The health benefits of fasting have been a hot topic in the medical community for years now. On one side, you have the doctors that claim fasting can easily improve our overall health, while on the other side, you’ve got doctors who think that fasting is harmful to our system.
The “fans” of fasting claim that the method can regenerate our immune system, regulate our insulin levels, lower our triglycerides and cholesterol, protect our heart, reduce the signs of aging and even promote weight loss. This has led to the creation of various fasting diet plans such as intermittent fasting which is supposed to improve our overall health. But, do they really work?
Fasting Can Reinforce Our Immune System
The popular fasting plans last for 14-18 hours in general, but there are also longer programs that don’t allow eating solid food for a few days. All these plans are said to reinforce our immune system and improve our overall health, each one having its pros and cons.
Many nutritionists and doctors have been debating the effects of fasting on our health. Some say that intermittent fasting is nothing more than a trend which can bring a variety of health risks. Most doctors stick to this opinion due to the obvious lack of nutrients during the process. Furthermore, many nutritionists claim that intermittent and other forms of fasting result in rebound eating which can cause fast weight gain.
Fasting to Fight Cancer
A recent study on fasting and its health effects conducted at the University of California showed that fasting 2-4 days regularly over 5 months can destroy cancer. The participants in the study experienced incredible results – they had a significantly reduced production of the PKA enzyme, which is a hormonal agent associated with cancer. Furthermore, their immune system was completely overhauled, which led to them feeling much better and stronger than before.
Dr. Valter Longo, one of the leading authors of the study says that the results have been incredible. “With prolonged fasting in human and animal studies, we’ve noticed that the white blood cell count decreases. Once the patients started eating normally again, the white blood cells came back. Eventually, we wondered why it happens which resulted in more studies and incredible findings,” Dr. Longo says.
Fasting Triggers A Special Switch in Our Bodies
The findings offer renewed hope for thousands of patients suffering from various ailments. The study essentially showed that fasting triggers a special switch in our body, signaling it to activate “stem-celled regeneration of the hematopoietic system”. During this process, the body uses the stores of fat, glucose, and ketones in order to break down white blood cells. The loss of white blood cells makes the body produce completely new immune cells, which effectively reinforces our immune system.
According to scientists, fasting for 72 hours, then getting back to your normal diet has numerous positive effects on our health, although it will take some time before all the effects of intermittent fasting are revealed. For now, at least we know that fasting has positive effects on our health and that it can treat a variety of ailments including the deadliest one – cancer.