Fasting, or the process of consuming no food, has been a part of our cultures for thousands of years. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists, and people of other faiths have practiced fasting since the beginning of time. For many, fasting is a form of deep meditation and spiritual healing, but modern science is beginning to think it’s so much more than that.
A study conducted at the University of Southern California suggests that prolonged fasting helps prevent damage to the immune system and can produce hematopoietic stem cells which generate bloods cells and immune cells.
Fasting for 2-4 days at a time over a six month period was also found to destroy aged and damages cells. This could theoretically be applied to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, since chemotherapy kills cancer cells and damn near every other kind of cell in your body too. Fasting could help combat chemo side-effects.
“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system,” wrote Edna M. Jones, a professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences at USC Davis School of Gerontology.
“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,” added Valter Longo, director of the USC Longevity Institude. “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?”
Click here for more.