How fasting kills cancer cells and improves immune function
(NaturalHealth365) According to recent research, intermittent fasting – the practice of doing without solid food, for a minimum of 12 hours, has surprising health benefits. Although, it should be noted, a true “fast” would actually entail no food or beverages for at least 24 hours.
Having said that, studies have shown that fasting boosts the immune system, promotes the growth of new neurons, reduces side effects in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, eases autoimmune disorders, helps to reduce heart disease risk factors and even inhibits the progression of multiple cancer types.
Fasting reverses the progression of 2 different subtypes of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
Although ALL is the most common leukemia affecting children, it actually can occur at any age. There are two subtypes: B-cell ALL and T-cell ALL. Both involve an uncontrollable proliferation of cancer cells, displacing healthy cells and causing anemia and infection.
In a study published in Nature, researchers experimented with various types of dietary restriction, using fluorescent proteins to mark cancer cells and determine the effect of fasting on levels. They found that cancer development was completely inhibited by a regimen six cycles long, consisting of one day of fasting alternating with regular feeding.
Fasting triggers astonishing regeneration of immune cells
In a study conducted at UC Davis and published in Cell Stem Cell, prolonged fasting – periods of no food for two to four days – induced immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from dormant to self-renewing. In animal and human studies of patients receiving chemotherapy – prolonged fasting lowered white blood cell counts.
To be clear, researchers report that the act of fasting kills older, damaged cells – while generating new ones.
The amazing results even took scientists by surprise. The research team called the effect of fasting “remarkable” and confessed it was not a result that had been predicted.
How exactly does fasting achieve its beneficial effects?
Stores of energy in the body are finite and channeled into digestion, movement, cognition, respiration, and more. Digesting food – which requires large amounts of blood – diverts energy from other processes. In addition, eating causes an unavoidable – and energy-depleting – spike in immune activity, with inflammatory conditions increasing as a natural line of defense against pathogens that may be in food.
Prolonged fasting, on the other hand, decreases inflammation by suppressing the release of pro-inflammatory interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. It also reduces free radical damage and levels of IGF-1, a growth-factor hormone associated with aging, tumor progression, and cancer risk.
Avoiding solid food while drinking water, green tea, and other cleansing beverages helps to flush the digestive system of toxins.
Perhaps most importantly, fasting stimulates autophagy, in which the body breaks down old and damaged cells and recycles them for energy. This process combats viral infections and the spread of intercellular parasites and helps the body eliminate abnormal cancer cells. It also helps to deprive cancer cells of nutrients, thereby “starving” them and slowing the growth and spread of tumors.
If you would like to try intermittent fasting to boost your immune system – or to prevent and treat cancer and heart disease – discuss the matter with your holistic healthcare provider or a health coach. Generally speaking, fasting is not recommended for those under 18 or for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, significant medical research supports the healthful effects of temporarily foregoing solid food. No doubt, intermittent fasting is rapidly emerging as a promising natural therapy to prevent, treat, and even reverse various debilitating health conditions. Let us know what your experience has been, in the comment section below.
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