From mankind’s earliest times, fasting was a way of life, not because our prehistoric ancestors were concerned about their appearance or their health, but because early humans were hunter gatherers and could not always find food. So, the human body is preconditioned genetically to fast. But to be clear, there is an enormous difference between prolonged lack of proper nutrition or starvation and fasting. Insufficient nutrition is a life-shortening situation, whereas controlled fasting has been shown to provide long term regeneration.
For decades, medical science has known that periodic fasting was good for the human body, but there were no significant studies to determine why or how good. It was also assumed that human organs could not regenerate themselves. Several researchers led by Dr. Valter Longo, a biogerontologist at University of Southern California, have now resolved the mystery.
When we fast for more than two days, our bodies begin to kill off old useless cells and cells that are heavy feeders like cancer cells. Further, our healthy and productive cells are fortified. So, our organs shrink, tumors shrink, skin tightens. The longer the fast, the more the body correctively adapts, with some natural limitations. In the 1990’s a team of scientists conducted the Biosphere project, a study where the occupants became severely calorie restricted. Restricting the occupants’ caloric intake was not the intention of the project. The project was to show how man might have existed in his earliest periods. Participants struggled to get enough food, and went without eating for prolonged periods. As a result, they lost a lot of weight, their organs shrank and their skin tightened around their body. After they exited the Biosphere and began to eat normally, their organs regrew with new cells and they assumed much of their prior body mass. The outcome of the study showed the regeneration of cell and organs in the occupants.
Most of us think that we cannot go without food for more than 10 days, however most people would live nearly sixty days without food. But it is unnecessary to stress one’s body to that degree. In fact, many of touted five to ten day water fasting programs may be dangerous to undertake. Thankfully, there is now a five day fast mimicking diet where one can eat foods that do not interrupt the fast.
Dr. Valter Longo has been at the center of many of the fasting discoveries, but perhaps his greatest accomplishment is the creation of a fast mimicking diet (FMD). Physiologically, the body thinks it is fasting, while one still consumes 750-1100 calories per day. This allows for a five day fast to be more attainable for most everyone without a nut or soy allergy. The results from the small human trials of FMD reduced cardiovascular disease, reduced markers for inflammatory disease, and reduced body weight without reducing lean muscle mass. Furthermore, on the five year follow up to the human trial the cardiovascular improvements remained. And, yes, one will lose some weight. BUT, THIS IS NOT PURELY A WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM, BUT A WHOLE-BODY REJUVENATION PROCESS.
After only two or three days of fasting, currently dormant stem cells begin to be activated across the full spectrum of the body, preparing for the time when we begin to eat normally again. With the reintroduction of nutrition after five days, these activated stem cells replace those cells killed off with new cells … even new organ cells! One caveat is that much of the content of this paragraph has been demonstrated in mouse trials and very limited human trials, but there is likely some fire behind all the smoke. The results of the Biosphere project demonstrate good reason for optimism.
It is far too early to tell what the long-term impact might be if one repeats 3-6 fasting cycles each year, but continuing to purge one’s old and useless cells and replacing them with new young cells seems to be a real positive.
Most age-related diseases, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, arthritis, dementia, and multiple sclerosis are degenerative diseases. There are now dozens of mouse model studies, which demonstrate dramatic reductions in these diseases using FMD (fast mimicking diets). We realize that there are large differences between humans and mice, but their results are so skewed to the positive that it is difficult to not be optimistic. And, there are mounting scientific studies that point to a reasonable probability that one’s health may be improved, even dramatically, through employing the FMD for 5 days a month for three to six months.
Below we have posted links to four conversations and one Fox News report. Additionally, if you have an interest in the scientific studies, please message us and we will email them.