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Last Updated: 12.06.23

Dr. Satchin Panda: Intermittent Fasting to Improve Health, Cognition & Longevity

In this episode, Dr. Huberman hosts Satchin Panda, PhD, discussing the benefits of time-​​restricted eating (intermittent fasting) for metabolic health, longevity, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular health, and cognitive performance. They explore the impact of circadian behaviors on overall well-​​being and the positive effects of simple adjustments to eating patterns.

Key Takeaways

High level takeaways from the episode.

Intermittent fasting: umbrella term for reducing calorie intake for one or more days in a week or month.

Time restricted feeding: confining all energy intake from solid and liquid food within a consistent window of 8–12 hours. Originated from the science of circadian rhythm.

Digestive system has rhythms. Slows down at night, a few hours after the last meal. Eating late at night can lead to poor digestion and food hangovers.

Maintaining a consistent feeding window can lead to better digestion, sleep, and overall health. Consistency in the feeding window helps the body’s anticipatory signals function properly — allows the body to be prepared for digestion and other physiological processes.

Main timekeepers for circadian rhythm: feeding, light activity, social connection, temperature.

Are benefits of caloric restriction due to reduced calorie intake, or time restricted feeding?

  • Mice on caloric restriction (CR) with food distributed throughout 24 hours lived 10% longer
  • Mice on CR with food restricted to daytime (active cycle) lived 20% longer
  • Mice on CR with food restricted to nighttime (when they’re supposed to eat) lived 35% longer

Can’t conclude whether a 4, 6, 8, or 12-​​hour feeding window is best for humans.

One meal per day can lead to gastric distress and reduced energy levels.

Shorter feeding window /​​ less caloric intake and increased physical activity can lead to REDS: Relative Energy Deficit in Sports. experienced by nearly 40% of athletes, both male and female. Can lead to amenorrhea (loss of menstrual cycle) in females. Common but not normal or optimal for health. Can lead to depression, anxiety, and bi-​​polar-​​like symptoms.

Studies show benefits of 4–6 hour time-​​restricted eating for weight loss in healthy individuals. However, not recommended for everyone due to potential risks. 8–10 hour eating window may be ideal for most people. 12-​​hour eating window can help maintain weight and improve health, may be ideal for physically active individuals.

Recent study showed greatest weight loss with low carbohydrate diet combined with time-​​restricted eating. Low carbohydrate diet may be beneficial for some individuals, especially when combined with time-​​restricted eating.

Starting and stopping eating at consistent times each day can have additional benefits: improved sleep, more predictable shifts in alertness and sleepiness, better ability to predict when to exercise.

Caffeine can trigger anxiety, panic attacks, and acid reflux. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can worsen these conditions.

History: in Istanbul, eating something before coffee became a way to prevent gastric distress, leading to the development of breakfast.

No distinction between night owls and morning people in Argentinian tubas tribe that consistently go to bed 3–3.5 hours after sunset.

Night owls may have different sensitivities to light — some people may be more sensitive to artificial light at night, shifting their circadian clock.

Shift work: staying awake for 2 or more hours during habitual sleep time (10 PM — 5 AM) and engaging in physical or intellectual activity during this time. When occurring once a week for 50 weeks can disrupt physiology, metabolism, behavior, and brain function.

Approximately 50% of the adult population experience shift work lifestyle at any given time. Shift workers carry a disproportionately heavier burden of disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gastrointestinal problems, chronic inflammation, colon cancer, diabetes).

Dim light exposure during sleep can disrupt morning blood glucose levels.

Children and teenagers should sleep between 9–11 hours. Growth hormone production and growth occur during sleep. 90% of high school students are chronically sleep deprived, due to device usage, homework, and other factors.

Fasting may have a positive impact on brain health and mental health. Treatment-​​resistant depression and anxiety could potentially benefit from fasting. More research needed on the gut-​​brain axis and the effects of fasting on mental health.


Science-​​based tools and supplements that push the needle.

Potential Solutions for Shift Work Lifestyle


Regular Meal Schedule For Sleep and Blood Sugar


Metformin and Berberine for Mimicking Fasted State



We recommend using this distillation as a supplemental resource to the source material.

  • Dr. Satchin Panda: Intermittent Fasting to Improve Health, Cognition & Longevity

    Huberman Lab #121

    Dr. Huberman hosts Satchin Panda, PhD, discussing time-​​restricted eating’s benefits for metabolic health, longevity, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular health, and cognitive performance. They explore circadian behaviors and positive adjustments to eating patterns.

Full Notes

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