Intermittent fasting combined with supplementation with Ayurvedic herbs reduces anxiety in middle aged female rats by anti-inflammatory pathways.
Biogerontology. 2017 May 6. Epub 2017 May 6. PMID: 28478492
Intermittent fasting-dietary restriction (IF-DR) is an increasingly popular intervention to promote healthy aging and delay age associated decline in brain functions. Also, the use of herbal interventions is gaining attention due to their non-pharmacological approach to treat several abnormalities and promote general health with least side effects. The present study was aimed to investigate the synergistic effects of IF-DR regimen with herbal supplementation on anxiety-like behavior and neuroinflammation in middle aged female rats. We used dried leaf powder of Withania somnifera and dried stem powder of Tinospora cordifolia for our study. The rats were divided into three groups: (1) Control group fed ad libitum (AL); (2) rats deprived of food for full day and fed ad libitum on every alternate day (IF-DR); and (3) IF-DR and herbal extract (DRH) group in which rats were fed ad libitum with herbal extract supplemented diet, every alternate day. Post regimen, the rats were tested for anxiety-like behavior and further used for study of key inflammatory molecules (NFκB, Iba1, TNFα, IL-1β, IL-6) and glial marker (GFAP) in hippocampus and piriform cortex regions of brain. The study was further extended to explore the effect of DRH regimen on stress response protein (HSP70) and calcium dependent regulators of synaptic plasticity (CaMKIIα, Calcineurin). Our data demonstrated that DRH regimen reduced anxiety-like behavior in middle age female rats and associated neuroinflammation by ameliorating key inflammatory cytokines and modulated stress response. The present data may provide scientific validation for anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory potential of herbal intervention combined with short term IF-DR regimen.