With cancer poised to become the number one killer in North America and traditional therapies not cutting the mustard for long-term success, it may be time to rethink the war on cancer. We have been focused on killing it conventionally at all costs, even when the collateral damage is significant and often accelerates the demise of a weakened immune system.
So instead of an all out attack on a weakened immune system, how about choosing a method that allows the immune system to regenerate and heal itself with its infinite wisdom and fight cancer by fasting?
Feasting vs fasting
The irony of the state of nutrition in North America is that most people are overfed and undernourished. We tend to overeat and this constant feasting puts a continual strain on our digestive system and organs that are responsible for breaking down this often questionable food. This puts undue stress on our immune system, of which 80% lies in the gut.
With this constant feasting our digestive and immune systems are chewing up a large part of our available energy to undertake this arduous task. This means less energy is available to the body to detoxify and to repair cells, tissues, and organs.
So what happens when we fast?
When the body is not directing its energy towards digestion, it uses that extra power to clean our internal abode. When fasting (whether it is just water or liquids), the body starts to use stored fat as a source of energy. In the beginning, it will rid itself of diseased tissues, excess nutrients, and accumulated wastes and toxins. This process creates an environment for the body to begin healing by repairing and regenerating different areas of the body, including the digestive and immune system.
Fasting and its effects on cancer
A study by researchers at the University of Southern California showed that extended fasting not only protects against immune system damage, but also induces immune system regeneration.
In a clinical trial involving patients who were receiving chemotherapy, scientists found that when patients didn’t eat for an extended period of time, their white blood cell count went down. This induces changes that trigger stem cell based regeneration of new immune system cells, so cycles of fasting basically help generate a new immune system.
Another study conducted on the effects of fasting on cancer patients has shown that those who included fasting in their therapy had fewer side effects from chemotherapy and it slowed down the growth of tumors and even eliminated the threat of cancer in some patients. According to Research Professor Valter Longo, University of Southern California:
“What we are seeing is that the cancer cell tries to compensate the lack of all these things missing in the blood after fasting. It may be trying to replace them, but it can’t. The cell is, in fact, committing cellular suicide”.
The researchers also stated that fasting essentially “…flips a regenerative switch” which prompts stem cells to create new white blood cells and begin regenerating the entire immune system. Not only that, but they found that prolonged fasting also reduces the enzyme PKA, which is linked to a hormone which increases cancer risk and tumor growth.
In response to criticism that fasting could cause issues in cancer patients, Dr. Longo stated “…there is no evidence at all that fasting would be dangerous while there is strong evidence that it is beneficial. Thus far the great majority have reported doing very well and only a few have reported some side effects including fainting and a temporary increase in liver markers.”
It’s important to note there are several types of fasting, including no food or drink, just water, and just liquids. There are also different types of fasting that can be as little as 16 hours and as much as 30 or more days.
One of the more popular and safer fasting rituals is green juicing, which is a great way to give your digestive system a rest while it nourishes and detoxifies your system with beneficial, regenerating nutrients. Doing this type of therapy over a period of 3 days at least once a month can accelerate the repair of a damaged immune system, and help the body heal from cancer and its conventional treatments like chemotherapy.