“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,” Dr. Longo added.
“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?”
Fasting for 72 hours can also protect cancer patients against the toxic impact of chemotherapy.
“While chemotherapy saves lives, it causes significant collateral damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy.” said co-author Tanya Dorff, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital.
“More clinical studies are needed, and any such dietary intervention should be undertaken only under the guidance of a physician.” – She added.
“We are investigating the possibility that these effects are applicable to many different systems and organs, not just the immune system.” Dr. Longoadded.
However, there are some British experts who are skeptical of the research.
Dr. Graham Rook, an emeritus professor of immunology at University College London, found the study to be “improbable”.
“There is some interesting data here. It sees that fasting reduces the number and size of cells and then re-feeding at 72 hours saw a rebound.” – said Chris Mason, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at UCL.
“That could be potentially useful because that is not such a long time that it would be terribly harmful to someone with cancer.”
“But I think the most sensible way forward would be to synthesize this effect with drugs. I am not sure fasting is the best idea. People are better eating on a regular basis.” – He concluded.
“There is no evidence at all that fasting would be dangerous while there is strong evidence that it is beneficial. – said Dr. Longo.
“I have received emails from hundreds of cancer patients who have combined chemo with fasting, many with the assistance of the oncologists.”
“Thus far the great majority have reported doing very well and only a few have reported some side effects including fainting and a temporary increase in liver markers. Clearly we need to finish the clinical trials, but it looks very promising.” – He concluded.
Sources: Mass Report , Alt Health Works , Organic Health