Your regular immune system attacks invaders from the outside — like germs, bacteria and viruses.
But the key to a long and healthy lifespan is in what I call your Second Immune System. It combats threats from inside your body. Many of these threats are where chronic diseases develop.
You see, as we age our bodies accumuLate the “dead weight” of damaged, dysfunctional and otherwise unnecessary cells. If you don’t do something about it, this dead weight just piles up in inside of you, like trash bags on garbage day.
But when you fast, your body ends up tossing out this cellular trash through a complex biological process called autophagy. This means “self-eating.” This little-known form of cellular “self-cannibalism” is how your body cleanses itself of the dangerous cellular debris that causes illness and disease.
Studies from Yale and other Ivy League universities have shown fasting to be a powerful treatment for:
1. Heart disease
Autophagy therapy cuts heart disease risk 77%.1
2. High blood pressure
Another study tested autophagy therapy on 174 people with hypertension. After three weeks, 90% of participants had readings below the “high” threshold of 140/90mm Hg.2
Researchers completely reversed diabetes in mIce within six weeks.3
Cancer: The National Cancer Institute found increased levels of plasma protein carbonyl in patients with certain cancers. Autophagy therapy reduced carbonyl by 73.3%.4
Numerous studies show activating autophagy is a powerful weapon against the inflammation that causes arthritis.5
Fasting Does Something Even More Incredible For Your Health
The latest research proves that fasting can actually trigger the regeneration of your body’s sleeping stem cells.
As you know, stem cells are the supply of healthy “replacement cells” you were born with. Your body assigns them regularly to replace cells that are damaged, old or dying.
But as you age, your stem cells begin to lose their ability to regenerate in a process called stem cell senescence. And this decline makes it much more difficult to recover from disease, trauma, infection and inFlammation.
But stem cell senescence can be reversed by activating your Second Immune System.
As a brand-new study by researchers at MIT discovered, this age-related loss of stem cell activity can be reversed by a 24-hour fast. The researchers found that fasting dramatically improves stem cells’ ability to regenerate, in both aged and young mice.
In fasting mice, cells begin breaking down fatty acids instead of glucose, a change that stimulates the stem cells to become more regenerative. The researchers found that they could also boost regeneration with a molecule that activates the same metabolic switch.
And groundbreaking new research from a prestigious California university revealed that intermittent fasting could actually trigger stem cell regeneration of new immune system cells. The study is the first to show a natural trigger for the regeneration of an organ or system through stem cells.6
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Today we’re used to eating three meals a day, plus snacks. That can make fasting seem insurmountable. I recommend starting out with intermittent fasting. There are two kinds I suggest:
1. Start with a simple 16:8 fast
This plan involves fasting for 16 hours. In other words, you have an 8-hour time period in which you can Eat. Then you fast for the remaining 16 hours. Here’s an example. You eat breakfast at 10 a.m. and lunch around 1 p.m. Dinner is over by 6 p.m. with no additional food until the next day.
2. Then move to the 20:4 fast
You can do the 16:8 fast every day. But once a week or so, I recommend doing a longer 20:4 fast. It has a four-hour eating widow followed by 20 hours of not eating. I suggest eating between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Aim for one or two small meals during this time.
Once you’ve tackled intermittent fasting, try to fast for 24 hours — at least a couple times a month. It’s the best way to give your Second Immune System — and your stem cells — an age-reversing boost.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
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1. Horne B., et al. “Usefulness of Routine Periodic Fasting to Lower Risk of Coronary Artery Disease among Patients Undergoing Coronary Angiography.” Am J Cardiol. 2008 October 1.
2. Goldhamer A., et al. “Medically supervised water-only fasting in the treatment of hypertension.” J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2001 Jun.
3. Lesica N. “Intermittent fasting could help tackle diabetes — here’s the science.” The Conversation. August 21, 2017.
4. Rossner P., et al. “Plasma protein carbonyl levels and breast cancer risk.” J Cell. Mol. Med. 2007.
5. Kjeldsen-Kragh J, Haugen M, et al. “Controlled trial of fasting and one-year vegetarian diet in rheumatoid arthritis.” Lancet. 1991 Oct 12;338(8772):899-902.