Yesterday, we talked about how you can harness your body’s natural rhythms to maximize the preventive health benefits of exercise.
So today, I want to pivot to diet—and share some particularly exciting new research that reveals yet another way you can ward off cancer by honoring your body’s evolutionary roots. This time, by using one of my favorite tricks of the trade: intermittent fasting (IF).
A cancer-killing combo
A team of scientists from the University of Southern California recently published new evidence that a diet that mimics fasting can help make conventional hormone therapy more effective against breast cancer.
Their first set of studies focused on mice. They found that fasting was able to slash levels of insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and leptin. (Elevated levels of these three substances point to inflammation and tumor growth—which may help explain why fasting is so beneficial.)
But here’s the really impressive part: Fasting also appeared to boost the cancer-fighting power of the drugs tamoxifen and fulvestrant, while also reversing tumor resistance to them.
Now, you know how I feel about animal studies—they just don’t tell us much about what we can expect in actual human patients. But it just so happens that this research team performed two small clinical trials on women with hormone receptor positive breast cancer, too. And the results were just as promising.
The women who received hormone therapy treatment and followed a fasting-mimicking diet showed the same metabolic benefits that researchers observed in mice—namely, lower levels of insulin, IGF-1, and leptin. (And these changes lasted long enough to suggest a long-term anti-cancer activity, too.)
Even better, the patients were able to follow the diet in monthly cycles for as long as two years… which proves that IF is both safe and easy to stick with.
Of course, the safety of IF has always been a given, as far as I’m concerned. After all, you won’t find a better way to mimic the way our hunting and gathering ancestors ate.
Fasting is a natural state
When you think about it, our bodies are meant to go through frequent periods of hunger, punctuated with periods of food “excess.” Because in nature, it truly is feast or famine.
Despite the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging people to eat small meals throughout the day, fasting actually serves an important restorative purpose. For one thing, it triggers autophagy, which is the process by which your cells “clean up” damaged organelles and proteins.
This turbocharges your cells’ metabolic function within just 36 hours. And it’s an anti-aging benefit you’ll never achieve through textbook “dieting.” In fact, continuous calorie restriction has the exact opposite effect—resulting in a loss of nutrition and depressed immune function.
These researchers theorize that continuous calorie restriction actually blocks the onset of age-reversing autophagy. IF, on the other hand, promotes this protective process—and really, why wouldn’t it?
Cavemen and women didn’t have refrigerators, much less access to 24/7 convenience stores. And they certainly weren’t able to go out and buy a bag of chips and a bottle of soda at midnight.
But we can—and sadly, do—now. And the consequences, mainly in the form of chronic disease, have been dire.
The good news—as this and other research shows—is that we can dodge these modern pitfalls by mimicking our primitive eating patterns with IF. That’s why I’ll continue to advocate for IF every chance I get.
There are a few different methods of fasting you can choose from—the most common of which are IF and alternate-day fasting (ADF). Rest assured, both methods are quite simple and provide significant health benefits—all of which I outline in detail in the May 2020 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“Boost your immunity and rejuvenate your metabolism… in 36 hours or less”).
Subscribers have access to that article and more in my archives. So if you haven’t yet, as always, consider signing up today.
“Fasting diet could boost breast cancer therapy.” Science Daily, 07/21/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200721132735.htm)