Study Finds that Fasting for 72 Hours Can Regenerate the Entire Immune System
Have you ever fasted? This practice dates back centuries and involves abstinence from some or all foods or drinks, usually for 24 to 72 hours. Also, it plays a central role in many religions and cultures.
People often use fasting as a way to lose some weight, but not many of them know that it also helps their body to fight off disease.
According to a new study, refraining from food for two or more days can help the body to fight infection by regenerating the immune system.
Researchers at the University of Southern California believe the findings could be especially important for the elderly and those with a damaged immune system, like cancer patients.
They used humans and mice to see the effects of fasting for 2 to 4 days throughout 6 months. The results showed that long periods of not eating drastically reduced white blood cell counts in both cases.
Researchers noticed that this depletion of white blood cells triggered stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells in mice. As a result, the body’s defense system was renewed!
The Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences, Valter Longo, explains that fasting encouraged stem cells to start proliferating and rebuild the entire immune system. During fasting, the body got rid of the damaged or old parts of the system.
So, if one begins with a system heavily damaged by aging or chemo, fasting cycles can generate almost a new immune system.
The research also discovered that fasting lowers the enzyme RKA levels. This, in turn, helps simple organisms live longer. Also, it lowers the IGF-1 levels – a hormone linked to cancer risk, tumor progression, and aging.
What’s more, another small pilot clinical trial showed that fasting for three days before chemo helped protect patients against toxicity.
Although chemotherapy does save lives, it also causes collateral damage to the body’s defense system. The assistant professor of clinical medicine at the USC Tanya Dorff believes that fasting may reduce the harmful effects of chemo, based on the study’s findings.
More clinical studies are needed to prove the efficacy of fasting on the regeneration of the immune system. So, do not undertake such dietary intervention without consulting a doctor.
Scientists are carrying out further studies to discover the link between stem cell regeneration and diet.
Professor Longo is surprised how prolonged fasting affects the stem cell-based regeneration of the immune system, so now he wants to find out if these effects apply to other systems and organs.
What do you think about these incredible findings? Do you have the habit of fasting for a day or two, or you still haven’t tried it? If you’ve tried, feel free to tell us the changes you’ve noticed, if any.
Note – fasting may not be right for everyone, especially for those with low blood sugar or diabetes. That’s why it’s best to talk to a doctor before fasting for more than 24 hours.
Also, if you do try it, don’t forget to drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest, minimize physical activity, and consume nutrient-dense foods during your eating periods.