Intermittent fasting (every other day) increased gut bacteria diversity and reduced inflammation, demyelination, and axonal damage in multiple sclerosis (MS) animal model. A small pilot trial in humans with MS showed many similar changes to the gut microbiome and blood adipokines such as leptin. The effects of fasting on immune cells included a reduction of pro-inflammatory IL-17-producing T cells and increased numbers of T regulatory cells which prevent autoimmunity.
The small pilot trial in humans showed increased bacteria richness in species that have previously been shown to promote T regulatory cell accumulation in the colon.
Interestingly, this study did what is called a metagenomic analysis and found that the ketone pathway was enhanced in the gut microbiome by intermittent fasting. This is super interesting because bacteria in the gut normally produce short chain fatty acids and ketones from fermentable fiber but suggests that the gut microbiome regulates its own ketone body metabolism during fasting!