University of Southern California – According to a study done by USC scientists at the University of California, fasting for three days can have a significant improvement in your body’s health. The six-month study was done on both mice and human’s who are currently going through chemotherapy noticed a significant improvement in their health as the white blood cells and other toxins in the body were flushed out over the course of the fast.
“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” Longo said. “What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. So we started thinking, well, where does it come from?”
Basically, when you fast for a prolonged amount of time, your body uses the stored glucose, fats and produce ketone bodies that are especially good for your brain, to keep you going and you flush out anything that your body doesn’t need, like damaged cells and toxins. When your eating regularly harmful toxins in the body can attach themselves to these fats and live on but when you fast, your body is forced to lighten itself. It’s like the survival of the fittest, only the strong survive. “PKA is the key gene that needs to shut down in order for these stem cells to switch into a regenerative mode. It gives the OK for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system,” explained Longo, noting the potential of clinical applications that mimic the effects of prolonged fasting to rejuvenate the immune system. “And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting. Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.”
Further research is needed to discover how the rest of the organs in the body are affected beyond stem cell regeneration. At least we know for now, for people that go through the extremely taxing experience of chemotherapy, prolonged fasting can help your body get back to normal, and possibly even better than before.
Additionally, here is a Ted Talk on the benefits of intermittent fasting.