June 16, 2024

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Short-term fasting is safe and can enhance anti-tumor immunity

Short-term fasting is safe and can enhance anti-tumor immunity


Large-scale clinical trials confirm that short-term fasting is safe and can enhance anti-tumor immunity.


In recent years, fasting has become a very popular way to lose weight, and many people on social networks claim that it is the best way to lose weight.

It’s worth noting that a growing body of scientific research shows that fasting has even more health benefits than weight loss, improving metabolic health and facilitating the treatment of diseases such as diabetes and cancer.


On November 17, 2021, researchers from the University of Milan in Italy published a research paper titled: Fasting-mimicking diet is safe and reshapes metabolism and antitumor immunity in cancer patients in Cancer Discovery , a top academic journal in the field of cancer .


CONCLUSIONS: Fasting involving short-term, severe caloric restriction is safe and feasible in cancer patients receiving standard care and results in lower blood glucose and growth factor concentrations, decreased peripheral blood immunosuppressive cells, and intratumoral T cell infiltration. enhanced. Thereby regulating the metabolism of cancer patients and improving anti-tumor immunity.


Large-scale clinical trials confirm that short-term fasting is safe and can enhance anti-tumor immunity.


Preclinical studies have demonstrated that severe calorie restriction in the form of short-term fasting or fasting-mimicking diets (FMD) , in combination with standard drug therapy, has powerful anticancer effects. However, the safety and biological effects of caloric restriction in cancer patients have not been adequately studied to date.


Dr Claudio Vernieri , first author of the study , said: “Our first-in-human clinical trial results suggest that a fasting regimen of severe short-term caloric restriction is safe and biologically active in patients, which may involve activation of an immune response. We think these findings could have implications for cancer treatment.”


For the study, the study recruited 101 patients with different types of tumors who received different standards of cancer-fighting treatment.

The research team devised a fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) regimen: a low-carb, low-protein vegetarian diet with 600 kcal on the first day and 600 kcal on the second day during a five-day fasting cycle. , 300 kcal on days 3, 4 and 5, providing a total of 1800 kcal over 5 days.


Large-scale clinical trials confirm that short-term fasting is safe and can enhance anti-tumor immunity.

Study recruited 101 patients with different types of tumors


After a simulated fasting cycle, patients entered a 16- to 23-day recovery period during which they were not placed on specific dietary restrictions, but were advised to adhere to international guidelines for healthy eating and lifestyles.

Repeat a fasting cycle every three or four weeks for up to eight consecutive cycles.


Large-scale clinical trials confirm that short-term fasting is safe and can enhance anti-tumor immunity.

Simulated Fasting Cycle Flowchart


In a statistical analysis of all patients who participated in fasting, the fasting trial had a success rate of 91.8% and met its primary safety endpoint.

Weight loss during feeding was reversible in most patients within 5 days of severe caloric restriction.

The simulated fasting-related adverse event rate was 12.9%, the most common of which was fatigue, but was generally not serious.


These results suggest that short-term severe caloric restriction is safe, feasible, and well tolerated by most patients regardless of tumor type and antitumor treatment modality.


Dr Filippo de Braud , co-corresponding author of the study , commented: “This is a particularly important finding as it excludes the risk that patients may experience progressive weight loss or malnutrition that are associated with reduced efficacy of anticancer therapy associated with reduced survival.”


At the same time, the researchers also assessed the effects of simulated fasting on the patients’ metabolic and immune responses. In 99 evaluable patients, the simulated fasting regimen reduced median blood glucose concentrations by 18.6%, serum insulin by 50.7%, and serum IGF-1 by 30.3%, and these changes were maintained over the course of 8 consecutive cycles stability.


Mock fasting reduces blood sugar, insulin and growth factor IGF-1 levels in cancer patients


“The metabolic alterations we observed in patients were similar to those induced by calorie restriction in preclinical models, and they were associated with potent antitumor effects,” said Dr. Claudio Vernieri .


In addition, in an analysis of 38 patients after a 5-day simulated fasting diet cycle, the researchers found that the patients had a significant decrease in the subset of circulating immunosuppressive myeloid cells and an increase in activated CD8+ T cells.

Both effects were independent of the combined anti-tumor treatment—a phenomenon the researchers observed in a small group of healthy volunteers.


This is because strict caloric restriction creates a metabolic ‘shock’ that activates populations of immune cells that boost the antitumor activity of standard antitumor treatments.


Large-scale clinical trials confirm that short-term fasting is safe and can enhance anti-tumor immunity.

Mock fasting reduces peripheral blood immunosuppressive cells and increases effector T cells in cancer patients and healthy volunteers


To investigate the effects of a simulated fasting diet on intratumoral immunity, the research team conducted an interim analysis of another ongoing trial testing patients with early-stage breast cancer and melanoma undergoing a 5-day simulated fasting period 7 to 10 days before surgery. eat diet.

This analysis revealed a marked increase in tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells and other changes, suggesting a functional switch in the antitumor immune microenvironment following simulated fasting.


Simulated fasting reshapes intratumoral immunity in breast cancer patients


The results of the above studies all indicate that the simulated fasting diet is beneficial to the metabolic health of cancer patients and enhances the body’s anti-tumor ability . And desirable immunomodulatory effects were observed at both the systemic and tumor levels.


Finally, the research team says that new clinical trials have recently been initiated to understand whether the metabolic and immune effects caused by caloric restriction have clinically relevant consequences that could improve the efficacy of anti-tumor treatments and prolong life expectancy in cancer patients.




About the Fasting Simulated Diet (FMD)


Professor Valter Longo


This diet was developed by Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California in the United States . It takes 5 days as a cycle and only needs to complete one cycle per month. Specifically:


Calorie intake : 11-16 calories per kilogram of body weight on day 1; 7-11 calories per kilogram of body weight on days 2-5.


Food composition : 10% protein + 56% fat + 34% carbohydrates on day 1;9% protein + 44% fat + 47% carbohydrates on days 2-5 .


Of course, the food here is not a random choice. Vegetables, fruits and nuts are the main ingredients. Vegetables are made into salads, stews or soups. They are large in size and low in calories. Fat is provided by olive oil, protein is provided by nuts, and carbohydrates are provided by small amounts of sugar and honey.


You can resume your normal diet on day 6, but pay attention to the transition to prevent overloading your digestive system, and don’t eat a lot of sugar and meat right away.




Large-scale clinical trials confirm that short-term fasting is safe and can enhance anti-tumor immunity.

(source:internet, reference only)

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