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Medicine Science

Fasting Triggers Stem Cell Regeneration of Damaged, Old Immune System 148

schwit1 sends word of research showing that cycles of prolonged fasting can both protect the immune system from harm and also induce regeneration by causing stem cells to start renewing themselves. 'In both mice and a Phase 1 human clinical trial (abstract), long periods of not eating significantly lowered white blood cell counts. In mice, fasting cycles then "flipped a regenerative switch," changing the signaling pathways for hematopoietic stem cells, which are responsible for the generation of blood and immune systems, the research showed. "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 [study author Valter 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."'
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Fasting Triggers Stem Cell Regeneration of Damaged, Old Immune System

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  • by jaeztheangel ( 2644535 ) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @03:19PM (#47187107)
    I've always felt stronger after the Holy Month - that surprised me as a kid. Nice Article.
  • by Urkki ( 668283 ) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @03:50PM (#47187197)

    .... it's surely just a bunch of superstitious nonsense......

    Which scripture recommends the quite specific kind of fasting this study suggests will trigger the regeneation cycle? Link to relevant verse (or whaever it's called) would be good too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07, 2014 @04:14PM (#47187311)

    Interestingly, the native american tradition of fasting before a sweat lodge (for 2/3 days) fits into this perfectly though.

  • Bodybuilding (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zakeria ( 1031430 ) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @06:22PM (#47187771) Homepage
    As a natural body builder I fast for 3 days every two weeks, the results are more muscle mass less body fat stronger faster trigger muscle...
  • by serbanp ( 139486 ) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @07:14PM (#47187963)

    Farting is caused by the inability of our intestine to break complex sugars (lack of specialized enzymes), examples of which can be found in legumes. These sugars then reach the gut, where bacteria have no problems breaking them, releasing gasses in the process.

    There are even pills you can take with your food (e.g. when eating beans) that provide the missing enzyme so that you won't fart. In US, Beano is probably the most popular one.

    You won't fart just because you ate a chocolate bar. And b.t.w., these complex sugars are not sweet, therefore there is no connection between eating sweets and farting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07, 2014 @08:21PM (#47188177)

    If rebooting the immune system like this clears out allergic sensitivities it would be far more important than it's impact on people with more seriously damaged systems as allergies are far more common. Perhaps this explains why in first world nations where food is so abundant there is a coincidental rise in allergies?

    No harm in individuals testing this hypothesis, but a properly designed study would be needed to confirm it in a scientifically valid way.

  • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @08:36PM (#47188247)
    An alternative to fasting might be ketosis. During fasting, all available sugar is consumed and the body starts producing fat bodies called ketones that are burned by the mitochondria instead of sugar. It's impossible to continue a fast indefinitely because the body eventually runs out of fuel- in other words, it starves. But if the diet is sufficiently low in carbohydrates (>60 g/day) and high in fat, the body can burn fat-derived ketones indefinitely and remains in a state of ketosis, in effect a long-term fast. Nobody understands quite how it works, but it's been shown to produce dramatic improvements in people with epilepsy (major improvements in most patients, complete remission in a handful), bipolar depression, and perhaps neurodegenerative disorders as well. At any rate, it's clear that how you eat can have profound effects on your health, and that more research needs to be done into dietary therapies.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.