Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System


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Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby bambooforest » Jun 6th, '14, 23:41

I thought this was a really interesting read:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... finds.html

Makes me want to go on a 3 day fast. I would only do so responsibly however.
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Postby bonescwa » Jun 7th, '14, 13:49

Intermittent fasting was pretty popular for a while, but then the academics started discouraging it because they thought it might lead to eating disorders. I always think it's amusing when certain foods, activities, and supplements are said to be supposedly "good for the immune system." Like people are dying of tuberculosis or cholera or something.
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby jayinhk » Jun 7th, '14, 18:52

I used to do day-long fasts in my teens to 'detox' when I was trying to pack on some size. It didn't hurt. Just got over four days of food poisoning and for three of those days I basically subsisted off fruit and plain white rice and water/hydration salts.

I get pretty nasty bronchitis once a year and bad food poisoning 2-3 a year, so any help to the ol' immune system is much welcomed. ;)
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby PurplePotato » Jun 8th, '14, 22:57

Interesting. But I wouldn't do anything health related based off of a news article (you probably already know that though). To put it mildly, a lot of popular news articles about scientific studies are bit off the mark. I'm not saying that this one is necessarily off the mark, but I don't really feel like delving into the original article to find out. If anyone's interested, I believe this is it: Prolonged Fasting Reduces IGF-1/PKA to Promote Hematopoietic-Stem-Cell-Based Regeneration and Reverse Immunosuppression. Even the title is a mouthful :lol:

That said, people have been fasting for ages, so fasting for short periods of time (afaik 3 days or less) is probably harmless, barring things like someone having diabetes. Personally, I have fasted for 3 days on water multiple times, and often fast when I get sick, at the very least because when I'm sick I tend to lose my appetite. I also feel that fasting can be a good spiritual exercise as well.

If anyone is interested in doing some more reading on fasting, I recommend this review. It looks at not just fasting but dietary restriction in general, but I think it is a pretty good overview of the subject.
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 9th, '14, 15:18

I read through the original paper and it was mostly focused on using fasting to protect the stem cells with produce immune cells from being destroyed by chemotherapy treatments. Chemotherapy destroys all cells which are multiplying and all of the nasty side effects come from destroying healthy cells whose jobs are to regenerate cell types with lots of turnover (such as the immune system). By fasting for chemotherapy treatments they found it likely provides protection for your immune system by slowing down the rate at which those stem cells divide to produce immune cells.

The surprise in the study was that after fasting when feeding was resumed the stem cells showed an increase in cell division without any corresponding increase in cell death. They also checked and found the same thing occurred even without chemotherapy, and they went into more detail and found the molecular pathway involved.

So yes fasting seems to trigger regeneration of the stem cells that produce blood and immune cells...

but, there are a couple of caveats:

They only checked if fasting could induce bone marrow stem cell proliferation in mice that received chemotherapy or that were old. There's nothing about the effects of fasting in healthy, young mice. There's not really any reason to think that you're going to get an immune system boost from fasting if you are healthy and relatively young.

The only human results are from cancer patients who are receiving chemotherapy, everything else was done in mice. Mice are similar to humans but they have very short life spans compared to humans and any studies involving cell regeneration and reversal of aging in mice are not necessarily relevant to humans.

Be careful how you interpret those results....during fasting your immune system is going to be depressed because cell proliferation is reduced. It's resuming eating after fasting that they found triggered coordinated regeneration of the stem cell tissue. Fasting when you're sick isn't going to boost your immune system to fight that infection, you're probably doing the opposite.
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby PurplePotato » Jun 9th, '14, 16:43

Thanks for going through that entropyembrace.

I've thought that fasting would be a good idea while sick, as I've figured that your body wouldn't have you lose your appetite unless it was for a good reason. But maybe the trick is to fast for a little bit and then eat something to get the corresponding immune boost?
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 9th, '14, 17:37

I think the main reason why you lose appetite when you're sick is that having inflammation in your sinuses makes it hard to smell (and taste) your food properly which makes it less appealing. It's pretty well known that loss of taste and smell can cause a loss of appetite.
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Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby mcrdotcom » Jun 10th, '14, 13:32

jayinhk wrote:I used to do day-long fasts in my teens to 'detox' when I was trying to pack on some size. It didn't hurt. Just got over four days of food poisoning and for three of those days I basically subsisted off fruit and plain white rice and water/hydration salts.

I get pretty nasty bronchitis once a year and bad food poisoning 2-3 a year, so any help to the ol' immune system is much welcomed. ;)


Perhaps you should stop eating poisoned food! :P
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby jayinhk » Jun 10th, '14, 13:39

Believe me, I don't try to, but it happens. I'm eating more meals at home nowadays, but on the road I'm often left with no option.
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby kyarazen » Jun 12th, '14, 01:39

what would fasting do to nude mice then? :lol: :lol:
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby Risdt » Jun 12th, '14, 03:52

I've once fasted for 7 days slolely on water, it was quite a cool experiment. Lost about 10kg, but I guess most would be water because there was barely any retention because of salts anymore.

Few remarks:
- Without eating and going to the bathroom, you've got a lot of time.
- After about 3 days, you'll go keto and have plenty of energy again.
- You can't stop watching pictures of foods and look for restaurants you want to visit after those 7 days.
- I've got quite a few allergies, my heyfever almost disappeared completely for about 2 years but instead I got allergic to raw apples.
- Eating an hamburger with mayo right after the fast is NOT a good idea!

Intermediate fasting on the other hand is a method used by quite a few strenght athletes to stay lean through the year and still preserve strenght or even increase it. Look up the 'warrior diet', some swear by it others don't...
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby MEversbergII » Jun 19th, '14, 09:36

I typically shoot for one meal per day, sometime between 4:45 and 9PM, depending on the day. The rest of the day is "fasted", though I think that is a really basic use of the term.

Today I am doing a 24 hour fast, because I haven't done one of those in a while. Not sure it is a "pure" fast, though, as I'm having tea and I took my usual supplements this morning.

M.
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby jayinhk » Jun 21st, '14, 04:15

I would not suggest fasting without watching your electrolyte levels as throwing off your sodium/potassium balance can really mess your kidneys up. Oral hydration salts would do the trick.

During my last bout of food poisoning, I lost 5 kg in three or four days. I've put it back on, but it took about two weeks to get my strength back up. I'd say short fasts with fresh fruit/veg would be the way to go.

Meversberg: Theraveda Buddhist monks eat once a day in the morning, and then fast for the rest of the day. I guess your method of eating is pretty close. I was sat next to a Bangladeshi Buddhist monk (yes, there are Buddhists in Bangladesh) on a flight and we got talking about Theraveda Buddhism, which I'm pretty interested in. He tried to give me his food, but I was stuffed, so he put all of it in his bowl so he could give it to someone when he got to Kolkata.

I wish everyone valued food that way...wasted food really bothers me because so much goes into its cultivation, especially in tropical areas, where more and more forest is being cleared for agricultural purposes. I try not to waste any food at all.
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby ethan » Jun 21st, '14, 09:06

Jay, So there are some monks doing what they are supposed to do. In Chiangmai monks buy snacks at 7/11 stores.
When traveling, to avoid food-poisoning, I suggest you adopt the "no second chances" habit. This means whenever anything is wrong w/ food, it is not sent back to be corrected, nor replaced w/ a new order; rather, the mistake creates the end of the meal & the end of eating there again.
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Re: Study Finds: Fasting Can Regenerate Entire Immune System

Postby MEversbergII » Jun 23rd, '14, 15:39

jayinhk wrote:
Meversberg: Theraveda Buddhist monks eat once a day in the morning, and then fast for the rest of the day. I guess your method of eating is pretty close. I was sat next to a Bangladeshi Buddhist monk (yes, there are Buddhists in Bangladesh) on a flight and we got talking about Theraveda Buddhism, which I'm pretty interested in. He tried to give me his food, but I was stuffed, so he put all of it in his bowl so he could give it to someone when he got to Kolkata.

I wish everyone valued food that way...wasted food really bothers me because so much goes into its cultivation, especially in tropical areas, where more and more forest is being cleared for agricultural purposes. I try not to waste any food at all.


It is rather similar. I used to be a "three squares" guy but I always felt it was rather artificial. I turned into a grazer (six or so small meals) as I heard it was better but that was incorrect. After being introduced to the Primal/Paleo crowed, I adopted the single evening meal as my only meal. I'm not super strict, though, as I will do lunch with friends/fiance/coworker when it comes up.

I agree with food valuation. Especially here in the US, it's rare to find anyone who actually appreciates food. Some foods might get props, but it isn't real appreciation.

Some forms of food production are simultaneously food wasting, in my opinion. Iceberg lettuce has become my personal symbol of stupid agricultural decisions. That, and the entire corn-laiden midwest.

M.
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