In a groundbreaking study published in the June 5 issue of the Cell Stem Cell, scientists have now discovered that cycles of prolonged fasting regenerated and protected the immune system in both humans and mice who had been receiving chemotherapy.
When fasting, the stem cells moved from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal as the signalling pathways for hematopoietic stem cells changed, thus causing renewal of the blood, organs and the immune system. This has major implications for healthier aging, as usually when people got older their immune system weakens, thus leaving them more susceptible to disease and death.
By fasting for 2-4 days over the course of 6 months, the scientists showed how older and damaged immune cells were killed off and new ones were generated. “We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system,” said corresponding author Valter Longo, Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute.
“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,” Longo said. “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?”
When a human or animal fasts or cleanses, the body needs fuel, so it burns whatever energy it can find, which includes glucose, fat and ketones, but it also breaks down white blood cells. This depletion of white blood cells triggers cell based regeneration of new immune cells. Extended fasting also reduces the enzyme PKA, which has been previously shown to increase longevity. Fasting also lowers IGF-1, a growth factor hormone linked to aging, tumor progression and cancer risk.
“PKA is the key gene that needs to shut down in order for these stem cells to switch into regenerative mode. It gives the OK for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system,” explained Longo, noting the potential of clinical applications that mimic the effects of prolonged fasting to rejuvenate the immune system. “And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting. Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.”
Detoxing using the Bio Cleanse Detox Kit also involves a period of fasting, which switches the body into this state of self renewal. Unlike typical fasting however the toxins thrown off during the fasting cycle are captured by the Toxin Remover powder, thus greatly reducing the side effects by capturing toxins as they enter the bowel and stopping their re-absorption into the blood stream.
We thank the noble scientists for their ground breaking study that gives further evidence to the powerful effects of fasting and cleansing the body.