Many people adopt intermittent fasting as a diet to reduce their weight, but a new US study found that this diet may help increase longevity in cardiac catheterization patients.
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to diagnose and treat certain cardiovascular conditions. During cardiac catheterization, a long thin tube called a catheter is inserted in an artery or vein in your groin, neck or arm and threaded through your blood vessels to your heart.
Using this catheter, doctors can then do diagnostic tests, or treat diseases such as coronary angioplasty and coronary stenting.
In a new study by researchers at the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, researchers asked 2,000 patients undergoing cardiac catheterization from 2013 to 2015 a series of lifestyle questions, including whether or not they practiced routine intermittent fasting.
Researchers then followed up with those patients 4.5 years later and found that routine fasters had greater survival rate than those who did not.
Findings from the study had been presented at the 2019 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia on November 16.
The same institute has previously conducted studies about risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease in patients and found that rates are lower in patients who practice routine intermittent fasting. Those studies were published in 2008 and 2012.
Why long-term intermittent fasting leads to better health outcomes is still largely unknown, but Dr. Benjamin Horne, the study lead author, said it could be a host of factors.
Fasting affects a person's levels of hemoglobin, red blood cell count, human growth hormone and lowers sodium and bicarbonate levels, while also activating ketosis and autophagy, as a natural response to low glucose levels, due to eating low-carbohydrate diets or fasting.
"All those factors lead to better heart health and specifically reduce risk of heart failure and coronary heart disease," he added.