Seminar: Fasting Mimicking Diet

Fasting‐mimicking diet reduces risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease in preclinical and clinical studies.

Presenter: Sebastian Brandhorst

Research Associate; Prof Valter Longo’s Longevity Institute, School of Gerontology, and
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles


Prolonged fasting promotes stress resistance, but its effects on longevity are poorly understood.

Calorie restriction or major dietary composition changes can have profound effects on healthy aging but the inability of many subjects to adhere to chronic and extreme diets together with the potential of adverse effects limit their application.

We developed a very low calorie/low protein fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) and tested its effects on health- and lifespan in preclinical and clinical studies.

In 16-month-old mice with the FMD for 4 days twice a month; with an ad libitum diet in the period between FMD cycles, the FMD lowered IGF-1 levels, extended longevity, lowered visceral fat, reduced cancer incidence and skin lesions, rejuvenated the immune system, and decreased the size of multiple organs/systems, followed upon re-feeding by an elevated number of progenitor/stem cells and regeneration.

Further, the FMD promoted hippocampal neurogenesis and improved cognitive performance.

In a randomized clinical trial on 100 generally healthy US participants, 5 days per month for three months of a FMD reduced markers/risk factors for metabolic syndrome and other age-related diseases. These effects were larger in participants at risk for age-related diseases.


We conclude that the FMD was safe and feasible in rodent and human studies. Larger studies on patients with diagnosed diseases are necessary to determine its impact on diabetes and cardiovascular disease treatment.