Researchers were suprised to find that in both mice and humans fasting regenerates damaged and old immune systems. The study, by researchers from University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, was published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, is the first study of it's kind, showing a natural intervention can regenerate an organ or a system. The findings indicate that fasting not only protects against toxic effects of chemotherapy, but also triggers stem cell regeneration of new immune cells and a clearing out of old, damaged cells.
The team believes the findings could benefit people with immune system damage, for example if they have received chemotherapy treatment for cancer. It could also benefit the elderly whose immune systems are weakened through aging, making them more susceptible to disease. During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induces changes that trigger stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells.
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