What is it?
Intermittent fasting is when people refrain from eating for certain amounts of time. Fasting may be of benefit to some people who have been diagnosed with cancer. According to early human studies, intermittent fasting could both improve the effectiveness of treatment and reduce toxicity.
There are different types of intermittent fasting protocols that have become quite popular. First, time restricted fasting. This type of fasting means that you eat for a certain amount of hours, for example, 8 hours then fast for the remaining 16 hours (drinking only water). This can be done every day. Second is the 5:2 method. This type of intermittent fasting involves eating regularly for 5 days each week and fasting for two consecutive days. Another protocol is alternate-day fasting. This type of fasting involves eating normally every other day and either fasting or limiting food intake on the opposite days.
What has it been shown to do?
Intermittent fasting in cancer could change how cells adapt to stress. Healthy cells are thought to be much better at adapting to fewer nutrients in their environment. Cancer cells, in contrast, just keep growing and therefore have a greater need for nutrients. Research suggests that fasting makes cancer cells more responsive to chemotherapy while protecting healthy cells. Fasting may also boost the immune system to help fight cancer overall. Studies have shown that participants fasting during chemotherapy reported a higher tolerance to the treatment, fewer side effects, and higher energy levels.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Cancer Patients
Fight Cancer by Fasting
Effects of short-term fasting on cancer treatment