Keto diet study finds muscle stem cells survive stress during short-term fasting


New research conducted on animal subjects suggests that ketogenic diets help muscle stem cells survive stress, and scientists believe the same could be true for humans.

University researchers at Stanford Medicine conducted the dietary study on lab mice and published their findings in June to Cell Metabolism – a health science journal.

The study was implemented to investigate the effects high-fat, low-carb diets and short-term fasting have on muscle regeneration since there is little research on the topic.

Keto diets are a popular weight-loss tactic that people use by eating a high amount of healthy fats – typically broken down to 55% to 60% – while eating a low amount of carbohydrates – typically broken down to 5% to 10%. This puts bodies into a state called “ketosis,” which prioritizes fat as a fuel source and leads to reduced body fat over time.

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“We show that ketosis, either endogenously produced during fasting or a ketogenic diet or exogenously administered, promotes a deep quiescent state in muscle stem cells (MuSCs),” Stanford’s researchers wrote.

The popular ketogenic diet (keto diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet that puts your body into ketosis, the process in which your body burns fat for fuel, rather than carbohydrates.
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Fasting, on the other hand, appeared to slow “muscle repair both immediately after the conclusion of fasting as well as after multiple days of refeeding,” according to study results.

Lab mice underwent fasting periods that lasted between one and two-and-a-half days. The mice were “less able” to regenerate new muscle in their hind legs in response to injury compared to a non-fasting control group. 

The rodent test subjects had an observable “reduced regenerative capacity” that lasted up to three days after the mice were fed again. Their weight returned to “normal” a week after the fast ended.

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Muscle stem cells in these test mice were smaller in size and “divided more slowly” compared to mice that didn’t have their feedings interrupted.

The cells were found to be “more…



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