How can the fasting mimicking diet help decrease your cardiometabolic disease risk?

  • by: Fondazione Valter Longo Onlus Editorial Staff
  • June 8th, 2022

There are numerous factors that can raise your chances of developing heart disease. Although some of these factors can’t be changed such as age, ethnicity and genetics, the good news is that you can control a lot of other modifiable risk factors.

Despite the well-established association between poor dietary habits and an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, researchers are searching for less invasive nutrition-based interventions for the molecular pathways that produce the negative health impacts.

A new study published in Nutrients aimed to investigate if the 5-day fasting mimicking diet (fmd) affects the plasma level of a metabolite, whose high levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases in healthy individuals. This metabolite is called Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) and is a gut microbiota-derived metabolite synthesized in host organisms from specific food constituents such as animal derived products. In addition, changes in cholesterol and bile acid metabolism and activation of inflammatory pathways are all linked to TMAO’s promotion of fatty deposits in the arteries.

In the study, two groups where compared: one with a 5-day fmd and the other with a regular diet with increased vegetable intake diet for 5 days. The aim was to investigate whether a regular diet with an increase in vegetable intake or the fmd have similar effects on TMAO levels as well as metabolic markers such as fasting glucose levels and triglycerides. The results showed that the 5-day fmd group showed a more evident decrease in TMAO, fasting glucose levels and C-peptide levels than the high vegetable intake diet group. These results in the fmd group in return contributed to a better insulin sensitivity.

What is new about this study?

The study showed that the fmd could potentially be a viable strategy to reduce plasma levels of TMAO, which is a diet-derived cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk biomarker. In addition, the authors of the study suggested that this reduction in TMAO along with the improvement of fasting glucose levels and the general metabolic status in healthy individuals are achieved by limiting the caloric intake and animal-derived protein consumption that is represented by the fmd, rather than increased vegetable intake. Similarly In 2017, Wei et al., have suggested that patients that underwent fmd in comparison with those with an unrestricted diet, showed a potential benefit in lowering metabolic markers such as fasting glucose, triglycerides, and low-density lipoproteins. Therefore, lowering their risk of developing related diseases.

This shows that there could be an additional benefit to the fmd for people who are at high risk of developing heart disease.

Sources:

Videja M, Sevostjanovs E, Upmale-Engela S, Liepinsh E, Konrade I, Dambrova M. Fasting-Mimicking Diet Reduces Trimethylamine N-Oxide Levels and Improves Serum Biochemical Parameters in Healthy Volunteers. Nutrients. 2022;14(5):1093. Published 2022 Mar 5. doi:10.3390/nu14051093

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