Do You Fast Often? It May Help to Lower Cancer Risk, New Study Finds- Here is What We Know

Observing a fast twice a week can help boost immunity to combat cancer cells in the body, according to findings of a new study.

Jun 19, 2024 - 12:30
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Do You Fast Often? It May Help to Lower Cancer Risk, New Study Finds- Here is What We Know

Fasting entails several benefits and that is common knowledge. Weight loss,  enhanced gut health, heart health etc, keeping a fast can help improve bodily functions. According to a new study, this practice may help to fight against cancer cells, that invade the body, more effectively. A team of researchers have claimed that it can even reprogramme the metabolism of natural killer cells, helping them to survive in the harsh environment in and around tumours while also improving their cancer-fighting ability

Study Finds Fasting Can Kill Cancer Cells

Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York revealed that fasting may help the body defend against cancer, starving cancer cells of the nutrients they need to grow. The study was conducted on mice.

“Tumors are very hungry. They take up essential nutrients, creating a hostile environment often rich in lipids that are detrimental to most immune cells. What we show here is that fasting reprograms these natural killer cells to better survive in this suppressive environment,” noted Joseph Sun, an immunologist and the study’s co-corresponding author.

According to a report by Science Daily, fasting and other dietary regimens are increasingly being explored as ways to starve cancer cells of the nutrients required to grow and to make cancer treatments more effective.

White blood cells are primarily responsible for fighting pathogens and virus. These are also called as Natural Killers (NK), and very rightly so.

5 Highlights From the Study

  1. For the study, mice with cancer were kept on a fast for 24 hours twice a week. But, were allowed to eat freely in between fasts.
  2. As per the conclusion made by the authors, fasting reprogrammes these natural killer cells to better survive.
  3. During the experiment mice saw a drop in their glucose levels and a rise in free fatty acids, which are lipids released by fat cells that can serve as an alternative energy source when other nutrients are not present, according to Rebecca Delconte, lead author of the study.
  4. During each of these fasting cycles, natural killer cells learned to use these fatty acids as an alternative fuel source to glucose.
  5. This optimised their anti-cancer response because the tumor microenvironment contains a high concentration of lipids, and now they were able to enter the tumour and survive better because of this metabolic training, the authors noted.

Despite the promising findings, there is still more research required to have a proper conclusion about making fasting a new strategy to kill cancer cells. Cancer is one of the major health concern globally. Researchers, scientists across the globe are constantly working to find better and effective ways to fight against cancer.

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