Fasting: Is anyone trying intermittent fasting... - CLL Support

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Cfarrar profile image

Is anyone trying intermittent fasting and can attest to the fact that it has helped their numbers or their overall health. Heard that for maximum benefit fasting for more than 36 hours is necessary. I’ve had so many gut issues since diagnosis and nothing can be found as the cause but since I tried fasting 18 hrs a day my gut feels better. Now I’m curious if 72 hr fasting might help me even more. I’ve seen documentaries on fasting and I really believe there is something to be gained by it.

36 Replies

My cll specialist is very open minded. He did not suggest that I take up intermittent fasting, just that I read up on it. My wife (who does not have cll) and I took it up about 4 years ago - eating only between noon and 6-7 pm, daily. We skip a meal and basically have breakfast at lunch and dinner between 5:30 and 6:30.

I can’t say it has helped my numbers but certainly it has not hurt them. The slow decline in my numbers (over 7 years) continued and I finally had to start treatment (Acalabrutinib) earlier this year - all my numbers were still okay but my neutrophil was dangerously low (low even before starting fasting)

Both my wife and I feel better because of the intermittent fasting, we’re not that hungry in the mornings and we get to prepare one less meal each day - and it seems to make it easier to control our weight.

Whose to say whether any one non-therapy step slows down progression. But I believe every little step helps - whether it’s fasting, avoiding certain types of foods, exercising regularly, controlling stress, seeking out social supports, watching weight. Certainly doing something helps you believe that you have some impact on your disease progression.

Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to Vizilo

Thank you, I appreciate your input. I agree with you completely.

Avoiding artificial colored/sweetened foods, overly processed foods & organic fruits, vegetables & least processed meats is a good idea…if budget allows.

Would be great if it effected numbers. Our specialists would have us fast if that were the case.You mentioned gut issues.. my nodes in my stomach caused gastroparesis. I don't know ur symptoms but see a gastroenterologist if ur having issues.


Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to GMa27

How did they diagnose you to know that is for sure what you have? My gastroenterologist has done a endoscopy and found nothing and al the usual tests they run. It’s so frustrating.

GMa27 profile image
GMa27 in reply to Cfarrar

I had severe stomach pains one day. ER could not find anything. Then week later bad pains. Slowly gained weight over 4 months prior which was rare for me. Always hungry after huge meals. Had scan, colonoscopy then finally gastric elimination test. I digested 50% (severely slow) compared to others. Strict diet... normally no cure. But my gastroparesis after 3 years disappeared. My hematologist figured it out...said 5 months after chemo my nodes shrank & gastroparesis gone.

Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to GMa27

Great! Thanks for sharing!

lankisterguy profile image

Hi Cfarrar,


There are 71 times that fasting was mentioned in previous postings here:


And you can also see some of them by looking for the box on this page labeled:

Related Posts

*Fasting or intermittent fasting

*Fasting and Ibrutinib

*CLL and autophagy through fasting.

*Fasting and ketonic diet effective in CLL?



Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to lankisterguy

Len, thank you!!!

I do two total fasting days a week. Monday and Friday. I allow myself only water, Moringa tea and black coffee.

I eat my last meal on Sunday evening about 5 or 6 and then breakfast about 9 am on Tuesday.

Last meal on Thursday evening about 5 or 6 and then breakfast on Saturday anytime I feel like eating generally about 9:30-10:00am.

No, I am not hungry at all and on days that I eat I really crunch the numbers to get in the nutrition I need. I have the approval of all my doctors and I am feeling great. My cardiologist is extremely pleased and says the results is good. I have had CLL for going on 32+ years and am now back on Watch, Wait and Worry after 17 years of on and off treatment….I feel I have my answer. Granted we are all so very different but this works for me.

All the very best to you!

Panz 🙏🙂💕☘️

Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to Panz

Great Panz! Thank you for sharing!

nuji profile image
nuji in reply to Panz

What’s your meal like when you are feeding? Do you restrict carbs? Do you avoid sugar? What about Whiskey? Any pointers on what you do?

Panz profile image
Panz in reply to nuji

This has been my lifestyle for so long…I will tell you what I do. I have had CLL for 32 + years and it was at the time of diagnosis I changed things up a bit as I had three children that I wanted to remain a part of there lives.

The day of diagnosis my doctor told me there were only three things that I could do that might put me on a good path.

1/ Attitude

2/ Healthy diet

3/ Keep vaccinations current

So since I had NEVER liked the taste or texture of meat, fish or poultry. However, my life style of eating was far from healthy and so became a vegetarian. My diet is simply a plant based diet and I focus on eating the rainbow. I try to keep my carbs complex, I watch the nuts and cheese as they are healthy but too much of a good thing ceases to be a good thing and my I do love nuts and cheese!

I avoid sugar as best I can trying to not eat anything with more then 3g.

No diet sodas or diet anything. I try hard to push water as that is just so good for everyone. I love my black coffee and Moringa tea.

As for alcohol that just isn’t my thing as it is just wasted calories. Wine gives me a headache and whiskey isn’t for me. But if I position must be social it is a dirty martini for me.

If you or anyone else has a question just ask and I will do my best to answer!

All the very best to you!! We are all in this together!!

Panz 🙏🙂💕☘️

Vlaminck profile image
Vlaminck in reply to Panz

Panz, eating vegetarian, have you had any symptoms from deficient B12? I'm almost total vegetarian but have had sore tongue, etc., from what I believe is B12 deficiency (and clears up with supplement). So you take vitamin supplements? By the way, I also somewhere read something to make me think B12 is NOT good for CLL, can't recall where, and went a while ignoring but then figured maybe better not.

Panz profile image
Panz in reply to Vlaminck

Thank you for asking about Vitamin B 12.

I am so very sorry I accidentally forgot to mention that I do take a multi vitamin as well as an iron, folic acid plus multi vitamins that is a prescription as I have a. Issue with iron % saturation.

I also take a few outer supplements all approved by my doctors and I have labs done every 4 weeks ahead of my IVIG.

So back to your original question…..I carry a high Vitamin B 12, however, I feel it is because of what I am taking.

A lot of people have issue with Vitamin B12 and some even must resort to injections. This becomes more common as we get older.

You please take care and I am most happy to answer any questions you might have.

Panz 🙏🙂💕☘️

nuji profile image
nuji in reply to Panz

Thanx Panz! Awesome! Keep going for another 32 at least.

When you say 3 grams of Sugar, is it per dish or per day? Because 3 grams would be about a teaspoon of sugar.

I’m really confused about diet. The article which Aussiesneil posted about CLL using fats as fuel. I was on a low protein, low carb, high fat vegetarian diet (nuts, flaxseed, avocados) and on IF. Doing great on losing weight. Now I just don’t know what to do. No simple carbs, low complex carbs, low protein, high fibre, high fat diet and monitoring my insulin with CGM, maintaining average glucose below 90.

Missing my whiskey though

Panz profile image
Panz in reply to nuji

Here I the states all food items list the nutritional value per serving…..i try to stay at a total of 3g per serving.

If it is something I make I cut the sugar in half and use maple sugar when ever possible. I also aim for complex carbs, low protein, high fiber. My glucose ranges 70-90 and has never been at issue. Weight is a non issue and that is just how I like it!

So nice visiting with you!

Panz 🙏💕🙂☘️

nuji profile image
nuji in reply to Panz


Cfarrar, If interested in intermittent fasting, I suggest you look into the "fasting mimicing diet" developed by Dr. Valter Longo.

Eat Well to Be/Stay Well - K9

Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to cujoe

I just ordered it, thank you.

Check my profile and previous posts regarding this topic. I don't think there is definite proof that fasting will directly improve blood counts. But I do believe it helps in combination with avoiding toxins in foods and exercise. I'm doing one meal a day. And I consciously avoid everything that I know to be harmful, notably fructose,among others. Then I eat everything else. OMAD isn't exactly easy. It can become quite unpleasant by the time the 23 hours before my next meal pass. I drink a bulletproof coffee to make hunger go away when necessary. A little butter and coconut oil in your coffee technically don't take you out of fasting. But of course the pure water fast is the real deal.

Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to LeoPa

Thank you!

So I tried IF in conjunction with a dry January. Diagnosed with CLL last summer. I’m on W&W. it didn’t seem to affect the numbers for my WBC.. But ...... for the first time my platelets where in the norm as opposed to being low. I haven’t done IF for a while as my weakness for toast and marmalade knows no bounds. Im a keen cyclist and losing a few pounds wouldn’t be a bad thing. I guess IF allows you to live on two meal a day. I’m considering doing another “dry month” to see if it affects the platelet count as opposed to IF

nuji profile image
nuji in reply to Someca

Someca, when you say dry I presume no alcohol??

Someca profile image
Someca in reply to nuji


I do intermittent fasting and I feel much better for it. My blood results were the best they have been for 3 years but I'm not sure if that's down to IF.

Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to Floxxy

That’s great!

I do intermittent fasting - I do not eat in the evenings and have a good breakfast at 9 in the morning and a big lunch at 1.30 pm. I started doing this because of my acid reflux but I think it may have other digestive benefits as well, for the liver for instance. Certainly I keep the acid reflux under control this way, together with sleeping in a bed that is raised 20 cm at the head end. I used to have constant digestive problems when I was still eating in the evenings, but since I started the intermittent fasting I have had none. It has been a huge relief, and has contributed a lot towards more restful sleeping.Whether it has an effect on my CLL/SLL I cannot say. There certainly is no clear evidence that it has had a beneficial effect, but I think that any contribution to my overall health contributes to keeping the CLL under control. Certainly, being awake at night because of digestive problems would have a direct and negative effect on the immune system.

Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to Provence

Yes, the hard part is skipping dinner when your a mom of four. But I know it helps for sure when I skip eating after 3pm.

I have CLL and Fibromyalgia. I intermittently fast 5 days a week, 7pm-10am. This has been very good for my inflammation and I have a lot more energy. I’ve also lost over 40lbs since I started IF in April. My Hematologist & Primary are both onboard and said I can continue unless I start losing weight for other health reasons. I feel more energetic and mindful.

You are fortunate to have a CLL specialist who has an open mind and sees the potential relationship between food and health -- sadly, this doesn't always seem to be the case.

I started Paleo shortly after my first treatment and found that was helpful, although there's no way to know if my numbers improved as a result -- although I didn't need treatment again for six years. I have been doing intermittent fasting for about two years and find that I feel the best with about a 14 - 16 hour interval between dinner and 'break fast'. I routinely checked my glucose levels for awhile, even though I am not diabetic, and found that there wasn't much improvement after 14 hours. I am on Imbruvica 240 mg now and feel that my body tolerates the drug better on an empty stomach.

I try to balance keto days with more carb days and avoid gluten and sugar as much as possible, although I surely love a big bowl of ice cream! The take-away from this I think is to find out what feels best for you, learning to listen to your body and focusing on gut health.

Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to MN1999

Thank you!

My husband was diagnostic with CLL in 2013, He is takin Calquence since March 2020 and we start doing intermittent fasting last year. Along with high protein intake and low carb diet. It has been a miracle. We ate twice a day in a window of 8 ~ 9 hours and fast the rest of the time water or Te. All our numbers get better specially the triglycerides and colesterol. Now he does not need statin it is one pill less. Me too. I do not have CLL. But my colesterol was high and I did not want to take any statin. So hight protein intake did the trick. And feel healthy and have more energy than ever. Even some times we busy or out we can go longer periods of time without felling hungry. The longer period of fasting time has been 18 hours.

Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to Chillo

Thank you for sharing such good information!

I just do intermittent fasting with a 13-14 hour fast each night. This keeps me from snacking after dinner. I read a study that said that women who were breast cancer survivors who fasted just 13 hours a day had a 70% reduction in recurrence. I've not had breast cancer but I'm all about prevention. I think my resting heart rate goes down when I fast for 14 hours consistently. I've been using intermittent fasting for a couple of years and it hasn't made any difference in my lymphocyte numbers that I can tell. I don't think I would be up for a 36 hour fast.

Cfarrar profile image
Cfarrar in reply to Astro617

Thank you for this very helpful information!

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