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article imageStudy: Fasting reactivates damaged immune systems

By Walter McDaniel     Jun 7, 2014 in Science
Fasting can protect the immune system and repair it according to findings from various researchers. The reasons why are somewhat surprising.
The study found for fasting for two to three days would change how blood pathways worked for hematopoietic stem cells. The blood cells would then begin regenerating parts of the immune system and at the same time would protect them.
This was done using lab rats as you might expect. A larger bracket of testing will have to be done on humans down the road. This research has some significantly interesting benefits for chemotherapy patients. If the same thing happens with human beings then this could be a new way to greatly improve the quality of life for those going through chemotherapy.
There was a 72-hour test for those on chemotherapy in the past. It showed some promising results. Those involved were protected against the effects of toxicity. We will need many more tests than that before we can fully embrace the findings.
You can read the study in PDF form. It is heavy on some advanced terms but if you are reading this you are probably intelligent enough to understand it. The research was started with Changhan Lee who was a grad student at USC. It was then carried on by multiple USC staff and even studied in Genoa, Italy. Their work culminated in the data we have now.
So why does the body do this during a fast? Apparently the enzyme PKA is reduced during a fast which allows the body to reactivate some of the natural regeneration. Another topic for study is how fasting was tied into our ancestors since they no doubt dealt with starvation and religious restriction. If the findings prove useful then we could have not just an additional cancer treatment but also a solution for many immune disorders.
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