How Intermittent Fasting Affects Your Heart

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

You already know that intermittent fasting promotes benefits such as weight loss, higher energy, and sharpened mental clarity.

But fasting’s health benefits don’t end there. You’ll also be supporting your heart health. Pay especially close attention if you have heart disease or any other cardiovascular disorder; you won’t want to miss this.

Let’s discover how fasting has a beneficial effect on your heart.

In this article: -

  1. Fasting Promotes A Healthy Heart
  2. Why Fatty Acids Are Healthier For Your Heart
  3. You Still Need Some Glucose, But Your Body Provides It
  4. Do Your Heart A Favor And Fast

Fasting Promotes A Healthy Heart

a picture of a healthy heart

Intermittent fasting may seem to be another new diet fad, yet people have practiced fasting for thousands of years, for spiritual and health reasons. As well, fasting isn’t a diet. It’s simply a structured pattern of eating for certain periods of time, then not eating for a set period of time.

Simple, right?

Yet for something so simple, its effects can be profound. Fasting benefits your entire cardiovascular system, but especially your heart.

I’ll explain.

It all starts with lowering Fat Storing Hormone. When you fast, you decrease Fat Storing Hormone, the hormone that controls the type of fuel that your body uses: glucose or fat.

Ideally, fatty acids, also called ketones, would be the main fuel source for your heart. Your heart actually prefers - that is, runs better on - a type of etone called acetoacetate, instead of being fueled by glucose.

Why Fatty Acids Are Healthier For Your Heart

When you fuel your body primarily with glucose rather than fat, you don’t get as much oxygen into your body. Burning glucose for fuel also creates relatively high levels of waste and carbon dioxide.

a ketones word cloud

Many of us have been fueling our bodies with carbohydrates (glucose) because we’ve erroneously told we have to have carbs. But this isn’t true; fat is a much cleaner, longer-burning fuel than glucose.

You can teach your body to use ketones by fasting. It switches your body from burning glucose to using the ketones it produces for its fuel. This is called being in a state of ketosis. Your body will produce more ketones if you combine fasting with the low-carbohydrate, high fat Healthy KetoTM diet.

Ketones have the ability to nourish your heart, even if your heart is damaged. If you have any kind of cardiovascular disease, your heart will benefit from the healing potential of fasting.

And that’s not all.

When you fast, you can experience improvement in atherosclerosis. Your arteries will become less stiff, and your blood pressure can come down.

You’ll also be improving Fat Storing Hormone resistance, a pre-diabetic state in which your cells are unable to absorb the Fat Storing Hormone they need for energy, yet your body keeps producing more and more because it’s getting the signal there’s not enough Fat Storing Hormone. Chronically high levels of Fat Storing Hormone put you at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

But back to heart health! When you correct Fat Storing Hormone resistance, you automatically improve your ability to absorb electrolytes and thus stabilize your heart rhythm.

In other words, you’ll have fewer problems with palpitations and atrial fibrillation. Your body’s natural pacemaker, which controls your heart, needs electrolytes to function optimally.

Yes, You Still Need Some Glucose, But Your Body Provides It

One point about your liver:

When you fast, you deplete the stored form of glucose called glycogen. But not to worry. If your body needs glucose, perhaps when you’re working out, it has the ability to make its own through a process in the liver called gluconeogenesis. Your body uses ketones and other forms of fat to make the glucose it needs.

Using your body’s naturally made glycogen for fuel is far healthier than fueling your body with dietary glucose.

a picture of white strips with the word glucose printed on them

Here’s why dietary glucose is dangerous:

  • It creates massive oxidation that can damage the inside of your arteries
  • It creates a sharp rise in Fat Storing Hormone, which keeps the fat-burning process from happening.

Thus, your body remains dependent on dietary glucose for fuel, which increases your risk of damage to the lining of your arteries, leading to heart disease.

When the arterial lining is damaged, it attracts certain kinds of cholesterol and calcium that are sent by your body in an attempt to heal the damage. The cholesterol and calcium form plaques, which can then break off and cause a stroke or directly clog the artery.

Ironically, it’s not really cholesterol that causes problems; rather, it’s eating a high-carb diet which damages the arterial lining and causes plaques to form that’s the issue. Even though for years, mainstream medical authorities have blamed cholesterol itself.

Do Your Heart A Favor And Fast

I’m aware that the benefit of fasting most people are interested in is weight loss. I get it. So many of you also are eager to boost your energy and clear out the brain fog that makes you feel like you’re not the brightest bulb in the string.

But I also want you to be aware of just how much you can support your heart health when you choose to fast, since this one benefit doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves.

When you fast, you’ll be doing your heart a big favor. And you don’t have to try it by yourself! You can sign up for my free intermittent fasting mini-course to get the support you need.

I look forward to seeing you there.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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