About this Research Topic

Abstract Submission Deadline 28 August 2022
Manuscript Submission Deadline 27 October 2022

In a field that was trying to identify the healthiest diets by focusing on macronutrients and caloric content, the last decade has brought to our attention how not eating could in itself hold therapeutic power. Indeed, the fasting-eating schedule may be as important as diet composition. Evolutionarily speaking, in the animal world fasting hasn't been a choice but a condition forced by scarcity. The reason why the current life forms still populate planet Earth lies in a simple concept: whomever survived adapted to the environment and to the adversities encountered along the way. In other words, humans have survived because we respond to fasting in ways aimed at preserving, and potentially enhancing, our body functions. It should not therefore come as a surprise that various fasting schedules are successful against metabolic disorders, cardiovascular risk, aging, and cancer, and in improving health and longevity.

Much remains to be unraveled regarding the underlying mechanisms and the most successful fasting schedules in the plethora of health conditions humans find themselves facing throughout their life. In a globalized society where work-life balance became a challenge, there is a long way to go for us to find successful and long-lasting ways that combine our daily activities with a fasting schedule. It is not yet understood whether and how longevity, chronic diseases, and risk factors for disease are affected by different fasting schedules. Our understanding of the regenerative power of fasting is just in its infancy and much there is to discover in unravelling the full potential of fasting. This Research Topic promotes the sharing of new discoveries regarding the biological mechanisms, physiological outcomes, and clinical improvements that may be affected through any intermittent energy restriction regimen in protecting or enhancing human health, magnifying human performance, or preventing development of diseases, especially those that are major causes of death.

The scope of this Research Topic encompasses studies evaluating the effectiveness of fasting, and investigations of the trade-off between fasting and the standard of care in the various pathological contexts clinicians deal with every day. Moreover, the scope is also the evaluations of the safety of the various fasting schedules and interventions in health and in strength/performance, identifying the best direct comparisons for fasting in the clinical setting. Of particular interest are papers that address fasting and aging-related pathologies, both in extending longevity and in promoting higher quality of life during the additional years of life. Review articles that address these concepts are also welcome. Specific hypotheses are not prescribed, but some questions of interest include: When is it too late to start fasting? When does it become detrimental? Are the pro-regenerative effects of fasting counterbalanced by a replenishment of stem cells and life-long maintenance of regenerative potential? Is fasting similarly effective in pre- and post-reproductive age? Another issue that should be further investigated is the effects of different kinds of fasting on physical performance, both of strength/power and endurance.

Keywords: intermittent fasting, time-restricted eating, therapeutic fasting, periodic fasting, metabolic health, longevity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In a field that was trying to identify the healthiest diets by focusing on macronutrients and caloric content, the last decade has brought to our attention how not eating could in itself hold therapeutic power. Indeed, the fasting-eating schedule may be as important as diet composition. Evolutionarily speaking, in the animal world fasting hasn't been a choice but a condition forced by scarcity. The reason why the current life forms still populate planet Earth lies in a simple concept: whomever survived adapted to the environment and to the adversities encountered along the way. In other words, humans have survived because we respond to fasting in ways aimed at preserving, and potentially enhancing, our body functions. It should not therefore come as a surprise that various fasting schedules are successful against metabolic disorders, cardiovascular risk, aging, and cancer, and in improving health and longevity.

Much remains to be unraveled regarding the underlying mechanisms and the most successful fasting schedules in the plethora of health conditions humans find themselves facing throughout their life. In a globalized society where work-life balance became a challenge, there is a long way to go for us to find successful and long-lasting ways that combine our daily activities with a fasting schedule. It is not yet understood whether and how longevity, chronic diseases, and risk factors for disease are affected by different fasting schedules. Our understanding of the regenerative power of fasting is just in its infancy and much there is to discover in unravelling the full potential of fasting. This Research Topic promotes the sharing of new discoveries regarding the biological mechanisms, physiological outcomes, and clinical improvements that may be affected through any intermittent energy restriction regimen in protecting or enhancing human health, magnifying human performance, or preventing development of diseases, especially those that are major causes of death.

The scope of this Research Topic encompasses studies evaluating the effectiveness of fasting, and investigations of the trade-off between fasting and the standard of care in the various pathological contexts clinicians deal with every day. Moreover, the scope is also the evaluations of the safety of the various fasting schedules and interventions in health and in strength/performance, identifying the best direct comparisons for fasting in the clinical setting. Of particular interest are papers that address fasting and aging-related pathologies, both in extending longevity and in promoting higher quality of life during the additional years of life. Review articles that address these concepts are also welcome. Specific hypotheses are not prescribed, but some questions of interest include: When is it too late to start fasting? When does it become detrimental? Are the pro-regenerative effects of fasting counterbalanced by a replenishment of stem cells and life-long maintenance of regenerative potential? Is fasting similarly effective in pre- and post-reproductive age? Another issue that should be further investigated is the effects of different kinds of fasting on physical performance, both of strength/power and endurance.

Keywords: intermittent fasting, time-restricted eating, therapeutic fasting, periodic fasting, metabolic health, longevity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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