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In this episode, Dr. Scott and Tommy discuss the latest research findings on how intermittent fasting affects cardiovascular health. With the rapidly growing concerns of obesity and heart disease, it is refreshing to see the widespread benefits of even minor changes to meal timing and the effects on blood markers, blood pressure, and overall cardiovascular health.
Malinowski B, Zalewska K, Węsierska A, et al. Intermittent Fasting in Cardiovascular Disorders-An Overview. Nutrients. 2019;11(3):673. Published 2019 Mar 20. doi:10.3390/nu11030673
Fasting For Life Ep 63
[00:00:01] Hello, I'm Dr. Scott Watier, and I'm Tommy Welling, and you're listening to the Fasting for Life podcast, and this podcast is about using fasting as a tool to regain your health, achieve ultimate wellness and live the life you truly deserve.
[00:00:15] Each episode is a short conversation on a single topic with immediate, actionable steps. We cover everything from fat loss on health and wellness to the science of lifestyle design.
[00:00:25] We started fasting for life because of how fasting has transformed our lives, and we hope to share the tools that we have learned along the way.
[00:00:40] Everyone that's got here, once you hop on real quick before we start with today's episode and let you know that our next challenge event, registration link is live. It is in the show notes for dates and additional information.
[00:00:54] You can also go to the fasting for life dot com forward slash live the fasting for life dot com forward slash live. And now to today's episode. Welcome to the Fasting for Life podcast. My name is Dr. Scott Watier and I'm here, as always, am a good friend and colleague, Tommy Welling. Good afternoon to you, sir. Hey, Scott, how are you? Rock and roll, my friend. As always, love podcast. Record Day makes us up. Our game makes us conversations. Listen to all the feedback and the amazing comments from all of our just incredible listeners. You guys are great. The fastest family crew. We've got a ton, a ton of different names for all y'all out there, but much love and appreciation for you guys listening and continuing the conversation with us and be on this journey as well. So I just I mean, I love podcast record day.
[00:01:43] And I think I think, you know, today is going to be a good one. I'll just go out on. Yeah. Yeah, I think so too. It's a big strong live, by the way. All right. I'm on it.
[00:01:55] Yeah. And I think you're usually hanging out on that on that limb and I like it. It's a good place. It's a it's a place where I can always find you. Yeah. I think it's I think it's good. It's just always it's always fun to, you know, to kind of push the envelope and see what else we can find that has an important connection. Points and implications for for real life, for fasting lifestyle and just kind of everything in between. So I'm excited to.
[00:02:25] So this is a big one and we'll get serious for a second here and I'll set the stage with kind of a State of the Union when it comes to overall health in this country. And you know why I won't tell the whole story, but why? Personally, this matters to me. I think you have a similar reference point as well. But the study we're going to be kind of kind of having a conversation around is a review study with ninety nine different references throughout. And it was done in the Journal of Nutrients. And it was just there's so many names and amazing docs on this and researchers on it. But I like that it's new and that it's robust and it really speaks to one of the most prevalent health related issues or health related conditions that we have in this country, which is heart health.
[00:03:27] Yeah, so I think I think heart health is is I mean, it's at it's at the core of everything.
[00:03:35] I mean, obviously, obviously being so important in the body. But I think we all know somebody who who's had issues, cardiovascular concerns if we don't have them ourselves. And I think that no matter what what age you are, that that this is going to speak to you.
[00:03:53] And the reality is this, and this was I was on this path, too, so I'm not speaking from a soapbox. I'm speaking from experience of getting my blood work done for life insurance and my blood pressure being high, my triglycerides being high, my cholesterol not being where it needed to be. Yet I was the health coach who's teaching other people to get well, but not being able to do it myself. Right. So right.
[00:04:11] And then seeing for me personally and it also hit home with my dad and my family and my family history and all those types of things. But the statistics don't lie.
[00:04:21] And one of the realizations is, you know, for me and doing hundreds of workshops and talks in churches and businesses and in my own practice, when I was in clinical practice over the years, it was always like, OK, we need to know where we are in order to get where we need to go.
[00:04:35] So the statistics don't lie, like if you're sitting in the room and it used to be fun, funny sometimes when women are much more proactive when it comes to their health. Right. So typically us guys are just kind of like me. I will be fine. It'll be fine. It'll be fine. And so when I was in clinical practice, 70 percent of our new patients were women and then the husbands would come in. And I'm not saying it's always that way, but our radar is not as we're not as intuitive to it. We kind of just put it off. Right. So we'd be sitting in these workshops, in these reports, and the wife would be there. She bring her husband and the husband was sitting there with his arms crossed, like just kind of looking, watching, judging a little bit. Right. And I literally look at that person in the room and it happened in every workshop I did. I was like, listen, if you're sitting in this room, you don't think this could be you or is going to be you, then that's the starting point. We need to have this conversation in that the statistics are real. And then if you don't do something different, you're going to end up becoming one of the statistics because the results speak for themselves. And when it comes to heart disease, those results are pretty scary in the fact that one person every 30 seconds dies from cardiovascular disease and six hundred and fifty five thousand Americans each year die from heart disease.
[00:05:48] That's one in every four people, right? That's twenty five percent. And the costs that are just staggering. Two hundred nineteen billion dollars a year. Right. And I mean, we're just looking at these numbers and it's like, you know, 18 million adults in the 20 age range have some form of cardio coronary artery disease, which is which is one of the main components of the family of heart diseases. And then you look at the heart attack numbers two. Eight hundred and five thousand Americans have heart attacks every year. And it's like six hundred of those. It's their first sign of heart disease. So in one in five are silent. So you're sitting here going, OK, guys, what the heck? This is a fasting podcast. Like what is going on? Like, I like I don't want to think about this. And my encouragement is for me it was personal because I knew I was on that path. I had my family history, my dad, as an example, who is now doing incredible. But heart disease is a real thing.
[00:06:47] And the amazing thing about this study, this review of these ninety nine different articles is that there's something you can actually do about it now.
[00:06:57] Yeah. And I think it's also important because just like you mentioned, like the numbers, the ages for these studies and for those statistics is getting younger and younger and younger because we look at these cardiovascular studies and now they're starting to talk about people in their in their 30s and their 40s when it used to be, oh, this is a study about people in their 60s and their 70s and their 80s that the numbers are coming down because as the overall health of our country in the world is is getting worse in general, we're seeing more and more prevalence of these adults at a younger age.
[00:07:30] I mean, I think this is so important.
[00:07:32] Yeah. And just for overall perspective, we're going to talk directly on the studies and the kind of the takeaways when it comes to using fasting, which is the main tool that you can do to start on doing some of this stuff. And not becoming one of those statistics is, you know, heart disease refers to several types of heart condition. So it's the most common is coronary artery disease, which can cause the heart attacks that we mentioned. Other kinds may involve the valves or the heart may not pump as well. Congestive heart failure. There's a small component of people that actually are born with a heart condition. That's not that's not really what we're talking about here. But, you know, anyone, including children nowadays. Right. Can even develop some form of heart disease. And that's really where you've got that plaque build up and that arthrosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes can increase your risk. So what we're talking about when it comes to fasting is, you know, not just preventing becoming one of these statistics, but preventing or undoing some of the stuff that we just mentioned. Like you don't have to end up being in that position, dealing with these things. And, you know, I don't know, Tommy, I know you were premed at one point and working in rehab clinics and working in a clinical setting. I was in a clinical setting and so many people would come in as their. Motivating factor of their why they were coming into the clinic was because they didn't want to end up like their grandfather or their mom or their dad or their aunt or their neighbor, because we all know someone that suffers with this stuff, right?
[00:09:05] Absolutely. I mean, cardiovascular disorders are just just so prevalent.
[00:09:11] And I mean, that's it's one of the things that I love about this study is just the fact that the implications are just so, so broadly applicable to to basically everybody and to start laying the groundwork for it when when they're doing this review, they were looking across multiple different fasting protocols. They're using research data that that utilized five two protocols, alternate day fasting or ADF protocols and multiple other time restricted feeding protocols. And basically just looking at those different fasting methodologies and how they related to different cardiovascular markers and different changes that occurred during during various fasting frequencies and protocols.
[00:10:03] Yeah. And I love that it wasn't just one type of fasting. Right. That was one of my favorite things about this, is it looked at so many different variations and the 16 eight window where you fast for 16 hours, you eat for pretty much you skip breakfast and you get between 12 and eight. Right. Right. The immediate effects on the cardiovascular system. So decreasing the plaque, build up the benefits for the diabetes type two patient, the immediate short term decrease in long term decrease in blood pressure, lipid changes. So increases in benefits in your cholesterol profile and your cholesterol panel and then also inflammation, which is the silent killer when it comes to heart disease. It's not just necessarily the cholesterol itself, but it's the oxidation of that cholesterol in the body that causes the issue. So. And we look at the overall benefits, I mean, we could just sit here for the next 30 minutes and talk about the benefits and I think I just want to highlight a few of them. And I know you had a couple of you wanted to highlight as well.
[00:11:06] I mean, I really like it when we start looking at the result profile and the result tables for the study. And we we look across various time frames anywhere from six weeks out to six months. But what we see consistently in the results was was decreases in the quote unquote, bad markers for cardiovascular disease. And, you know, starting from the beginning, one of the questions that we get sometimes is, well, my total cholesterol has gone up a little bit. And what we see in the results is that during during one of the six week studies, they did have an increase in total cholesterol. But as you got farther into into the the results, basically three months, six months, total cholesterol had decreased, LDL had decreased, and with with potential for for lower triglycerides as well across multiple different time frames. So just a lot of really, really good results encouraging over over a long term time frame, as you had mentioned, something in the prep for kind of going through this.
[00:12:17] And there's a lot in this one. Right. So it's always like we sit down, we're like, how can we apply this? How can this be a real life situation? Why does this matter? But you talked about the transition between that glucose to ketones, which over. Right, and there was a term that you had mentioned that you said to me that I can't recall top of my head right now, which is sad, but you said it. You're like, I really like that. And I was like, so do I. That's something I had not heard before.
[00:12:42] Yeah, I hadn't either. And it's called intermittent metabolic switching. So so literally that that. Yeah. Intermittent metabolic switching. So going going from the typical carbohydrate burning the the, the glucose, the like the electrolytic pathway changing over from a glucose metabolism over to the fat burning or the, the, the ketosis metabolism is referred to in this article and elsewhere in the literature apparently as intermittent metabolic switching, which, which makes sense because when we're, when we're even doing something like an 18 hour fast, we start to see an increase in ketones as the glycogen stores come down, as we kind of burn through the excess carbohydrates in the body during that that 18 hour period and then into the longer fast as well. So we we are going through the process of of switching over in the metabolism, and that's OK. And that's a good thing for it to to go back and forth during the process as we as we fast and then we break the fast and then we go back into our next fast.
[00:13:47] One of the short term things, too, is there was that short term increase in the triglycerides. Right. But if you will, that study as well was in the obese individuals or BMI 30 to 40. So we're talking like high level, lots of weight to lose. So you're going to have more adipocytes breaking down and more fatty acids being released into the body. So your body has to dispel that stuff. So we would naturally expect to see a shorter a short term kind of like Spike as we transition through what was the term again, intermittent metabolic switching, switching. Right. So it just all makes sense. And it's cool that, you know, personally, we've seen it. We see it in clients. We're seeing people reporting to us the changes that they see in their blood work and getting the weight off. Obviously, huge benefit when it comes to heart related issues. Right. I like going even deeper into it when we talk about the inflammatory component or the inflammatory, the anti inflammatory component of fasting, and I mentioned it earlier, where the inflammation, the oxidation of those cholesterols of those components in the body is what causes a lot of the damage and the plaques to form. So when we're looking at some of those markers, you're going to see things like six and C reactive protein and homocysteine. These are all things that promote inflammation. So even just outside of the heart related or the the the vasculature related, like the blood vessel related application here, influent inflammation sucks like being in pain all the time.
[00:15:20] If you've got arthritis, if you've got joint problems, if you've got degenerative changes in your knees or your hips or your ankles or your back or your neck, like you're going to be able to undo some of these this this high level of chronic inflammation.
[00:15:34] So you're just going to feel better. And that's one of the biggest things that we hear when people start fasting. And we had one of our challenges, one of our first challenges we did back in twenty twenty shows like, yeah, I'm all for my pain meds in like six weeks.
[00:15:46] Remember that. Yeah. Yeah I do remember that. That was amazing to see like four to six pain pills a day gone right now.
[00:15:53] What can I expect that in two weeks or. I, I think that was our month when we did a twenty eight day challenge. I think it was like at the end of those four weeks she's like, I'm off all of them. I was like hwo right. But we know that intermittent fasting has a huge positive effect on inflammatory biomarkers, not just heart related but also overall body related and overall like quality of life related to.
[00:16:17] Yeah, I know. And speaking of the inflammatory markers, this this study also shown a light on resistant as well. And and just the fat, right? Yeah. Just the connection to resistance and the inflammatory processes and and I mean that that's something we hadn't seen any of the research talk about before. I hadn't heard resistin.
[00:16:38] This is full transparency like we are no research experts here, but we we do well, I feel we do pretty well in finding the application and, you know, working through some of it. But like, I hadn't heard that probably since national boards. Right. Like or since anatomy and physiology back in the day, like, OK, great. Yeah, I remember, I remember of it and I remember kind of what it is. It's a cytokine derives from the fat cells. Right. So it's like it's concentration, it's higher levels in the body correlate directly with insulin resistance and obesity and it has a pro inflammatory activity as well. So the fact that you can get resistance numbers to come down just with an intermittent window in eighteen six window, sorry, I always do that. Sixteen eight window. Correct. Why do I always do otherwise too. Yeah I know. But I always flip it, it's just it's crazy because, yeah, man, I want to go too far down the rabbit hole resistin, but like, when you have high levels, it increases your bad cholesterol and bad air quotes and it also increases your plaque buildup in your arteries. So, like, huge win here, right? Like just skip breakfast.
[00:17:51] Yeah, exactly, I mean, bringing those levels down is just it's it's cardio protective and it's it's a it's the exact turn around that that so many people are looking for. I just it's it's so promising. I love it.
[00:18:06] Oh, excuse me. All right, so one of the other things, Tommy, that we want to talk about is the impact of IAFF on blood pressure. Right. And the so-called short term and long term.
[00:18:24] Yeah. And this is one of the things that that we see and we hear feedback from from people just getting started. And they they go, I measure my blood pressure and all of a sudden it's down. I've only been fasting for a week or two. And, you know, this this study and many other ones find that as one of the outcome results to just a very quick ten to 20 plus point reduction in in blood pressure just just in a matter of of days to weeks getting started with intermittent fasting.
[00:18:56] This is one of the things that I saw when I.
[00:19:02] Redid my life insurance, right? So it was like started fasting, didn't didn't have to do a reexamine or whatever they call it. I'm not in the insurance world. They did something weird, like a read up or something. And I was like, all right, fine, come on over. Let me do it. And I've always been nervous about those because I'm short. I used to be a power lifter, so I have a lot of mass, you know, I don't more built square than I am talking lean. And so I've never done well on the BMI scale. I've never done well with the blood pressure over the years. So I've always been nervous about it. But I mean, it was she took it two or three times in it because she had my previous results and it was completely normal. And that was with like going through the whole process of of of being worried about it. Right. Which can raise it, that so-called white coat syndrome. So it's just it's cool because, again, you're taking stress off of your cardio cardio. You're literally taking stress off of your heart in the cardiac system itself.
[00:20:06] Yeah. And the results of this study showed anywhere from eight weeks to six months. Every single study showed a decrease in both systolic and diastolic numbers, whether on the short term or the long term. So so those effects that that we hear about, even in the beginning, those are continued throughout the process. And, you know, as as the as you continue to use intermittent fasting, you would expect that that those positive changes are going to stick with you. So that's really super encouraging for a lot of people.
[00:20:40] I love the part one step nerd factor, one third level higher here is sorry, is the brain derived neurotrophic factor, the BDNF. So intermittent fasting increases that which is a direct lowering of that systolic. And so the above the top and bottom number of your blood pressure. Right. So it can also kind of calms down your vagus nerve, which is what controls your heartbeat, your pulse, your rhythm, all of that. So you're moving out of that sympathetic, you know, fight or flight type state. And it also can increase that feeling of euphoria like you get rid of that brain fog as well, because BDNF is a really powerful side effect to a positive side effect. Side effects typically taken in a negative light, a positive effect of the intermittent fasting windows, decreasing the hypertension. But you get this, BDNF, that does multiple things. So I just really like the fact that it's never mind helping with the heart side of things, but it's also just making you feel better. And I don't know about anybody else. But when you're 30 or 40 pounds overweight, you just don't feel great all the time.
[00:21:53] No, it's it's it's hard to it's hard to feel good when your energy level is depressed. You're you're it's a little harder to breathe. You just you just it it takes more work, it takes more energy and it takes more out of you to to move around that additional mass like the the body doesn't want to be holding on to to more of that, more of that fat, more of the more of the mass then than you need.
[00:22:19] It's just not designed for it. And it puts a stress on the system. And, you know, the trouble for me personally was that I had gotten used to that additional stress. I didn't I didn't really know what it was like not to have that honest. Yeah.
[00:22:32] Waking up, thinking about when you're going to nap. Right. I used to do the same thing. Right. Be like, oh, man, OK, I've got a busy day. When can I sneak a nap in? Like, I don't know. I feel like it's probably designed to be better than that. Yeah. You just woke up. How can you be tired. Right. So I know some of the stuff where we're speaking a little tongue in cheek about but Tommy and talking and talking through this study and just we were like, OK, what are we talk about? Because there's so many positive impacts. You had a really cool perspective on, you know, a major takeaway for people in setting it up with the fact that stats don't lie. You may not be thinking about it right now, just like diabetes. It takes 10, 20, 30 years to show up on blood work. Same thing with heart stuff, the whole heart attack. Six hundred thousand people. You're a heart attack. And it's the first sign of heart disease, like talk about getting punched in the face, like not knowing it's coming. Right. You have all the you go and get your blood work done and your doctor says you got a clean bill of health and then 600000 people a year heart attack. Like what? What do you mean? So the the takeaway I really liked your framing on the takeaway in terms of whether or not you're an experienced faster new to fasting, have a love hate relationship with it, whatever it is. Um, well, there are days where it's not so fun trying to push your window, but yeah, I really like your perspective on it.
[00:23:54] Yeah. I mean, I really think it's it's a matter of priorities and just understanding where the statistics are headed.
[00:24:01] The fact that they don't lie and you know what what direction everything's been headed in just over the last few decades, you know, we all we all probably know somebody, whether it's family or a neighbor or maybe maybe it's a parent or grandparent, you know, who's whose battle with cardiovascular issues like these these kind of things are are shortening people's lives. And they're making their lives a lot more tough than they really need to be for for a lot longer than they should be. I think just just taking a step back and understanding that, you know, a few simple changes like like a little bit of meal timing and like something as simple as just skipping breakfast and and just understanding. I don't I don't need to eat breakfast ever again.
[00:24:46] Can can be all the difference in the world for for having the next two or three or four decades of life be be just immensely better. I think is is is my take away for the whole thing.
[00:24:59] And really that I think Watier what I'm hearing there is you're speaking to the why. So like why are you doing it? Why are we why are we fasting? Why are we trying to improve. Right. Everybody out there that's I mean, half this country is overweight. We're going to 50 percent of the country being obese in the next five to ten years. Right. Like those some staggering statistics. Right. So, like, what's the why? Why everybody wants to lose ten pounds and fit into those old jeans. Or if you don't, then that's fine. This probably isn't the right place for you more. Maybe we can convert you. Right. But where there is hope there. But like the the why are you doing it needs to go deeper than just to lose the weight. Right.
[00:25:41] Yeah. I mean the we talk about it in our challenges too.
[00:25:45] As far as what is your anchor anchoring to a strong ally is a really important, really important thing and determines what what kind of decisions you actually make in the moment. So I think just as a matter of perspective and going deep and thinking about, you know, what what are your goals? What are you looking to achieve? Is it long term health? Is it is it short term losing a few pounds? But even beyond that, what what happens next? What happens after you lose the ten or twenty pounds? And and what are the next few decades of life look like? And just knowing that it doesn't take very much. Change in your habits to have a significant long term impact on on the trajectory of your whole life.
[00:26:32] And yet I don't think there's anything to add to that. Yeah, I think I think that pretty much sums it up. So with that being said, a couple of updates for you guys that have been with us.
[00:26:46] If you're new to fasting, go to our website and download the Fast Start guide, Fasting for Life Dotcom. We have another challenge coming up March 18th. That's correct, Tommy, March 18th. We have another 10 day fasting challenge. Be on the lookout for updates on that. If you guys have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at info at the Fasting for Life Dotcom. Hopefully today's episode. Yeah, hopefully today's episodes going to going to be a little eye opening and give you a little bit more fuel for the fire when it's when you're trying to make those those lifestyle changes which which can be difficult at times. And one of the things that I personally love about what it is that we do, Tommy, is that this gives you back control so you don't no longer have to live, especially after twenty twenty where we've lost control of so much. I love that this a conversation that we had today can simply give you back that control and know that you can change the outcome. So as always, sir, appreciate the time, appreciate the perspective. Good conversation. And we'll talk soon. Absolutely. Thanks a lot.
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