Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tip #46: Try fasting

So, what do you think? Let's NOT eat together? Well, why not? I have been interested in the idea of fasting as I would encounter many mentions of it when dealing with alternative methods to treat cancer. But lately, it is not just for alternative methods or only cancer. Here you can see how doctors in Utah found that regular fasting can boost heart health. Those who fasted for about a day a month had a 58% lower risk of coronary disease as those who didn't. And Dr. Weil, tells us in this article that intermittent fasting can indeed improve not only caridiovascular health, but also diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer, and improve cognition in general. Even my nutritionist recommends caloric restriction for certain patients, as there are many studies already associating this with better outcomes in cancer patients. And, there's a new book just published, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, by Seyfried, PhD, a cancer researcher who worked at Yale University and is now Professor of Biology at Boston College, which reviews the literature on caloric restriction and its beneficial impacts on tumor growth. Here's an older article which summarizes the main points of the book.

I became a bit more interested in the topic after seeing this BBC documentary this summer, Eat, Fast & Live Longer. It is an hour long, but well worth it. Here's a summary, with commentary, if you don't have time to watch it all.

By the end of the show, Dr. Mosley, the guy that goes around looking for ways to implement fasting, decides to try the 5/2 diet plan: five days your normal consumption of food, and two days of only 500 calories for women, 600 for men. After trying for five or six weeks, many of his "aging" markers, like IGF-1, CRP, or blood sugar level, came down considerably, plus he lost some weight and felt better.

In the show, they also talk about a group of people in Ecuador, who are very small because they suffer from something called the Laron syndrome, but that, surprisingly, never develop cancer or diabetes. I had read about them in the New York Times last year, and I think they may hold the key to something very important.

In any case, this year I did something that I don't recommend anyone to do (please, please, please), but, after researching a bit more the 5/2 diet, I found that there is a doctor in Great Britain testing it to actually cut breast cancer occurrence in patients at higher risk. According to her, it could reduce the risk by 40%. So, at the beginning of October, because I knew that I had blood work coming four weeks later, I decided to try it without telling neither my doctors or nutritionist (or even my family, I guess I just came out). Well, my blood work was fantastic, particularly my HbA1c, which measures blood sugar control. It is the lowest I've had it, finally at the level my nutritionist recommends. My CRP, which measures inflammation, did not go down, but it also did not go up (it was quite low to start with), and I think it's also remarkable, as it tends to go up with medication and I've now been on treatment for close to two years. Of course, I don't know if the diet was the cause. I did stop it after the results came in. i\It was just an experiment that I may take again in the future, hopefully next time with some type of medical supervision. I lost a little bit of weight while on it, but not much, maybe two or three pounds, and it was not too hard to do.

But, I also wanted to share something else in this blog post. My husband mentioned that somebody in his work were doing a 48 hour weekend cleanse, recommended by Dr. Oz. I went to check it out, and I really like it, and I think that may be also something I try to do, maybe once every two months or so. Here's the link. Maybe after Thanksgiving could be the ideal time. :)

Do you fast regularly? Any recommendations?

1 comment:

  1. Pilar, this is quite fascinating! I love the title, "Let's Not Eat Together" but given the food obessed culture we live in, I can see how so many people may resist and blame it on their cultural diet, but I think the traditions and canons of our culture are complicit in our mental and dietary slavery.