How Fasting Protects Against Disease.
“Fasting done periodically is a very powerful and natural way to help the body first recover from the incremental damages inflicted by an unhealthy lifestyle and then to rejuvenate its cells and systems.”
Dr. Valter Longo, Director, USC Longevity Institute
I’ve written much about fasting recently.
Having gone through several 5-day fasts myself that delivered results I had never been able to achieve with any other protocol, and after digging into the research, I’m convinced that fasting may be the single most effective path to deep healing and longevity.
The Magic “Shield”
When we fast, the body, in its brilliance, goes into a highly protected, non-growth mode. Dr. Valter Longo, a leading researcher on aging and age-related disease and developer of a “fasting-mimicking diet”, refers to this as the “shield”. He explains that cells stop dividing in order to clean out cellular trash, repair broken DNA, and strengthen to survive periods of “starvation”.
His research into cancer illustrates the profound effect of fasting on disease resistance and longevity. Scientific studies indicate its promise for helping people with inflammatory bowel conditions, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions and Multiple Sclerosis, among others.
For years, cancer research has been focused on the development of drugs that target the disease. Chemotherapy, for instance, targets cancer cells but leaves a devastated immune system in its wake.
A Provocative Study
Longo decided to test an idea he had that would distinguish cancer cells from normal cells so they could be targeted in treatment without harming healthy cells. He knew that when you starve an organism, cells protect themselves to survive – setting up a shield.
Cancer cells are different. Call them rogue or obstinate, they simply don’t respond to the message to hunker down and protect themselves.
Using this as a foundation for one of his studies, Longo took a group of mice with tumors and divided them into two groups. The first he put on a three-day water fast before giving them multiple cycles of chemotherapy. The other group was kept on a normal diet.
“Virtually all the fasting mice were alive and moving around normally after high-dose chemotherapy,” said Longo. While the mice on the normal diet were sick and in the following weeks, 65% of those that didn’t fast died. Nearly all of the fasted mice survived.
The point… Fasting is a practice long forgotten in a world where food is ubiquitous. And yet it is the most natural approach we can use to strengthen the body and guard against many of the diseases we confront today.
An Easier Way to Fast
Most of us would benefit from fasting but it can be challenging – especially when you know that in order to achieve the greatest benefits you need to fast for an extended period. Five days being optimal according to Longo.
Longo and his team at the USC Longevity Institute were well aware of the challenges and the potential dangers of fasting, so they engineered a workaround – a way to fast with food. They developed the Prolon Fasting Mimicking Diet – a 5-day nutritional plan that tricks the body into a fasting mode with just enough nourishment to keep us sound.
I’ve taken many people through this program – all successfully completing it and experiencing everything from weight loss to increased energy, better sleep, and much gratitude for taking a step into better health.
We’re gearing up for a series of Virtual Fasts. Want to join us? Go here to learn more.
See you there!
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