The University of Southern California recently discovered that extended periods of fasting have significant improvement in bodies, most remarkedly in our immune systems.
For healthy aging, this breakthrough allows further options to bolster longevity free from typical age-related diseases. Our bodies operate differently when eating every day compared to extended periods of fasting. Starving our bodies of food causes a significant shift in energy savings within the body.
The body recycles and destroys cells that are no longer functioning optimally. We have known for decades that fasting depletes our stored-up glycogen and switches our primary fat-burning system to shift from glucose to ketones. We see inches of fat disappear as the body burns that fat for energy.
We also know fasting also causes a decrease in our white blood cells. This decline of white blood cells activates our bodies to regenerate new immune cells. When fasts are prolonged (72 hours or longer), there is a reduction of the enzyme PKA (protein kinase A).
PKA halts the ability of stem cells to change to a regenerative mode. Stem cells in a regenerative mode cause our immune system cells to grow anew. A 72-hour fast can begin the rebuilding of our immune system.
Prolonged fasting allows the body to rid itself of old, inefficient, and damaged cells. Another benefit of extended fasting is that the hormone, IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), decreases. A reduction in IGF-1 has been associated with aging and cancer.
I’ve done extended fasts for several years. I’ve done 72-hour fasts or longer a few times. As I write this, I am 66 hours into a 72-hour fast. I practice intermittent fasting regularly. There are many, many benefits to fasting.
As you break your fast, restart your eating with nutritionally balanced foods. Additionally, if you are on any medication, please consult your physician before doing any type of fast.