule in the study) stimulated the production of new brain cells.
Intermittent Fasting boosts production of an important protein called Brain-Derived NeuroTrophic Factor (BDNF) which boosts memory, improves mood and learning. BDNF protects existing brain cells, and also governs and stimulates the formation of new neurons and the development of synapses and new connections (lines of communication) within the brain. Higher levels of BDNF lead to healthier neurons and better communication processes between these neurological cells (source). Low levels of BDNF are linked to dementia, memory loss and other brain processing problems (source). BDNF has been shown to play a role in neuroplasticity, which allows the brain to continue to change and adapt. It makes your brain more resilient to stress and more adaptable to change. Intermittent fasting has been shown to boost BDNF by 50–400%! From Newsweek:
The brain cells of mice who regularly fast may grow more than usual once they get food again, according to research presented at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in November and first reported by New Scientist. One particular protein may be behind the growth: brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In humans, BDNF may be involved in learning and memory. Levels of this protein tend to decline as a person gets older, especially if someone is diagnosed with a disease that can affect cognitive functions like Alzheimer's. However, levels of this protein increase by up to 50 percent in mice that have been fasting.
Intermittent Fasting works wonders not alone but together with carbohydrates removal, so please read the book "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar - Your Brain's Silent Killers" (epub). The book describes both the aspects very intriguingly - MUST READ!!! And now, please watch these short videos:
THINK TODAY ABOUT TOMORROW
Intermittent Fasting is not only a cognitive enhancer now - it can forestall cognitive decline in the future. It protects neurons from genetic and environmental stress factors during aging (source), increases insulin sensitivity, which benefits neurons that stimulate the production of enzymes that help cells cope with stress and fight against disease (source), can reduce issues with brain function and neurodegenerative disorders caused by inflammation (source), affects energy and oxygen radical metabolism, and cellular stress response systems, in ways that protect neurons against genetic and environmental factors to which they would otherwise succumb during aging (source).
A good review on the evidence suggesting dementia is a result of brain insulin resistance. Give your brain a break from glucose by feeding it ketones (if you don't know what ketones are, please read that):