Document Type

Plan B - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biology and Microbiology

First Advisor

Greg Heiberger


Many studies with a range of subjects from Nematodes to Homo sapiens have found intermittent fasting (IF) to significantly improve the cardiometabolic health of individuals, but how IF promotes longevity through epigenetic modulations remains a sparse understanding throughout the literature. The process of aging may be characterized by a loss of cellular identity sprouted from a disrupted epigenome rich with information for a cell, while also losing the ability to recycle ineffective cellular components. The nutrient-sensing kinase Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) is disrupted during bouts of fasting which allows for the recycling of cellular components through increased autophagy. Furthermore, the Sirtuin (SIRT) family of NAD+-dependent deacetylases is a prominent transcriptional repressor via histone deacetylation and increased DNA-methyltransferase (DNMT) activity upon deacetylation of the enzyme. Although longitudinal studies spanning many years will be needed to provide definitive evidence for the long-term effects of IF. To date, the most profound pro-longevity evidence for IF is a significant reduction in the rate of biological aging determined from global genomic DNA methylation, of which is a more accurate measure of age in comparison to chronological age. Aside from specific cases in which IF may be detrimental to health, the practice of IF may add years onto an individual’s life, and more importantly, healthy years contributing to a better quality of life.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2020 Tayt Boeckholt