Short-Term Fasting and Ingestion of Caloric Drinks Affect Heartbeat-Evoked Potentials and Autonomic Nervous System Activity in Males

Vera Flasbeck, Christoph Bamberg*, Martin Brüne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Central nervous systems receive and process information from the internal and external environment to maintain homeostasis. This includes interoceptive awareness of the organism's nutritional state. Whenever food supply is required, feelings of hunger initiate the search for and the consumption of appropriate amounts of nutrients. How this is physiologically regulated in humans has been subjected to research into interoceptive awareness of body states during fasting and food consumption. However, there is no research on the distinct effects of carbohydrate or protein intake on interoception. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the impact of fasting and consumption of standardized carbohydrate and protein shakes on interoception in a repeated-measures cross-over design in a sample of 37 healthy, normal weight males. As a physiological correlate of interoception, we measured heartbeat-evoked potentials (HEPs), which are suggested to reflect the cortical representation of cardiac signals, during eight-minutes resting state EEG-recordings. After a 16-hour fasting period, the HEP amplitudes were lower over right central and parietal electrodes and increased after ingestion of the nutritional shake. Exploratory analyses indicated that the difference between fasting and satiety was more prominent at carbohydrate compared protein testing days. Correlation analyses with heart rate variability (HRV) suggested that high cardiac sympathetic activity is related to lower HEP amplitudes. Furthermore, cardiac sympathetic activity and stress indices decreased from before to after the intervention, whereas HRV increased. Together, this study shows for the first time that fasting and the intake of a nutritional shake affects cardiac measures of autonomic nervous system functioning and the neural correlates of cardiac interoception. These findings could be relevant for diets and psychosomatic disorders, including eating disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number622428
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • ACCURACY
  • BRAIN POTENTIALS
  • CARDIAC AWARENESS
  • FOOD-DEPRIVATION
  • INTEROCEPTIVE AWARENESS
  • NEURAL RESPONSES
  • PATTERNS
  • PERCEPTION
  • RATE-VARIABILITY
  • STRESS
  • autonomic nervous system
  • carbohydrates
  • heart rate variability
  • heartbeat-evoked potentials
  • interoception
  • nutrition
  • proteins

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