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Fasting Causes Stem Cell Reboot of the Immune System

Author: Disabled World : Contact: Disabled World

Published: 2014-06-15

Synopsis and Key Points:

Study presents evidence of natural intervention triggering stem cell based regeneration of a persons organ or system.

Main Digest

A study has shown that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect a person against immune system damage, it also induces immune system regeneration. It shifts a person's stem cells from a dormant state to one of self-renewal. Cycles of prolonged fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of a person's damaged and old immune system.

Immune system damage is a major side-effect of chemotherapy. The study was published in the June 5th issue of the Cell Press Journal Cell Stem Cell. In both mice and a Phase 1 human clinical trial, long periods of not eating notably lowered white blood cell counts. In mice, fasting cycles, 'flipped a regenerative switch,' and changed the signaling pathways for, 'hematopoietic,' stem cells. The cells are responsible for the generation of both blood and immune systems according to the research performed.

The study presents large implications for healthier aging in which a person's immune system decline contributes to increased susceptibility to disease as they age. By outlining how prolonged fasting cycles or periods of no food for 2-4 days at a time over a period of 6 months kill older and damaged immune cells and generate new ones, the research performed also presents implications for chemotherapy tolerance and for people with a wide range of immune system deficiencies, to include auto-immunity disorders.

Valter Longo, Author and Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and Director of the USC Longevity Institute stated, "We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system. 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. 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"

Prolonged fasting:
Reduces enzyme PKA
Lowers levels of IGF-1
Regulates stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency
Breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells
Triggers stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells
Forces a person's body to use stores of fat, glucose and ketones

Prolonged fasting forces a person's body to use stores of fat, glucose and ketones - yet also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells. During each cycle of fasting, the depletion of white blood cells induces changes that trigger stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells. Specifically, prolonged fasting reduced enzyme, 'PKA,' an effect previously discovered to extend longevity in simple organisms and which has been linked through other research to the regulation of stem cell self-renewal and, 'pluripotency.' What this means is the potential for one cell to develop into a number of different cell types. Prolonged fasting also lowered levels of, 'IGF-1,' a growth factor hormone that has been linked to tumor progression, aging, and the risk for cancer.

PKA is the key gene that needs to shut down for stem cells to switch into regenerative mode. It gives the, 'go ahead,' for stem cells to proceed and start proliferating and rebuild the entire system. There is potential for clinical applications that mimic the effects of prolonged fasting to rejuvenate a person's immune system. The good news, according to the research, is that a person's body got rid of the parts of the system that may be old, damaged, or inefficient during fasting. If you begin with a system that is heavily damaged by aging or chemotherapy, fasting cycles may literally regenerate a new immune system.

Prolonged fasting also protected against toxicity in a clinical trial in which a small group of people fasted for a 72 hour period before receiving chemotherapy. While chemotherapy saves lives, it does cause significant collateral damage to a person's immune system. The results of the study suggest that fasting might mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy. More studies are needed of course, and dietary intervention should be pursued under the guidance of a doctor. Researchers are investigating the possibility that the effects are applicable to a number of different organs and systems, not just a person's immune system.

Fasting for two days can regenerate entire immune system, study finds

Fasting for as little as three days can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly, scientists have found in a breakthrough described as "remarkable". Although fasting diets have been criticized by nutritionists for being unhealthy, new research suggests starving the body kick-starts stem cells into producing new white blood cells, which fight off infection.

It's Official: Fasting Can Spur Stem Cell Regeneration and Boost the Immune System!

After years of speculations and debate, it has finally been confirmed- fasting can be very advantageous for people having a compromised immune system such as those suffering from cancer and other auto immune disorders. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy lack out on the much needed immune cells, and fasting every once in a while could help them tackle this. It is believed that fasting could motivate the stem cells to promote regeneration of damaged tissues and promote healing of organs that may have been damaged by chemotherapy.

Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system

In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study in the June 5 issue of the Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage - a major side effect of chemotherapy - but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal. The study has major implications for healthier aging, in which immune system decline contributes to increased susceptibility to disease as people age.

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