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  • Writer's pictureSomnath banerjee

Can fasting help cure cancer?

Fasting may help fight cancer by lowering insulin resistance and inflammation levels, according to some research. Fasting may also help to reverse the effects of chronic diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes, both of which are risk factors for cancer.

Fasting may also make cancer cells more responsive to chemotherapy while protecting other cells, according to researchers. Fasting may also strengthen the immune system, aiding in the fight against pre-existing cancer.

The effects of fasting on cancer treatment and prevention are discussed in this article. To know more about Intermittent fasting read this article.

Enhancing insulin sensitivity

Insulin is a hormone that allows cells to take glucose from the blood and use it for energy.

When there is more food available, the body's cells become less sensitive to insulin. Insulin resistance occurs when cells no longer respond to insulin signals, resulting in higher blood glucose levels and fat storage.

When food is scarce, the human body attempts to save as much energy as possible.

One way it accomplishes this is by increasing the sensitivity of cell membranes to insulin. Cells can more efficiently metabolize insulin, removing glucose from the blood.

Improved insulin sensitivity makes it more difficult for cancer cells to grow and develop.

Reversing the effects of chronic diseases

Obesity and type 2 diabetes, for example, have been linked to an increased risk of cancer in some studies. Both have been linked to an increased risk of multiple types of cancer as well as lower survival rates.

A case study published in 2017 investigated the impact of short-term fasting on type 2 diabetes. The study participants fasted for 24 hours two to three times per week.

After four months of fasting, the participant lost 17.8 percent of his body weight and 11 percent of his waist size.

After two months of this fasting pattern, they no longer required insulin treatment.

Increasing autophagy

Autophagy is a cellular process that breaks down cell parts for later reuse. Autophagy is essential for maintaining proper cell function and for defending cells in the body. Autophagy is crucial in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Several mouse studies suggest that autophagy may help prevent cancer. These findings demonstrate how a lack of autophagy results in lower levels of tumor-suppressing genes.

While decreased autophagy may promote tumor formation, it is not solely responsible for malignant tumor growth or spread.

Improving Life Quality During Chemotherapy

Fasting, according to some researchers, improves people's response to chemotherapy because it does the following:

  • encourages cellular regeneration

  • protects the blood from the harmful effects of chemotherapy and

  • reduces the severity of side effects such as fatigue, nausea, headaches, and cramping

Fasting can improve the quality of life in people undergoing chemotherapy for breast or ovarian cancer, according to a 2018 study. The researchers used a 60-hour fast beginning 36 hours before the start of chemotherapy treatment.

When compared to those who did not fast, participants who fasted during chemotherapy reported higher tolerance to chemotherapy, fewer chemotherapy-related side effects, and higher energy levels.

Improving the immune system to combat cancer

A 2014 study looked into whether fasting has any cancer-fighting effects in mouse stem cells. Stem cells are important because of their ability to regenerate.

Fasting for 2-4 days, according to the researchers, may protect stem cells from the negative effects of chemotherapy on the immune system.

Fasting also stimulates immune system stem cells to renew and repair themselves.

Fasting not only reduces cell damage but also replenishes white blood cells and replaces damaged ones, according to this study.

White blood cells fight infection and destroy cells that may cause disease. When white blood cell levels drop as a result of chemotherapy, the immune system suffers. This means that the body has a more difficult time-fighting infection.

During fasting, the number of white blood cells in the body decreases. When the fasting cycle ends and the body receives food, white blood cell levels rise.


Fasting is defined as not eating or consuming very few calories for a set period of time. Fasting cycles can last anywhere from 12 hours to 3 weeks.

According to multiple studies, both short and long fasting periods have promising results in cancer treatment and prevention. However, it is currently unknown which fasting schedule produces the best results.

People who are interested in fasting and whether it would benefit them during their cancer treatment should consult their doctor.



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