EurakAlert! reports on a study which indicated stem cell regeneration of old immune systems can be naturally achieved with "periods of no food for two to four days at a time over the course of six months." The fasting kills off older or damaged immune cells, forcing the generation of new, stronger, healthier ones.
"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. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. So we started thinking, well, where does it come from?"
Prolonged fasting forces the body to use stores of glucose, fat and ketones, but also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells. Longo likens the effect to lightening a plane of excess cargo.
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