Fasting & Cognitive Performance (2021)

This study explored fasting & cognitive performance. It identified that biological ageing is a process which is accelerated and exacerbated by excessive calories and a sedentary lifestyle. Further, these factors combined may increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases. This systematic review explored the role of different types of IF (intermittent fasting) on cognitive function, with specific focus on BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) as a marker. Reduction of levels of BDNF has been associated with cognitive decline and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, reductions in BDNF may result in a reduction in synaptic plasticity, memory and learning.

The study accepted and appraised 82 papers. Key findings were:

IF modulated BDNF supporting synaptic maturation and function

Primary evidence demonstrates pro-cognitive and neuroprotective effects of IF and BDNF

Sex specific differences were observed in response to IF

IF was suggested to be supportive for brain health and sustaining cognitive performance into old age, although it was identified further research is required into this area

The abstract is available here:

Seidler, K., & Barrow, M. (2021). Intermittent fasting and cognitive performance – Targeting BDNF as potential strategy to optimise brain health. Frontiers in neuroendocrinology65, 100971. Advance online publication.