Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fasting to Cure Cancer?

By Liz Davies (guest blogger)

Based on recent studies performed on mice, fasting slowed the growth and spread of tumors in certain cancers. According to the study published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, five of eight of the cancers tested responded favorably to fasting. 
It is also noteworthy that in every single case, when chemotherapy was combined with fasting, the chemotherapy proved more effective. In some cases, combining chemotherapy and fasting to treat cancer caused dramatically better results than using chemotherapy alone.

One example of fasting and chemotherapy success involved using treatments of multiple cycles of fasting and chemotherapy to treat a very aggressive type of cancer common to children.
This combination treatment cured 20 percent of the mice even though the cancer had already spread. In mice where the cancer had not spread, 40 percent of the mice were cured using fasting and chemotherapy. What makes these findings even more dramatic is the fact that none of the mice survived that were treated exclusively with chemotherapy.

While initial findings related to fasting and cancer treatment show promise, scientists are quick to point out that clinical trials must be conducted for several years before a determination can be made about the effectiveness of fasting as a treatment for cancer in humans. One encouraging finding published in the journal, Aging in 2010 reported that ten patients who fasted during chemotherapy experienced fewer negative side effects than their counterparts.

Other good news includes data supporting findings that fasting without chemotherapy slowed the growth of several types of cancer such as melanoma, breast cancer,
mesothelioma and human neuroblastoma. Survival times were also extended by fasting, for mice with ovarian cancer. Even though cancer cells became resistant to fasting as the only treatment after one cycle, fasting did effectively prevent the cancer from spreading.

Studies show that normal healthy cells go into a dormant state when deprived of nutrients from fasting. Cancer cells react differently, actually self-destructing when starved of food. Conversely, fasting appears to help normal cells, actually protecting them from the negative effects of chemotherapy.

This discovery about fasting and its negative impact on cancer cells fuels future research. Professor Valter Longo from the University of Southern California was originally inspired to study fasting and cancer cells after realizing that yeast cells changed into a new cell form when starved. These yeast cells actually resemble the yeast cells he studied. Longo concluded that
the best way to beat cancer might be to exposing them to extreme environments like fasting, where they cannot thrive and spread.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April. If you would like to contact her she can be reached at healthylizd@gmail.com.