Abbey Sharp, RD, said that intermittent fasting showed an increase of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in monkeys and rodents. A review in Psychiatry Investigation found that decreased levels of BDNF can lead to a major depressive disorder.
Intermittent fasting also can reduce levels of oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the product of free radicals and the ability of the body to detoxify their harmful effects. Both of these can lead to depression.