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Intermittent Fasting for Mental Clarity: Does It Work?

Fasting is the state of abstinence from foods and other unimportant things to renew the body and remove inflammation. For many people fasting is a religious obligation, while for others, it is a lifestyle to improve one’s health. 

Whether you are fasting for religious purposes or doing it to improve your health – you are not in the wrong. 

For this post, we will be concentrating on the benefits of fasting to the human brain. We shall also discuss how fasting can improve euphoria, make you more focused and improve your clarity. 

Fasting for Mental Clarity

Why Fast?

Fasting has many benefits for our health and well-being. For example, it can be beneficial in weight loss, reducing inflammation in the body, and boosting energy levels.

There are different ways to fast. The most common form is intermittent fasting where you can choose to fast for 16 hours at night and then eat during the 8 hours of the day. Other forms include time-restricted feeding where you only eat during a specific time window each day or alternate-day fasting where you only eat every other day.

Mental Benefits Of Fasting: What Does Fasting Do to the Brain?

Fasting has several benefits for the human brain. How does this work? This is how. When you fast for sometimes restricting the intake of carbs, your body is forced to break the fats stored in it. This breaking process helps to detoxify your body and heal inflammations. After the glycogen is broken down, the body is left with only fats to break as an energy source. 

Fasting helps to put you in a state of ketosis. In ketosis, the body uses ketones as a source of energy instead of glycogen. Ketones are vital energy for the brain, and when you are in ketosis, your brain uses the energy your body would have used to break down carbs. The brain will now use this free energy, and you will observe a feeling of happiness and be more concentrated. Others aside from an improved supply of energy to the brain, fasting has other benefits such as:

  1. Self-cleaning process: The human body should not only be meant for food consumption. Fasting is also an essential part of the human lifestyle that has lost its place with the prevalence of fast foods. However, when you fast, your body gets the chance to cleanse itself of harmful toxins. Fasting is more like shutting down your computer and turning it on. 
  2. Autophagy: Research on autophagy won the Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine in 2016. The research identified that the human body eats all waste fats and cells to detoxify and renew. It is more like an internal healing process of the human body. So when the body eats, cells are regenerated, and a person feels better mentally. 
  3. Improved plasticity of the brain: Brain plasticity is the brain’s neural networks’ ability to be renewed or regenerated to improve receptiveness. Fasting is shown to be the major reason behind plasticity. 
  4. Brain cell repair: Fasting is important in regenerating and repairing the body and brain cells. Cell regeneration is an important part of the brain’s overall health.
  5. Confidence: The dopamine released during fasting when the fats are broken releases a temporary dopamine feeling in the body, which improves confidence and self-esteem. 

Intermittent Fasting for Mental Clarity

Intermittent fasting helps in mental clarity in several ways. Several studies show how intermittent fasting has helped brain health among those who undertook it. One of the most popular is the one conducted by the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging. The study discovered a change in mood and improved clarity among those who participated. 

Another important function of intermittent fasting in improving mental clarity is that it reduces the level of blood sugar, thereby helping fight against diabetes and making you happier and more alert. 

How Does Fasting Help with Depression?

Fasting helps with depression by releasing the body’s best fuel- ketones. Ketones are the by-products of glycogen depletion in the body. Ketones boost the brain and provide a feeling of euphoria and happiness, thereby reducing feelings of negativity. 

Fasting Euphoria

Fasting euphoria is the temporary feeling you get on a fast. Fasting euphoria typically occurs 12-15 days during your fast and results from the ketones released during the state of ketosis. The downside of fasting euphoria is that it is temporal and will be gone when you exit ketosis. 

How Long to Fast for Brain Health?

You can fast for as long as you want. However, it should not be back to back. You can do a 16/8  or 18/6 intermittent fasting, or you can decide to skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast may appear weird to some people because, over the years, people have been conditioned to believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This statement has no research basis and can be considered false. 

You should fast for at least 1-2 days per week for optimal body health. 

Why Do I Feel More Focused When I Fast?

Fasting may not necessarily be abstinence from food. It may also mean abstinence from non-essential things we can do without. Dopamine fasting is a type of fasting where a person abstains from unproductive and addictive habits and activities. The essence of dopamine fasting is to increase a person’s focus on a particular task or project. For example, a person may choose to observe dopamine fasting for video gaming, music, social media, movies, etc. 

Intermittent Fasting for Mental Clarity

Does Fasting Improve Memory?

Fasting helps to improve the capacity of the brain’s long-term memory. This assertion was supported by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at the famous King’s College in London. The study by the institute was conducted on mice, and the results concluded that creating new hippocampal neurons is important in slowing the pace of cognitive decline in adults as they age. 

Another study found that fasting and reduced intake of carbs can promote Klotho. Klotho is very important in improving memory. 

Even though these studies are still preliminary, there is a high chance that the same results may manifest in humans. 


How long should you fast for mental clarity?

For the best results, it is recommended that you should fast for 1-2 days per week. 

Does fasting help clear your mind?

Fasting can help clear your mind because the dopamine released gives you a feeling of excitement and enables you to fight or manage depression. 

Fasting helps you think more clearly because it cleanses your body of toxins and gives your digestive system a break from processing food.

Does intermittent fasting clear brain fog?

The human body needs a certain amount of energy to function. When you don’t eat, your body breaks down its stored fat and uses it as energy. The problem is that the brain needs glucose for fuel and doesn’t have any stored fat to use as an energy source. So when you don’t eat, your brain will start to break down its cells to get the glucose it needs to function. This can reduce brain fog or other cognitive impairments. 

Should I fast?

The benefits of fasting are well-documented and have been shown to promote mental and physical health. However, some people should not fast because they need to take medication or have specific health conditions. If you are suffering from diseases such as an ulcer or you are a pregnant mother, you should stay away from fasting for the time being. 


Fasting is an ancient healing method used for spiritual and medical purposes throughout history, and the human brain is the most important part of the body.

You can adopt several habits to improve your brain’s health and make you feel happier. For example, when you fast, your body enters a state where it eats itself, otherwise known as autophagy.

Autophagy is essential because it helps detoxify the body, promotes the plasticity of the brain, and makes it feel better. 


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William is from Canada, he is passionate nutrition & wellness writer. William understands that the topic of wellness is still not well understood, so his goal is to enlighten and teach people how to live healthier and happier in their bodies.

Intermittent fasting 101