A few years ago the interest of the scientific community increased in researching the effects of fasting. For a long time this practice was questioned by nutritionists and doctors and today, with more research on the subject seems to have good results. The Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine in 2016 rightly described the process of autophagy that happens in the practice of Fasting.
The practice of fasting in the Russian martial art is encouraged by the benefits of practice in the physical and psychological aspects. In the psychological aspect, the practice of fasting is to provide tools so that the person can understand his limitations “I can not”, “I can not”, “I’m going to die of hunger” can be thoughts that happen before or during practice. This teaches people to lead with self-pity.
In the physical aspects we have separated some summaries of articles that have been published. In a review of the literature the researchers selected studies on fasting and evaluated that there was improvement in cardiovascular parameters (amount of cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, among others) decrease in adipose tissue (weight loss). In this review the researchers warn that safety parameters of the people who participated in the study have not been evaluated and that this should be taken into account before special groups (such as people with diabetes) can safely adhere to the practice.
Another review article makes a criticism about fasting, but presents it as a viable alternative to weight loss, easy to perform and low cost. The long-term effects are still unknown, but the researcher suggests intermittent fasting as a good alternative for weight loss and maintenance. Another review
In animal models the beneficial effects of fasting are already proven. There is improvement of several indicators of health, but also functional improvement of diabetes models, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurological disorders (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s). There is also evidence of cognitive improvement with fasting. The cellular and molecular mechanisms for the beneficial effects of fasting seem to involve the adaptation and activation of cellular stress responses, functional improvement of the mitochondria, improvement of DNA repair and autophagy (cell death of cells that were not adequate). These improvements seem to be maintained over time, even after stopping the fast.
One of the criticisms that comes with fasting is that this practice would lead the person to have a decrease in cognitive abilities and even the time of reaction. This study shows that this does not occur. He evaluated the effect of intermittent fasting on professional Karate athletes and there was no worsening of neuromuscular parameters (reaction time and electromyography with isometry analysis), there was a small increase in fatigue, but it was not significant.
The fast we are talking about is not for a few hours without eating. The practice is 12 – 24 hours of fasting. In the practice of Systema, fasting can be done progressively until the desired goals are achieved.