The Miraculous Power of Fasting

Oily Dragon

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Does anyone see in that study (you can follow the link in the article) a clear description of the fasting protocol? (I'm dealing with some nerve pain today and having trouble focusing, so may have just missed it.)

EDIT: @Steve you're pretty good at reading these.
"prolonged fasting cycles — periods of no food for two to four days at a time over the course of six months"

It makes sense, your body goes into conservation mode when you don't consume (which is why people often don't lose much weight when they starve themselves, their bodies want to hold on to fat etc).

So in this case your body's conserving by recycling waste, which promotes new development of the immune system, which is increasingly tied to diseases later in life.

The major question in my head is, OK if periodic starvation is good for your immune system, what is it bad for?

The same question came up when I tried Keto. With both keto and starvation you are taxing the body. Done properly, it sounds like a recipe for success. But what's "proper" for any individual? I know that if I try to not eat for even half a day, I'll shut down. I went years of avoiding breakfast and often, lunch. Never realized how low my energy levels were until I started the morning with some yogurt. And I get my "immune system wash" from regular exercise anyway, don't I?
 

Steve

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Does anyone see in that study (you can follow the link in the article) a clear description of the fasting protocol? (I'm dealing with some nerve pain today and having trouble focusing, so may have just missed it.)

EDIT: @Steve you're pretty good at reading these.
So, I dug up the reference, which can be found online here: Saying No to Drugs: Fasting Protects Hematopoietic Stem Cells from Chemotherapy and Aging

Looks like the specific fasting protocol was a water-only diet in the two days immediately preceding chemotherapy followed by 12 days of eating whatever. Also, this was in mice.

That said, seems to be very optimistic.

"To further explain fasting-induced preservation of HSC function upon CP treatment, the authors tested the hypothesis that fasting can stimulate HSC renewal independent of chemotoxicity altogether. Strikingly, even a single bout of fasting significantly increased HSC numbers. This improvement was not simply due to a change in HSC abundance relative to other cell types in the BM, or even the potential stimulatory effects of refeeding, as BrdU incorporation increased specifically in HSCs during the fasting period itself. Nonetheless, the potential contribution of refeeding after prolonged fasting to BM regeneration, and effects of fasting on individual cell function, remain to be fully characterized."

I wonder if something has been done since 2014...

Edit: BM = bone marrow, CP = cyclophosphamide treatment, HSC = Hematopoetic Stem Cell

Edit 2: To clarify, the thrust of the study seemed to be on the damage that chemotherapy treatment has on general health, which affects recovery from the treatment and also could lead to other health problems including (ironically) possibly CAUSING a secondary kind of cancer. So, the idea seems to be to punch up the stem cell levels to help with this.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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So, I dug up the reference, which can be found online here: Saying No to Drugs: Fasting Protects Hematopoietic Stem Cells from Chemotherapy and Aging

Looks like the specific fasting protocol was a water-only diet in the two days immediately preceding chemotherapy followed by 12 days of eating whatever. Also, this was in mice.

That said, seems to be very optimistic.

"To further explain fasting-induced preservation of HSC function upon CP treatment, the authors tested the hypothesis that fasting can stimulate HSC renewal independent of chemotoxicity altogether. Strikingly, even a single bout of fasting significantly increased HSC numbers. This improvement was not simply due to a change in HSC abundance relative to other cell types in the BM, or even the potential stimulatory effects of refeeding, as BrdU incorporation increased specifically in HSCs during the fasting period itself. Nonetheless, the potential contribution of refeeding after prolonged fasting to BM regeneration, and effects of fasting on individual cell function, remain to be fully characterized."

I wonder if something has been done since 2014...

Edit: BM = bone marrow, CP = cyclophosphamide treatment, HSC = Hematopoetic Stem Cell
The same issue has what appears to be the human study also referred to in the original link (with chemotherapy patients). Which may have been a partial meta-study, as it also references generating deficiencies in specific (hormones?) to replicate the effect caused by fasting (which apparently causes those same deficiencies, as a trigger for the effects being measured). I just couldn't find a reference to the actual fasting protocol - only saw timeframes referenced and the term "caloric deprivation", which could probably mean complete deprivation or some specific reduction, so I wasn't clear.

EDIT: Here's the link I think is the related human study: DEFINE_ME
 

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"prolonged fasting cycles — periods of no food for two to four days at a time over the course of six months"

It makes sense, your body goes into conservation mode when you don't consume (which is why people often don't lose much weight when they starve themselves, their bodies want to hold on to fat etc).

So in this case your body's conserving by recycling waste, which promotes new development of the immune system, which is increasingly tied to diseases later in life.

The major question in my head is, OK if periodic starvation is good for your immune system, what is it bad for?

The same question came up when I tried Keto. With both keto and starvation you are taxing the body. Done properly, it sounds like a recipe for success. But what's "proper" for any individual? I know that if I try to not eat for even half a day, I'll shut down. I went years of avoiding breakfast and often, lunch. Never realized how low my energy levels were until I started the morning with some yogurt. And I get my "immune system wash" from regular exercise anyway, don't I?
From what I was able to focus on in the human study paper, it looks like the actual function is because fasting has a damaging cycle to the immune system, and the repair system (stem cells, etc.) engages to counter this. It appears to (at least in the chemo population studied) overcompensate, leading to a healthy immune system after treatment.
 

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So, I dug up the reference, which can be found online here: Saying No to Drugs: Fasting Protects Hematopoietic Stem Cells from Chemotherapy and Aging

Looks like the specific fasting protocol was a water-only diet in the two days immediately preceding chemotherapy followed by 12 days of eating whatever. Also, this was in mice.

That said, seems to be very optimistic.
The problem comes when people try to take something like this, which is aimed towards a VERY specific circumstance, and apply it to the general population.
 

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The problem comes when people try to take something like this, which is aimed towards a VERY specific circumstance, and apply it to the general population.
Agreed. What we see in the human study is specific to countering the immune system damage from chemo, which the fasting seems to have been effective at. There's nothing yet to suggest a healthy immune system would get a boost. While it's more likely an immune system inhibited by other causes is more likely (than a healthy one) to benefit from this, even that generalization is beyond this evidence.
 

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Agreed. What we see in the human study is specific to countering the immune system damage from chemo, which the fasting seems to have been effective at. There's nothing yet to suggest a healthy immune system would get a boost.
Very true.
While it's more likely an immune system inhibited by other causes is more likely (than a healthy one) to benefit from this, even that generalization is beyond this evidence.
There's actually no reason to think this, either. Because those "other causes" cause damage in different ways - hence "other".

Here's an example. There is a medication called Xermelo (Telotristat ethyl), a tryptophan hydroxylase inhibitor. It is the only drug in this class. Tryptophan hydroxylase is one of two enzymes required for the production of Serotonin. Serotonin levels are a major factor in the symptoms of Carcinoid Synrome. Xermelo is used to help control the diarrhea caused by Carcinoid Syndrome (which is caused by neuroendocrine tumors, which are a group of rare, incurable, hormonally active cancers).
So it helps with diarrhea, so it should help with other sorts of diarrhea, right?
Not so much. It ONLY works if you:
Have a Neuroendocrine cancer that is advanced enough to be hormonally active.
That cancer is causing Carcinoid Syndrome.
You are also taking a somatostatin drug (which can help slow tumor growth).
It also costs $7,850 for a 28 day supply, which might be problematic.

So while it's certainly worthwhile to do good studies of the affects of intermittent fasting, this study does not provide any basis for predicting the affects of fasting on the immune system in anything other than the very specific circumstances described in the study.
 

Oily Dragon

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I blame my Google searches for this AI treat, but here you go. It was an interesting read that popped up in my feeds this morn.

You know, when I think physical or mental excellence, Jack Dorsey (the dude who gave us Twitter) is not my go-to. "2 hours of meditation", sure buddy. Cold start.

Whoever started this trend of billionaire tech giants being the smartest/healthiest/luckiest people in the room, I can only agree with the last. But this article was thought-provoking.

Are men really given a pass when hard starving themselves, but women are chastised? Don't know, never been female, and physically incapable of starving myself.

 
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