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Intermittent Fasting and Stem Cell Regeneration




Synopsis


Fasting not only helps clear out damaged old cells but can also spark the produc- tion of new ones. In a particularly fascinating study published in June 2014, Valter and his colleagues showed, for the first time, that fasting can switch on stem cells and regenerate the immune system.⁸ Stem cells are cells that, when activated, can grow into almost any other cell. They can become brain, liver, heart tissue, whatever. The reason that this recent study is so exciting is because one of the things that happens when you age is that your immune system tends to get weaker. Being able to create new white cells and a more powerful immune system will not only keep infections at bay but may also reduce your risk of developing cancer; mutating cells that could turn into a cancer are normally destroyed by the mmune system long before they can escape and multiply.

Excerpt


There have been claims that fasting can harm your immune system and, initially, Valter’s studies seemed to support this view, as he explains, “When you starve, your 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.” ”


Clearly in the long run this would be harmful, as a fall in white blood cells would make you more vulnerable to infections and to cancers. But, as we have seen with hormesis, just because something is bad for you when pushed to the extreme does not mean it is bad when done in moderation. Valter discovered, to his considerable surprise, that if you do a short fast and then eat, you get a rebound effect, with the creation of new, more active cells. “We could not have predicted,” he said, “that fasting would have such a remarkable effect.”


There have been claims that fasting can harm your immune system and, initially, Valter’s studies seemed to support this view, as he explains, “When you starve, your 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 fasting would have such a remarkable effect.”


that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting.” Clearly in the long run this would be harmful, as a fall in white blood cells would make you more vulnerable to infections and to cancers. But, as we have seen with hormesis, just because something is bad for you when pushed to the extreme does not mean it is bad when done in moderation. Valter discovered, to his considerable surprise, that if you do a short fast and then eat, you get a rebound effect, with the creation of new, more active cells. “We could not have predicted,” he said, “that