Fasting is something that has been practiced for millennia. People have done it for a wide variety of reasons including for spiritual reasons, health reasons and simply to concentrate on a task. Today, people still practice fasting but there is a lot of controversy that surrounds the subject. Supporters of fasting say that it provides many benefits including lowering bad cholesterol, slowing aging and improving insulin sensitivity.
When you start to study the subject of fasting, you will find that there are many different ways to do it. Perhaps the easiest or “beginners” type of fasting is intermittent fasting that may include abstaining from food for up to 18 hours or slightly longer. The more aggressive types of fasting will have you abstaining from food for up to three days! Each is supposed to be beneficial but they can be challenging.
There are numerous medical professionals and nutritionists that claim fasting is only an unsupported trend. They also talk about the possibility of health risks, including the loss of nutrients during the time that you are avoiding food. After all, you are doing more than avoiding junk food, you are avoiding the healthy intake of food that helps to build up the body. Those same professionals will also argue that fasting will cause you to gain weight due to rebound eating.
According to some research from the University of Southern California, however, an amazing discovery has been made. It has pushed the debate on fasting back into the limelight. According to the team behind the study, participants were gathered and were studied as they fasted for anywhere from 2-4 days regularly for six months. As they did so, some rather incredible changes were recognized.
One of the beneficial changes was a decrease in PKA production, which is a hormone that has been associated with the growth of cancerous tumors. In addition, the immune system of those who participated in the study seems to regenerate completely.
One of the researchers in the study, Professor Valter Longo, PhD, said that they started to notice both in humans and animals that the white blood cell count produced when prolonged fasting was practiced. When the body is re-fed, those blood cells return. This made them wonder where it came from.
Individuals who may be susceptible to disease or who might be receiving chemotherapy treatments may receive benefits from fasting in such a way. According to the research, fasting flipped a switch in the body that causes the regeneration of the immune system. At the same time, the body was using up its glucose stores and began burning fat and ketones for fuel. White blood cells were being broken down in massive numbers and that caused the immune system cells to regenerate.
Prof. Longo went on to explain that starving causes your body to save energy and one of the ways that it does so is to recycle the immune cells that were no longer necessary and those that may be damaged. According to the study, abstaining from food for 72 hours and then refeeding with nutritious, healthy food can help those who are struggling with a low immune system.
There is no doubt that this warrants further review and medical professionals are warning that there is more review necessary before you jump on the bandwagon. The co-author of the study, Tanya Dorff, MD, is the assistant professor of clinical medicine at the USC Noris comprehensive camper center and hospital. She had the following to say on the subject:
â€œWhile 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. More clinical studies are needed, and any such dietary intervention should be undertaken only under the guidance of a physician.â€
You can learn more about the benefits of long-term fasting vs intermittent fasting in this video:
Share this amazing study with your friends on Facebook