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Does Fasting Help Your Immune System

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Day Fast Resets The Immune System

Q& A: Intermittent Fasting & the Immune System

According to an exciting 2019 study recently published in the Cell: Stem Cell research journal, prolonged fasting lasting from 48 to 120 hours can benefit your immune system and activate pathways that enhance resistance to toxins and stress. Mice and phase 1 human trials on chemotherapy patients both suggest that a period of fasting may significantly lower white blood cell count.

Fasting may help to activate regeneration and signal pathways to hematopoietic stem cells that allow the generation of blood and a healthy immune system. During fasting, your body tries to save energy. In order to do that it ends up recycling old and damaged immune cells allowing room for new ones.

The study also found that fasting may also lower IGF-1 growth hormone levels that have been linked to cancer, tumor growth, and aging. These findings support previous research that found that fasting and chemotherapy may be more effective than chemo alone. Fasting 72 hours before chemotherapy may boost the immune system and benefit chemotherapy patients

Fasting And The Immune System: How To Fast Safely

If you want to benefit from the effect of fasting on your immune system, its important that you go about it the right way. Fasting can have negative effects on the body if sustained for more than a few days, which is why diets like the Water Fast and the Master Cleanse have been highly criticized by nutritionists and dietitians.

In this case, however, you are only going to be fasting for two or three days, which is much easier on your body. Its not going to be an easy fast to go through with, but if you do it right, you should be able to make it through the 48 to 72 hours of fasting without too much suffering. This type of fasting should not be done more than a few times a year to help reset the immune system. There is no benefit to fasting all the time.

Its important to prepare yourself for your 2 or 3-day fast BEFORE you start fasting. In the week leading up to the fast, slowly wean yourself off coffee, sugar, alcohol, and any other stimulants. Cut back on meat, fish, and dairy until you are accustomed to just eating fruits and veggies for a few days. Focus on soups, as they are water-heavy and will acclimate your body to getting more liquid. Eat some fruit, seeds and nuts, but focus on veggies.

For the 3 days before your fast, aim to eat as cleanly as possible. Avoid processed foods and sugar. Focus your diet on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean means. This will be easier on your digestive system, and will help acclimate you to the fast.

Can Intermittent Fasting Boost Your Immune System

As a result of the physiological changes that occur with intermittent fasting, the immune system strengthens. Periods of fasting improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, reduce cellular waste, as well as enhance the action of immune cells and cytokines .

Intermittent fasting creates an eating pattern that aligns with our circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms regulate much of our physiology, and the immune system is trained to fluctuate in accordance with them.

The intermittent fasting pattern of fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours, aligns with the bodys sleep and wake cycles, which in turn aligns with the optimal functioning of the immune system .

Fasting also reduces levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, as well as reduces levels of protein kinase A, or PKA, which is a key regulator of immune responses in the body. In fact, lower levels of IGF-1 are associated with improved health and a longer lifespan 00151-9″ rel=”nofollow”> 8).

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How To Keep From Getting Sick

Because our immune response to fighting disease, infections and viruses in the body is so complex, there’s a lot we don’t know about why some people have a more balanced immune response while others don’t.

“The immune system is really complicated,” Dr. Cassel says. “We don’t understand very much of it at all.”

You may not have a lot of control over how your immune system functions, but there are ways to keep from getting sick.

“The main way to prevent infections is to stay away from sick people, wash your hands and get all recommended vaccines,” Dr. Cassel says.

Intermittent Fasting And Auto

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Individuals with auto-immune diseases such as systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and Crohns disease have seen a tremendous improvement in symptoms with the incorporation of intermittent fasting . This process reduces the hyper inflammatory processes these individuals undergo and allow for more normalized immune function. You can read more about how fasting improves autoimmune conditions in this article.

Cancer cells are known to have anywhere from ten to seventy times more insulin receptors than normal cells and depend upon anaerobic metabolism of sugar for fuel. Intermittent fasting starves cancer cells and leaves them vulnerable to free radical damage and ultimate destruction . You can read about the best strategies for intermittent fasting in this article.

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Should A Person Try It

While some research in animals indicates that fasting could help with a bacterial infection, but not a viral infection, a person should always listen to their body.

Even if a person has no appetite, it is important to stay hydrated and rest. A doctor can provide more specific recommendations.

People with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, and people taking medications on an ongoing basis should consult a medical professional before fasting.

Avoid The Kitchen If Possible

The kitchen can be a tempting place and remind you of all the good food you are not eating. Avoiding your kitchen is the best way to reduce emotional cravings and temptations. If you have cravings or feel hungry, drink some water or herbal tea. If you are normally in charge of cooking for your family, ask for help for three days or cook for them ahead of time.

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Intermittent Fasting Can Enhance The Immune System

We have talked about intermittent fasting many times before, and now I want to emphasize how IF can enhance your immune system. This is especially important with it being the cold and flu season.

Just to review, here are just a few of the MANY benefits of intermittent fasting:

  • Protection against inflammatory related conditions such as Alzheimers, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and obesity
  • Lowered cortisol levels at night, the stress hormone when constantly in the on position is unhealthy and can lead to cellular aging
  • Increased insulin sensitivity
  • Improved lipid profile
  • Supports healing of the gut lining
  • Slows progression of diabetes and obesity
  • Increased weight loss
  • Help in preventing metabolic and neurological diseases


The number one benefit of IF is autophagy, which involves the recycling of the old, damaged, and redundant cells in order to produce fresh new cells that are superior in function and health. During this process, defective immune cells or their parts are replaced and toxins and pathogens can be released from the cells. Fasting helps your body focus on the work of this cleanup operation and not have to be occupied by working to sweep away new toxins and excess calories in the food you eat.

The benefits of IF on the immune system include:

I am sure you are thinking, HOW CAN I FAST FOR 3 DAYS? That is impossible!

What Is Intermittent Fasting

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Intermittent fasting has become a popular practice among the health and fitness industries. It is a practice of cycling between phases of fasting and eating.

This diet practice emphasizes when you can eat, rather than what you can eat contrary to many other diet fads.

The goal of intermittent fasting is not simply to just restrict calories, but rather, to enable the body to focus its energy towards maintenance and recovery instead of towards digestion.

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What To Expect On A 3 Day Fast

Periods of fasting is natural for your body. If you think about it, our ancestors have gone through periods of famine when food was simply not available for a few days. In our modern world, we are used to everything being readily available. If our fridge is empty, all we have to do is go to the nearest grocery store, go to a restaurant, or order in.

When food is so easily available, we need to do intentional fasting to reduce the stress on our digestive system and body. A 3-day fast allows your body to rest, repair, and renew.

While a 3-day fast will certain bring many positive changes to your physical, mental, and spiritual health, a 3-day fast is also new and stressful to your body. You may experience some unwanted symptoms associated with your 3-day fast.

I want you to know that some unpleasant symptoms are normal and natural. This is what you may expect on your 3-day fast:

Does Fasting Boost The Immune System

How could not eating be good for your health? According to the USC study, fasting basically helps your body to reset its immune system, kicking it into high gear by the end of your fast and repairing damaged cells.

How does fasting and the immune system connection work?

Fasting for 2 or 3 days can be the key to restoring your immune system! #fasting #immunesystem

When you fast, you basically force your body to work extra hard to keep you going. You burn the fat you have stored around your frame, you use less energy, and so on.

Long-term fasting has been slammed as being unhealthy and of course we do need food to survive and thrive. The truth about fasting is more complicated than that. It is true that it can be a bit unhealthy if youre not smart about it. Fasting or not providing your body with the nutrition it needs for long periods of time can lead to a number of health problems, not to mention an increase in fat storage.

Avoiding eating for the sake of health is not healthy, but when fasting is used periodically and in a controlled manner, it can have some immune benefits.

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Ramadan Fasting May Affect Immune Function

The immune system in the human body is an organization consisting of cells and molecules that play a role in defending against infections. The two types of immune system include the innate immune response, which acts the same when exposed to an infectious agent multiple times, and the acquired immune response, which is enhanced by repeated exposure to the infectious agent . In the innate immune response, phagocytic cells , cells that secrete inflammatory mediators , and natural killer cells play key roles. Also, cytokines, complement, and acute phase proteins are molecular components of the innate immune system. But the cells involved in the acquired immune response are antigen-specific B and T cells, which proliferate when their surface receptors bind to antigens. B cells release antibodies that target extracellular microorganisms. The role of T cells in acquired immunity is to help B cells to producing antibodies and also kill virus-infected cells and intracellular pathogens by activating macrophages .

⢠Adherence to the WHO recommendations: this includes frequent hand washing maintaining a distance of at least one meter from others, and wearing a mask.

⢠Most religious authorities have always stated that, if a person has problems with ill-health, it is better to refrain from fasting.

⢠During fasting, avoid being in a crowded public space such as bus, subway, etc.

⢠Have more rest during fasting.

⢠Avoid going to religious places for prayer and supplication .

Health Benefits Of Fasting Backed By Science

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Despite its recent surge in popularity, fasting is a practice that dates back centuries and plays a central role in many cultures and religions.

Defined as the abstinence from all or some foods or drinks for a set period of time, there are many different ways of fasting.

In general, most types of fasts are performed over 2472 hours.

Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting, ranging from a few hours to a few days at a time.

Fasting has been shown to have many health benefits, from increased weight loss to better brain function.

Here are 8 health benefits of fasting backed by science.

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Fasting For Three Days Can Regenerate Entire Immune System Study Finds

  • Fasting for three 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 criticised 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.

    Scientists at the University of Southern California say the discovery could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy.

    It could also help the elderly whose immune system becomes less effective as they age, making it harder for them to fight off even common diseases.

    The researchers say fasting “flips a regenerative switch” which prompts stem cells to create brand new white blood cells, essentially regenerating the entire immune system.

    “It gives the ‘OK’ for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system,” said Prof Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the University of California.

    “And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting.

    Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or ageing, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.”




    Fasting Can Stress Your Body Especially If You Fast For A Full Day Or Longer

    If you’re used to eating regular meals and snacks, breaking your routine and forgoing food could cause a rise in your body’s cortisol levels, according to Rumsey. Cortisol is a hormone often associated with stress but also linked to metabolism, blood sugar, inflammation, and even memory. Too much of it can trigger fat storage and muscle breakdown, Rumsey said.

    “At a time like this, when we are already stressed, the last thing we want to do is put more stress on our bodies,” she said.

    Potential side effects can include lower cognitive performance, sleep disruption, and decreased mental alertness, as well as erratic blood sugar levels.

    “Fasting for extended periods of time can lead to very low blood sugar followed by a large spike when you finally do eat,” Rumsey said.

    Attia also cautioned against fasting for two or more days based on research that it can spike cortisol levels and potentially limit immune system function.

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    Fasting And Other Diseases

    In addition to the potential benefits against infections, fasting may also help with the following medical conditions:

    • Type 2 Diabetes: Intermittent fasting may have positive effects on insulin resistance and blood sugar levels for some individuals (

    Either directly or indirectly, fasting may positively affect several medical conditions.

    There’s Not Enough Research To Show Fasting Can Boost The Immune System In The Short Term

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    However, “boosting” your immune system in the short-term isn’t among those benefits.

    Attia noted that it’s unclear how dietary habits might help your odds of fighting off a COVID-19 infection.

    “It’s safe to say we don’t actually know, and to suggest otherwise is probably a bit irresponsible,” Attia said in a video posted on the Zero blog.

    Some proponents of fasting have claimed that their protocols can help strengthen the immune system or prevent illness. One chiropractor, for instance, claimed that fasting can “clean up microbes, bacteria, viruses, parasites from your body.” But there’s no evidence fasting can cure or prevent the novel coronavirus.

    “Unfortunately, we are seeing a lot of people playing to these fears by touting fasting and other diet protocols as a way to boost immunity, when in reality this isn’t something we have much control over,” Rumsey said.

    However, there are helpful actions people can take to protect themselves beyond limiting meals. Experts agree that that social distancing and hand-washing are among the most important ways to “flatten the curve” or stop the spread of the virus.

    “The best thing we can do for our immunity is to get adequate sleep and cultivate multiple coping skills to deal with stress,” Rumsey said.

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    What Can You Do To Boost Your Immune System

    The idea of boosting your immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so has proved elusive for several reasons. The immune system is precisely that a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still much that researchers don’t know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. For now, there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function.

    But that doesn’t mean the effects of lifestyle on the immune system aren’t intriguing and shouldn’t be studied. Researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response, both in animals and in humans. In the meantime, general healthy-living strategies make sense since they likely help immune function and they come with other proven health benefits.

    Immunity in action. A healthy immune system can defeat invading pathogens as shown above, where two bacteria that cause gonorrhea are no match for the large phagocyte, called a neutrophil, that engulfs and kills them .

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