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Hi Folks,

I just wanted to share this article on using fasting to rebuild the immune system.

There are obvious implications for the discussions here, and we know fasting is god for you, but now there is scientific evidence for the beneficial effects of fasting on the immune system.

This study suggests a damaged immune system could be completely regenerated through periods of fasting.

Historically all cultures used fasting and it is generally said that someone should fast for as many days a year as they have been alive. I'm 40 so should aim for 40 days fasting this next year.

I have completed plenty of juice fasts, and live on a mostly juice diet, but I think I might give this "no food fast" a go for a couple of days.

I know it'll do me good because all the other fasts have been amazing for my body, but not always for my The clarity and energy they give you is amazing.

Usually I need 8-9 hours sleep a night but if I fast I am literally awake after about 6 hours looking around thinking bedtime is for wimps!!!lol

I once did Dr Norman Walkers 40 day juice fast for arthritis and it was an experience for

Anyways, please enjoy the article and try fasting for yourself. This method states 2-4 days are needed so most people should be fine with that. However, it is always best to conduct fasts under the care of your doctor.

Best wishes,

Wade Tate

11 Replies

Hi Wade,

interesting article. It is worth noting though that fasting is not always appropriate for people with medical conditions for many reasons and that they should always check before embarking on such a regime.

We do not discourage people from trying alternative therapies, diets etc but some caution has to be used. The article does not definitively say it works and more study needs to be done but it is certainly "food for thought" if you will pardon the pun!

Beverley (NRAS Helpline)


Hi Beverley,

Thanks for your input.

You are correct in that care needs to be taken, that's why I added that this should be done under supervision of your doctor.

Not sure if you fully read the article, and it's source material, but I think you may of missed this piece?

“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system,”

“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” Longo said. “What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting.

Valter Longo, Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute.

Seems clear to me?

I base my observations on personal experience and know for a fact EVERYONE could do with eating less.

Taking two days break from eating is safe for just about every single person on this planet, as long as you take the appropriate fluids.

What are your personal experiences of fasting?

Fasting for shot periods is not dangerous unless you are in a very very fragile state. Shame we can't seem to live without putting our hands to our mouths for more then 30 minutes. We would see much less disease.

Best wishes,



I'm not sure I agree that:

“What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting"

equates to:

"This study suggests a damaged immune system could be completely regenerated through periods of fasting"

Beneficial maybe

Certainly I agree that as a society we have a problem with obesity which in turn cause medical issues.



Note that the white blood cell count went down in both mice and humans after fasting but only mice had "a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system". I very skeptical of the idea that you come out of it with a brand new immune system. If that were the case you would also lose tolerance to your own self-antigens and have more autoimmune disease! "Fresh" cells do not mean different in how they react to antigens.


Hi Don122,

Have you tried fasting at all?

I don't think you would lose tolerance to your own self antigens as immune cells train themselves on the job and are not static.

My own experience tells me that you can down regulate this action and retrain cells through using natural methods.

If we weren't able to restore control the over reactions of the immune system would be a one way street to deaths door.

This is why we have an auto immune disease in the first place. The immune cells get trained to recognise the wrong thing. That stimuli could be a food particle passing through the gut wall or a fungal joint infection.

Unfortunately we also damage our bodies and introduce toxins, which the immune system is trying to act against.

The misunderstanding would be to think the immune system was defective in the first place, as is commonly taught. More likely the immune system is simply trying to carry out jobs we don't understand and has become negatively trained or damaged due to being under massive stress from the incoherent signals and malnutrition.

Our toxic insides, broken systems, compromised membranes, and chemical confusions are likely at fault for making the immune system react the way it does. If we clean up the body generally and rebuild the immune system we might just have a way of bringing about lasting health.

If we think everything's going to end in disaster it probably will. Have a bit of faith in the healing power of the body it can do amazing things.

Best wishes,

Wade Tate


You would have to argue that with Dr Longo?

He states the following..

“Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.”

Notice "generate" not regenerate. To me that means make new, not repair?

The only correction I would make to your statement is that fasting is obviously beneficial.

Longo states...

"the effect on the hematopoietic system is clear"

Lets not forget the hematopoietic system consists of the blood-making organs, principally the bone marrow,lymph nodes, the liver, thymus, and spleen.

All very important because immune cells start as immature cells in the bone marrow and are differentiated as needed. These organs also store and regulate the immune system.

Improving function is what we should be doing.

The study did explain why the white blood count is reduced? The reduction is seen because defective and damaged white blood cells are removed from the system to make the system run more efficiently under the conditions of energy starvation.


Rightly understood Dr Valter Longo is trying to say that "the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting" and is an indication of a more efficient and healthier immune system.

He goes on to say ...

"It gives the OK for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system."

“And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting.”

He is using the original observation to reinforce the second point he is making, indicating the improvement in overall immune system health is due to the reduction in the number of sickly immune cells, and proliferation of new cells that mature from stem cells into immune cells.

The above stem cell process is aided by improved condition of the bone marrow due to fasting.

But we have to use the words in context with what is being described and not isolate them or mix them with other articles.

You are right to use open minded scepticism here and it is applauded, but the article and study are quite clear.

Any improvement in health has to be supported through many different pathways and detoxification would be one. Eliminating all wastes and allowing the body to send coherent signals to the immune system would be a great start. This is probably the only way of allowing these organs to regenerate whilst under decreased active work load? Surely this put us on the right path.

if we were reading it to the letter of the law we could never say a system could be totally regenerated because for that to happen no cell would be alive at the end of the process that was there at the beginning of the process.

But should we really get into issues of semantics over whether regeneration is total regeneration with no original cells left or partial regeneration leading to full "as new" operation?

Or even as this articles suggests a "generation " of a new immune system that could be leveraged by further fasting events and built up over time.

At this stage we simply don't know, but the study proves without doubt that fasting is beneficial to the generation of new immune components and rebuilding of systems we previously thought un repairable.

The real issue is the title of the original article, but again we are into issues of semantics

"This study suggests a damaged immune system could be completely regenerated through periods of fasting"

This is a strongly worded title but I guess it grabs headlines, starts conversations like this one and pushes the discussion forward just as much as it creates controversy.

To be fair to it the title is representative of what is being claimed in the study. Only Dr Longo knows if the words "suggests, could, or regenerate" are accurate?

The original title of the study is

Prolonged Fasting Reduces IGF-1/PKA to Promote Hematopoietic-Stem-Cell-Based Regeneration and Reverse Immunosuppression

We should stick to the facts in the original study and take Dr Longo at his word. My fault is that I didn't point this out in the OP or add the link, but hey I guess the article is trying to distill the information for the layman. My intent was to spread good scientifically based knowledge.

Unfortunately not many people take enough care to make these possibilities a reality. Doesn't mean we shouldn't try. :)

I think a very valuable healing pathway has been exposed here and I thank you for being a great foil for the discussion. It is important to have two views and to openly discuss them in public.

Thank you for coming at this from an important angle and giving the subject some air.:)

Perhaps I'll reach out to Dr Longo for clarification on this.

All my very best,

Wade Tate


Just a thought.

Fasting obviously isn't suitable for diabetics, but I guess they are acutely aware of that.

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Also those of us with hypoglycaemia, of whom there are many and older people , who have been physically weakened by years of chronic illness

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However the study does specifically mention this could be beneficial to elderly patients under the correct supervision.

There are 100 year old dudes in India doing nothing but meditating and sucking up air. Just makes you wonder what the human body is truly capable of.

Here's a thought......

Is it that fasting is healthy or that cramming endless amounts of food into our faces is killing us.

Toxic, nutrient deficient, enzyme depleted, dead food at that.

However, there are plenty of people who claim to be cured of type 2 diabetes through change of diet.

Some I have seen for myself, and this usually happens when they stop eating processed sugar?

Many of them are telling their story on youtube.

Proceed with care and have a great day.

Best wishes,



Thanks Wade, I completely agree about dietary change. I don't eat sugar and avoid gluten.. I just think there are are issues around fasting which are complex and as you say to contemplate it you would require very strict supervision

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I'm afraid the study isn't as exciting or significant as that article implies, Wade. If you read the actual research paper (you can find it here: ) you'll see a number of significant differences between what is implied and what was actually studied:

- The study was mice only; the findings would not necessarily be the same in humans.

- The study was specifically focused on the formation of various new blood cells after chemotherapy. We know that blood cells are one important aspect of auto-immunity, but there are others too, including for example gut bacteria, which would be affected by fasting and was not studied.

- The study was focused on the effects of fasting before 'chemotherapy induced toxicity', nothing else. In other words, the researchers deliberately 'poisoned' mice with chemotherapy drugs, and compared the differences between a group of mice that had fasted first and a group that had eaten normally. These are obviously very specific circumstances, and don't necessarily have implications for mice (let alone people) in 'normal' situations. In other words, although the study shows that mice receiving chemotherapy formed new blood cells more quickly if they fasted than if they didn't, it says nothing about the effects on mice that weren't actually receiving chemotherapy. It might be that fasting makes no difference to mice that aren't receiving chemo.

- The study does go on to mention "encouraging preliminary results that need to be expanded and confirmed" from a phase 1 clinical trial in humans. However, (a) phase 1 trials are small (often only a couple of people) and have no statistical significance; and (b) no details of the methodology of this sub-study are given, so we can't evaluate for ourselves whether the results really were encouraging.

It seems very likely to me that what we eat affects our health - my own personal experience suggests that various substances have effects on my inflammation levels - but this particular study does NOT show, I'm afraid, that fasting is beneficial to the human immune system.


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