Fasting for just three days could be enough to regenerate your entire immune system, a new study has found. Scientists at the University of Southern California have found that fasting, or not eating for a period of time, kick-starts the body’s stem cells into producing new white blood cells.
Participants in the study were asked to fast for between two and four days on a regular basis over a six-month period, and tests were undertaken to ascertain the makeup of their blood. They found that fasting flips a ‘regenerative switch’.
Professor Valter Long of the University of California explained, “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.” When you start to eat again, the body is prompted to make new, undamaged white blood cells, leaving you with a newer and more efficient immune system.
Fasting has long been used to mitigate the effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients. Fasting for 72 hours before chemotherapy has been shown to protect patients from the toxic impact of the drugs used.
This research has been cited as potentially useful to the elderly, whose immune systems often become less effective with age, making it more difficult to fight off common diseases.
It is worth noting that any extended fasting should be undertaken under medical supervision, and that those who suffer from diabetes should be wary of going without food.
Find out more at The Telegraph website.
Have you ever tried fasting? Would you ever consider going three days without food?