December 2019 - Wakunaga of America

What is Intermittent Fasting?

We wanted to dive into this diet and break down what it is, how it works, and its pros and cons, so that you will have all information necessary to decide if this is something that you would like to try.

What is Intermittent Fasting

When was the last time you fasted…on purpose. If you’re like me, when you first read about this diet, your gut reaction was probably along the lines of “why would I ever want to purposely fast! That sounds horrible.” As it turns out, there are some pretty clear benefits to intermittent fasting. Fasting can be very beneficial for weight loss, focus, energy, and the promotion of less insulin resistance in the individual.

The newest fasting diet trend is called Intermittent Fasting. This type of fasting pushes your fasting window from a regular 12 hour fasting window (the amount of time between dinner and the next day’s breakfast) to anywhere between 14 and 20 hours1. Sounds pretty extreme, right? But each of us usually “fasts” everyday while we sleep. Intermittent fasting can be as simple as extending this a little longer.

With intermittent fasting, you are not actually cutting calories, you are simply shifting them to later in the day. If you normally eat 2,000 calories/day, you won’t all of a sudden decrease down to 1,500 calories, you will just push your 2,000 calories closer together. You eat more per meal but with less meals, while keeping your caloric intake the same.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Here are some of the benefits typically experienced while intermittent fasting:

  • Weight loss: Intermittent fasting may drive weight loss by lowering insulin levels. The body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which cells use for energy or convert into fat and store for later use. Insulin is a hormone that allows cells to take in glucose. Insulin levels drop when a person is not eating. During a period of fasting, it is possible that decreasing insulin levels can cause cells to release their glucose stores as energy2. Repeating this process regularly, like with intermittent fasting, may lead to weight loss.
  • Lower cholesterol: According to a study published in Obesity magazine, intermittent fasting may help lower total cholesterol, as well as LDL (bad) cholesterol, when done in combination with endurance exercise. The researchers in this study also noticed that intermittent fasting reduced the presence of triglycerides, which are fats found in the blood that can lead to stroke, heart attack, or heart disease3.
  • Reduced insulin resistance: Intermittent fasting may also help stabilize blood sugar levels in people with diabetes because it resets insulin, though more research is needed. The idea is that restricting calories may improve insulin resistance, which is a marker of type 2 diabetes. Fasting encourages insulin levels to fall, which may play a role in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes, notes a study published in Nutrients magazine4.

These benefits sound all well and good, but what about the drawbacks? Well, a very notable aspect of this diet is its dropout rate. In a recent study evaluating intermittent fasting, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine magazine, 38% of the 100 people involved in the study dropped out5. It is a tough diet to stick too. There is also a strong biological “push” to want to overeat after a fasting period, which could derail progress pretty quickly. Also, someone who would like to start this diet will need very strong willpower, along with a strong social support system to endure these fasting periods long-term.

One of the top tips for those embarking on the intermittent fasting journey is to make sure that you are still getting all of your vital nutrients in. You may need to add a supplement or two to your day-to-day routine, just to be safe. We recommend adding a powdered green drink mix to aid with digestion and help keep your immunity on track. A quality probiotic can also be helpful too, especially one with enzymes, which can help assist the body’s natural ability to break down proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and dairy into absorbable nutritional elements.

If you are considering intermittent fasting, make sure to discuss it with your doctor. Skipping meals can be dangerous to people with certain conditions.

References

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennifercohen/2018/06/01/the-trendiest-diets-of-2018-will-they-work-for-you/#11f979dd3aca
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323605.php#weight-loss
  3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/possible-intermittent-fasting-benefits/
  4. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/possible-intermittent-fasting-benefits/
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/not-so-fast-pros-and-cons-of-the-newest-diet-trend

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Urinary Tract Health and the Aging Bladder

As people get older, the bladder changes. This could mean more bladder infections, urinary incontinence, and urinary tract infections.1 As we age, the capacity of the bladder reduces, and it becomes more “reactive,” meaning that when the urge comes on, it’s very sudden, and can feel very strong. People with aging bladders may also experience incontinence, increased frequency of urination, and may get up more at night to go to the bathroom. Overactive bladder affects an estimated 40 percent of women, according to the Urology Care Foundation2. Let’s take a look at your urinary system, and how it normally operates.

How Your Urinary System Functions

We are just going to start with a basic refresher on how your urinary tract works, so that we are all on the same page. Your kidneys produce urine, which is stored in the bladder. The bladder is relaxed when it is empty, but when it gets full, nerve signals in your brain make you feel like you need to urinate. Then, when it is actually time to urinate, your brain signals your bladder muscles to contract, forcing urine out of your urethra. When your urinary system is functioning normally, you can usually hold off on urinating for a while. But when we age, our neurological signaling changes, affecting our ability to delay things3.

With an overactive bladder, you may experience incontinence, or accidental urination. This happens when the brain isn’t processing signals well enough to inhibit the bladder muscle contraction, and the bladder empties involuntarily. The bladder’s capacity also changes with aging too. Your capacity can go from holding 500 cc of urine in your 20s and 30s, to 200 cc (5-7 oz) in your 50s4. While these changes are normal with aging and the body’s shifts over time, it doesn’t mean that you’re destined to suffer from bladder issues. Here are some tips you can follow, to keep your bladder as healthy and high functioning as possible.

Top Bladder Health Tips

  1. Drink water! For the most part, everyone should be trying to drink six to eight, 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Water really is the best fluid for bladder health.
  2. Use the bathroom often and when needed. Holding urine in your bladder for too long can weaken your bladder muscles and make a bladder infection more likely.
  3. Do pelvic floor exercises. Have you ever heard of Kegel exercises? These are exercises that men and women can do to that help strengthen the muscles that hold urine in your bladder. Daily exercises can strengthen these muscles, which can help urine from leaking when you sneeze, cough, or laugh.
  4. Wipe front to back. Wipe front to back after using the toilet, especially women, to keep bacteria from getting into the urethra, which can lead to infection.

How to Keep UTIs at Bay

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common types of infection in older adults, especially women (though men can get them too!). UTIs often result when urine pools in the bladder, making it the perfect spot for bacteria to grow. Pooling may be caused by an obstructed urinary flow – from an enlarged prostate in a man or a descended bladder in a woman5. Or a UTI can happen if “bad” bacteria cling to the urethra and find their way into the bladder. There are a few things you can do, though, that may help to ward off UTIs. The first is to invest in a quality probiotic geared towards urinary tract health. Probiotics contain certain colonies of “good” bacteria, and some evidence suggests that probiotics may help prevent UTIs by keeping “bad” bacteria from growing in the vagina. It is even better if the probiotics contains cranberry, for reasons you’ll see bulleted below. Make sure that the probiotic contains 100% cranberry fruit extract, and doesn’t use any solvents, preservatives, sugar, water, or added flavorings. Also try to consume more of these foods below:

  • Cranberries: These may help prevent UTIs by keeping bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract
  • Foods containing Vitamin C: This can help make the urine more acidic, which may prevent bacteria from growing.

If you’re having troubling controlling your bladder, make an appointment with your doctor. They can help diagnose the cause of your symptoms, discuss treatment options, and ultimately help you regain control of your bladder.

References

  1. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/13-tips-keep-your-bladder-healthy
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/bladder-control
  3. https://www.verywellhealth.com/tips-for-keeping-your-urinary-system-healthy-3300090
  4. https://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/how-your-bladder-changes-you-age
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/stay-a-step-ahead-of-urinary-tract-infections

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.