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There is now evidence that fasting could help contribute to regenerating new cells in the body to help fight against disease and ageing. One of these studies looked at how prolonged fasting (for periods of 2 to 4 days) not only helped protect the immune system but also helped to induce immune system regeneration in people who had undergone chemotherapy.
Here is how it works:
When you starve your systems tried to save energy and one of the things it can do is to recycle a lot of immune cells that are not needed, especially damaged ones. So the white blood cell count does go down, but then when food is re-introduced back into the diet the cells come back. Prolonged fasting has also been associated with lower levels of a particular growth-factor hormone , IGF-1, that has been linked to aging, tumour progression and cancer risk.
This research seems to have supported the recent study that showed that a low calorie diet that mimicked a fast can yield a wide range of health benefits including cutting belly fat, elevated stem cell renewal in the brain and slowed ageing. The study looked at a group that ate normally for 25 days/month and for 5 days per month did a low calorie diet based mostly on fruits and vegetables, with plant based fats and very little animal based protein. It’s about re-progamming the body to enter a slower aging mode but also rejuvenation through stem cell based regeneration! Exciting times ahead!
For more info, check out these links: https://news.usc.edu/63669/fasting-triggers-stem-cell-regeneration-of-damaged-old-immune-system/
Did you see Catalyst last week? Thank you to Jo for alerting me to it being on TV, admittedly I was in bed at 7pm on the night that the show was televised but she told me the next morning.
The basis of the show was investigating how some people can live longer than others and whilst a lot of their research focused on the DNA, they also discussed some research surrounding other ways to extend life. I am not one to propose we live the rest of our lives taking pills to live longer, but the show did discuss another method, one we all have easy access to, that could increase our longevity and most importantly, our health into those extra years.
The show looked at the presenter who attempted a diet that was designed to mimic a fast, so it was essential low in protein and sugar but also had good healthy vegetable fats, like from nuts. The aim of mimicking the fast was to get the body into maintenance mode by reducing the growth signals it gets from certain food types. The professor explains,
“Enough protein is very important, but people are now eating 50%, 100%, 200%, 300% more than normal and this is pushing the system to try to grow but there's no growth. And so the consequence could be that you put an accelerator on all these systems and you just really push them to the limit and then they fail.”
The results have been quite remarkable with improvements in inflammation, dermatitis, a major reduction in tumours, improvement in cognitive function, and a reduction in visceral fat (this is the bad fat around your middle section) without a loss in muscle mass.
The professor explains what they think is happening, “One is the killing of a lot of bad cells, but also a lot of not-so-bad cells but they may have been old. So you fast and every day of the fasting, the organs are getting a little bit smaller and they're getting rid of cells because they have to save energy. Then eventually when you re-feed, these organs and cell systems, they have to return to normal and that's really a remarkable way to replace and rejuvenate almost every component of the body.”
So it is this process of fasting 3-4 times per year for 5 days that could have an incredible impact on the liver, the blood system and many other systems in the body, in a way, making our body act the way it did when we were young.
Now I am sure you are probably busting to know what the diet was? From the Catalyst website, they explain it is very low in proteins (like no animal proteins – so no dairy, meat, etc) but with almost 50% made from carbohydrates from vegetables and the rest made of healthy fats from nuts. The amount of calories was approx. 700-800 per day with unlimited herbal tea and lots of water.
A similar dietary composition can be achieved with a Low Fruit Cleanse, we have vegetable soups, juices and nut milks that can create a similar fasting diet that may help you live longer and stronger. Contact us for any questions!