Cancer is the leading cause of death across the world. Medical researchers have been studying the deadly disease for so many years, but how close are they in stopping it?
Meanwhile, different types of food and several activities are claimed to be of help in the prevention of the menacing disease. Medical experts would ask you to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right and doing regular exercise. However, intermittent fasting, though an old age tale, is now making its way back into the spotlight, as doctors claim the practice is a big help in preventing the threatening disease.
While scientists still look for an answer, here are the reasons why intermittent fasting could prevent the risk of having cancer:
1. Improves insulin sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that allows cells to extract glucose from the blood to use as energy. So, when more food is provided in the body, the cells become less sensitive to insulin. And when these cells do not respond to insulin signals anymore, that leads to higher level of glucose in the blood and higher fat storage.
However, when there is a little amount of food, the human body may conserve as much as energy as possible. Therefore, the cell membranes may be more sensitive to insulin and can metabolize insulin more efficiently.
So, the better insulin sensitivity, the harder for the cancer cells to develop in the body system.
2. Reverses the effects of chronic disorders
Chronic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes are both factors for cancer. Both are related to having a higher risk of multiple types of deadly cancers.
Actually, a 2017 case study has proven the effect of fasting on type 2 diabetes, even if doing it in just a short period. After 4 months of fasting, the participant had trimmed 17.8% from his weight and reduced waist size.
Moreover, after just 2 months of following the fasting, the patient is no longer required to have insulin treatment.
3. Promotes autophagy
Autophagy is a cellular process wherein parts of cells break down for later reuse. This is critical for maintaining proper cell function and in defending cells in the body. Thus, it plays an important role in preventing and curing cancer.
Although lower autophagy may trigger initial tumor formation, it is not the only thing responsible for malignant tumor development or spread.
4. Improves the quality of life during chemotherapy
Some researchers claim that fasting improves body response to chemotherapy because it promotes cellular regeneration, protects blood against chemo harmful effects, and reduces the impacts of of the treatment: fatigue, headaches, nausea, and cramps.
The result of a 2018 study showed that participants who did fasting were more tolerant to chemotherapy for breast or ovarian cancer, had fewer side effects, and higher energy levels than those who did not.
5. Boosts the immune system
Stem cells are significant because of their regenerative abilities.
The researchers revealed that fasting for 2-4 days could protect stem cells against the negative effects of chemotherapy on the immune system.
The practice may also activate stem cells to renew and repair themselves and reduce cell damage. Moreover, it also replenishes white blood cells and replaces damaged cells at the same time.
To Put it Briefly,
Researchers say that fasting could lower the insulin resistance and levels of inflammation which could be very helpful in fighting cancer. It could also reverse the effects of chronic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes — two of the main causes of cancer. Experts even think that intermittent fasting makes cancer cells responsive during chemotherapy while still protecting other cells.
They believe that short and prolonged fasting periods have encouraging results. Although the right fasting schedule is still a blur, the important thing is that it tremendously helps in preventing and fighting cancer.