Fasting and CLL: I am reading posts from a... - CLL Support

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Fasting and CLL

Pnolvr profile image

I am reading posts from a couple years ago about CLL and fasting. Does anyone have long term results they’ve experienced/ not experienced. My husband is a big advocate of fasting and I am wondering whether it will be useful. Diagnosed May 2018. Still w&w. Thanks!

12 Replies
Cllcanada profile image
CllcanadaTop Poster CURE Hero

Fasting and CLL treatment has been looked at in the lab, I'm not sure if there are any clinical trials yet...

Pnolvr profile image
Pnolvr in reply to Cllcanada

Thank you Cllcanada. That article was interesting. My husband has been following Valter Longo and his research, but not specifically related to CLL.


Newdawn profile image

Is it this past post and the linked research you’ve been reading Pnolvr?

I’m afraid I have no personal experience of fasting in its purist terms (I can’t stop eating long enough!) but the 5-2 diet is heavily promoted and shows great success in regulating glucose and calorie control. However it doesn’t involve total fasting for the 2 days just very limited food intake.

The obvious advice would be to mention it to the doctors but the truth is I’d be amazed if they’d be clued up on this. Sorry I can’t work out whether you or your husband have CLL. I think you have the diagnosis date wrong.

Edit: just noticed it could be your 80yr old Aunt who has CLL. In that case I’d urge more caution because older people need to be careful about maintaining nutritional content. Seek medical advice before embarking on this. Oh you also have CLL. Can you clarify who you are referring to please...I’m getting confused! 😊

Best wishes,


Pnolvr profile image
Pnolvr in reply to Newdawn

Sorry Newdawn,

I have CLL, diagnosed May 2017 (not 2018). My aunt has CLL also. She is 83 years old and definitely fasting would be terrible for her as she has numerous other health issues. My husband is overweight and has had a lot of success with fasting. He has been doing much online research and has been discussing the benefits of fasting for 2 or more days and encouraging me to try it. I am concerned about fasting it as I was anorexic in my earlier years. I was trying to find out if there is more specific information about fasting effects that people with CLL have experienced--has there been a decline in their B-cell count, other benefits.... I am sorry to be so confusing.


Newdawn profile image
NewdawnAdministrator in reply to Pnolvr

Hi Gail,

Thanks, that clarifies it. I’m not aware of any specific studies yet but I’m sure you’ll find the link Chris has posted very useful.

With your history of anorexia, I’d urge caution about possibly de-stabilising your eating routines. Good, wholesome food, reduction in carbs and sugars and a little exercise is the best way to go. No reason your husband couldn’t try it though seeing as he sounds very keen and it’s shown to have very beneficial results for weight loss.

As you’ve rightly acknowledged, fasting is never recommended for the over 80’s or people with certain conditions without medical oversight.

Best wishes,


P.S. a good idea to restrict your posts to the community because your name and circumstances may now identify you and unlocked posts find their way onto the net.

Hi Pnolvr,

I fast and do cleanses two or three times a year. I do it to support my liver and kidneys because they have to process so many drugs. Generally I feel clearer and lighter and my digestion/excretion is better and more regular. Does it improve blood values? Not a diddly-squat. But in terms of the see-saw between health and illness, I feel that fasts and cleanses support my health even though they seem to have no obvious effect on the path of CLL.

Best wishes, Peter

Thanks peterinGermany. This helps. When you say cleanse do you mean fasting for a few days?

Hi Pnolvr,

For me, fasting is usually without food for a minimum of three or four days with some plain fluids, water, juices or teas or whatever is recommended to flush out toxins and maintain fluid levels. A fast or a cleanse is usually ended by the slow introduction of simple food with roughage to clean the digestive tracts - wholemeal oat porridge or cooked whole grain rice without salt or sugar.

A cleanse is similar but different. Usually no food but with raw vegetable/fruit juices and/or herbal teas which are said to have beneficial effects on parts of the body, organs or blood.

About a month ago I fasted for two days with water followed by a beetroot/celeriac/radish and carrot juice diet, freshly made daily and accompanied by three different herb teas. I lost five kilos of water in less than a week. However, the water retention in my lower legs has slowly returned once I stopped. This cleanse was directed at stimulating the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow, but there was no change. Still, overall I felt better and it was worth trying.

Best wishes, Peter

I'm so far out of my element here that I DEFINITELY should not be responding to this thread. But I will, since it might save a life ....

Fasting & cleansing (with or without the enemas that seem to be popular with the clean GI-aficionados) is extraordinarily stressful for a non-CLL body, and likely in some CLL-persons to be so stressful as to create a full body shutdown. The 'high' that comes from the fast/cleanse routine is triggered by the resultant electrolyte imbalance. The absence of proper nutrition for a day or two or three ... can trigger a stroke for a body that's already stressed. There are so many ways to kill yourself once you're already in a fragile state ... and the cleanse/fast routine should be added to that list unless closely monitored by a health-care provider. What's next for CLL-ers? Head-banging therapy?

Let's all be wary of engaging in unsupervised, drastic modifications to our daily rhythm. The impact of withdrawal from regular food-intake while in a fragile or medicated state is unknown till the person collapses. Ask your doctor. But, I'm ready to wager my entire bitcoin account that you'll be advised that <any> rapid change, particularly the withdrawal of food, is not gonna be recommended.

So, by all means try this stressor-regimen but only if you have an ambulance parked in the driveway or it's been prescribed by your CLL-specialist.

Just my thinkin' ... Caven

Newdawn profile image
NewdawnAdministrator in reply to caven

You may be interested in this previous discussion Caven. Many of our Moslem members of course fast during Ramadan and this is interesting feeback.

I think anyone taking diabetic medication, very elderly or undergoing treatment would need to exercise extreme caution but I’m not as convinced of the catastrophic consequences you predict for many of us in sensible and measured fasting. Everything I’ve read suggests improved immune system response.

I’d always suggest running this past the doctor first of course and never risk dehydration.


I think it's definitely good and it is been said for cancer patients to not eat at least 12 hours a day and maybe more like 14 hours. maybe finished dinner around 6 PM and then not till 8 AM . This gives time for the body to hopefully heal itself while not having to process food .

I personally know someone who went on a raw food low sugar vegan diet. She proceeded to bring her white count down from 150,000 to 50,000 and hold it there for a few years and put off treatment .

I am on a mostly vegan diet.

The China study is a great book as well as the movie forks over knives You can watch it on Netflix .

Be well,


I have CLL Stage 0 for 3 years. In looking back, I think I've had it for longer than that with chronic lymph node issues and illnesses. I use intermittent fasting for getting autophagy to clean the broken white blood cells out of my system. In my first year of diagnosis, I had my blood tested 3 times. My numbers got better each time, as I followed the diet and encorporated longer fasts. At my last blood test my numbers have crept up slightly, and I haven't been as strict with the diet during covid and having family members at home, more food around, more stress eating. I'm planning to get back on the intermittent fasting. Earlier - I would do 14 hours fasting usually, once a week doing 16-20 hours . I also take vitamin D & Tumeric.

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