Fasting, beyond its dietary effects, is realized as a powerful tool for strengthening immunity in a deep, restorative way. Understanding the complex interplay of fasting and the immune response reveals a cascade of benefits. Let’s find out how this ancient practice not only rejuvenates the body but orchestrates a symphony of immune boosting with expert advice.
In an exclusive interview with Zee News English, Dr. Anu Gaikwad, Consultant Diabetologist and HOD Geriatric Medicine, DPU Private Super Specialty Hospital, Pimpri, Pune talks about how fasting can boost your immunity to a very humane and restorative level.
Read the experts from the interaction below:
The link between fasting and the human immune system
In our quest for optimal health, exploring unconventional but scientifically supported methods often reveals hidden treasures. Fasting, a practice that dates back centuries, has attracted attention not only for weight loss but also for its potential to boost the immune system to a restorative level. This article explores the fascinating connection between fasting, immunity and the significant role of stem cell repair.
Fasting, in its various forms, involves abstaining from food for a period of time.Intermittent fasting (IF), as a dieting technique, combines periodic energy restriction and time-limited eating windows. A variety of IFs have been proposed that include different combinations of fasting and eating windows; Examples include alternate-day fasting (36 hours of fasting and 12 hours of eating) and time-restricted fasting (16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating).
Research suggests that such fasting patterns can stimulate autophagy—a cellular cleaning process in which the body disposes of damaged cells and regenerates healthy ones. This is where the link between fasting and immunity begins to unravel.
Autophagy acts like a cellular recycling system, removing defective material and cellular debris. By removing the old, the body makes way for the new, strengthening its defenses against infection and disease. This process is integral to the immune system, as it ensures that immune cells remain strong and effective.
Studies have shown that fasting can produce new immune cells through hematopoiesis, the process of blood cell formation. This event is particularly significant because it revitalizes the immune system, providing the body with a new arsenal of defenses against pathogens. Renewal of the immune cell pool is like giving the body a reset button, increasing its ability to fight off infections.
Who benefits the most by fasting?
Fasting can improve metabolic health, aid in weight loss, and boost brain function. It promotes cellular repair, reduces inflammation and may reduce the risk of chronic disease. Fasting can increase insulin sensitivity, aiding in better blood sugar control.
People with autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease have sometimes seen a dramatic improvement in symptoms with intermittent fasting. This process reduces hyper-inflammatory processes in these individuals and allows for more normal immune function. Fasting also starves cancer cells and makes them vulnerable to free radical damage.
How can we create awareness about healthy fasting?
Although the potential benefits of fasting on immunity are intriguing, it is imperative to approach this practice with caution. Fasting is not one-size-fits-all, and individual responses may vary. Pregnant and lactating women, children, elderly people, those with dietary habits, those with diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems and those with low body weight should avoid fasting.It is very important to consult a healthcare professional before starting any fasting regimen, especially for individuals with underlying health conditions.
What is the repair process when people are fast?
During fasting, the body undergoes metabolic changes that stimulate cellular repair processes. Although the precise pathways are still under study, research suggests that fasting may increase the regenerative potential of stem cells.
This process involves awakening dormant stem cells and performing repair and regeneration functions. The rejuvenating effect of fasting extends to various tissues and organs, creating a favorable environment for healing. In the complex dance of the human body, the connection between fasting, immunity and stem cell repair opens a promising avenue for health optimization.
As we continue to unravel the mysteries of fasting, balancing the potential benefits and personal health needs is critical.