“Everyone has a physician inside him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness.” – Hippocrates
Fasting has not received as much attention as it should when it comes to the world of health and medicine. That’s because you can’t really make any money off of it. The ‘pharmaceutical science’ studies used in medical schools to teach doctors about human health simply don’t focus enough on fasting for doctors to be knowledgable in the subject. Doctors also learn very little about nutrition and are trained to prescribe drugs as a result.
Dr. Jason Fung is trying to change all that. A Toronto based nephrologist, he completed medical school and internal medicine at the University of Toronto before finishing his nephrology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles at the Cedars-Sinai hospital. He joined Scarborough General Hospital in 2001 where he continues to practice and change peoples lives.
He is one of a growing number of scientists and doctors to create awareness about the tremendous health benefits that can be achieved from fasting. It’s one of the oldest dietary interventions in the world and has been practiced for thousands of years. If properly practiced fasting was bad or harmful in any way, as some doctors suggest, it would have been known by now, and studies would not be emerging showing the health benefits that can be achieved from fasting regularly.
For example, a recent study published in the journal cell shows how a fasting diet can trigger the pancreas to regenerate itself, which works to control blood sugar levels and reverse symptoms of diabetes.
Mark Mattson, one of the foremost researchers of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying multiple neurodegenerative disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, has shown through his work that fasting can have a tremendous effect on the brain, and could prevent or even reverse the symptoms of multiple neurodegenerative disorders. You can watch a great TEDx talk he gave on the topic here.
Scientists have also discovered the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system. The study was published in the June 5 issue of Cell Stem Cell by researchers from the University of Southern California. The research shows that cycles of prolonged fasting protect against immune system damage and induce immune system regeneration. They concluded that fasting shifts stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal. (source)
We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the heatopoietic 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. What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. ” – Valter Longo, corresponding author.
If we take a look at a recent study from 2014, published in the journal Trends In Molecular Medicine, it outlines and confirms what several studies before it have already done:
- Caloric restriction (diet high in nutrients but low in calories) and its mimetics (CR) improve lifespan and reduce cancer incidence
- CR and CR mimetics sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy
- CR and CR mimetics combined with chemotherapy enhance anticancer immune responses
The study states:
Caloric restriction (CR) is currently the most robust environmental intervention known to increase healthy life and prolong lifespan in several models, from yeast to mice. Although the protective effect of CR on the incidence of cancer is well established, its impact on tumor cell responses to chemotherapeutic treatment is currently being investigated. Interestingly, the molecular mechanisms required to extend lifespan upon reduced food intake are being evaluated, and these mechanisms may offer new opportunities for therapeutic intervention. In addition, new findings suggest a beneficial effect of CR in enhancing the efficiency of tumor cell killing by chemotherapeutic drugs and inducing an anticancer immune response.
Clinical trials with regards to fasting and how it fights cancer are currently underway.
An Interview With Fung Regarding Diabetes
Dr. Fung recently published a book, co-authored with Jimmy Moore, titled “The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate Day, and Extended Fasting” It’s a great book that puts to rest the fears and myths associated with extended water fasting. He also recently published “The Obesity Code: Unlocking The Secrets of Weight Loss”
Fung, like 90 percent of doctors out there was conventionally oriented. He is a kidney specialist, and many of his patients had/have type 2 diabetes as a result of that. It eventually became clear to him that something was very wrong with the conventional treatment of type 2 diabetes.
With Type 2 diabetes, patients who take insulin and follow the recommended dietary guidelines would still have several complications, mainly kidney disease. Because of this, they can go blind, require dialysis or even require amputations.
In the interview below with Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Fung addresses multiple myths and issues that are commonly brought up about fasting. And dives into explaining how fasting does not burn muscle, how it can reverse diabetes, addresses the ‘Starvation Mode’ myth, explains the role of insulin, discusses different variations of fasting and much more.
Be sure to visit his website, where you can find information on him, his practice, results, lectures and article that he continually publishes every month.
“Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.” – Egyptian pyramid inscription
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Recommendation For Beginners, Something We Put In Most of Our Fasting Articles
One recommended way of doing it, which was tested by the BBC’s Michael Mosley in order to reverse his diabetes, high cholesterol, and other problems associated with his obesity, is what is known as the “5:2 Diet.” On the 5:2 plan, you cut your food down to one-fourth of your normal daily calories on fasting days (about 600 calories for men and about 500 for women), while consuming plenty of water and tea. On the other five days of the week, you can eat normally.
Another way to do it, as mentioned above, is to restrict your food intake between the hours of 12pm and 7pm daily, while not eating during the hours outside of that time.
It’s Good To See More And More People Becoming More Conscious About Our Planet, And What Is Happening On It
It’s great to see more people take an active role in doing some independent research and critical thinking. Disease rates are skyrocketing and have been for quite some time. A large portion of this can be attributed to our eating habits and all of the toxic and harmful substances we put into our bodies regularly.
Over the past few years, the food industry has been exposed in several ways, whether it’s issues concerning GMOs and the pesticides that go with them, or all of the examples of pharmaceutical fraud. All of it is a result of a massive shift in consciousness that’s happening on our planet, where so much is coming to light in all aspects of our every day lives, food and health is just one.
Fasting is also sparking the interest of many because, along with this consciousness shift, comes awareness of a world beyond our physical one. This realm deals with near death experiences, quantum physics, parapsychology, and our overall spiritual nature and the proof that’s emerging that we are more than just this body, and that human beings do indeed have a spiritual nature.
The fact that modern day science, in many instances, is catching up to ancient wisdom is quite exciting. Not only in neuroscience and quantum physics, but health as well.
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