Study Finds that Fasting for 72 Hours Can Regenerate the Entire Immune System

There has long been controversy surrounding the potential benefits or hazards of fasting. On one hand, supporters of fasting point to the many benefits that they claim fasting provides. This includes promoting weight loss, normalizing insulin sensitivity, lowering triglyceride levels in the body and slowing the signs of aging. There are a number of different ‘fasting plans’ ranging from intermittent fasting lasting, on average, 14 to 18 hours to longer-term plans abstaining from solid foods for 2 to 3 days. Each is said to carry their own benefits and challenges, offering options for everyone.

 Many nutritionists and medical professionals argue that fasting is nothing more than an unsupported trend, and carries with it a number of health risks that should be considered. They point to the loss of nutrients during the time spent fasting, as it limits not only the intake of unhealthy foods but also those that our bodies require including fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. Furthermore, they argue that fasting often leads to rebound eating, which results in an overall weight gain as opposed to the sought-after weight loss.

New research out of the University of Southern California presents a fascinating discovery, once again bringing the debate to the forefront. The team gathered a group of participants and asked them, in the initial stages, to fast for 2-4 days on a regular basis over a 6-month period. During this time, they witnessed some incredible changes. The participants saw a noticeable decrease in the production of the enzyme PKA, a hormone which has been associated with an increased risk of cancer and tumor growth. Furthermore, the immune system of the participants appeared to get a complete overhaul.

Professor Valter Longo, PhD, the researcher of the study expressed his surprise with the study’s findings, stating, “What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. So, we started thinking, well, where does it come from?”

The findings may provide considerable promise for those that are susceptible to disease, currently receiving chemotherapy treatments or simply for our aging population. The research showed that the act of fasting triggered a switch to flip in the body, signalling it to begin a “stem-cell based regeneration of the hematopoietic system.” It forced the body to use up its stores of glucose, fat and ketones, and also started to break down a large number of white blood cells. The loss of white blood cells flagged the body to, in turn, regenerate new immune system cells.

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Professor Longo explained, “When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged.” This would mean that according to the study’s findings the process of fasting for a 72-hour period of time followed by re-feeding with a healthy, nutritionally focused diet can, essentially, provide those who are struggling with a new immune system.

While the possible benefits are definitely worth further review, medical professionals warn that further study is required before it will be seen as a definitive medical option. The study’s co-author Tanya Dorff, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital advised, “While chemotherapy saves lives, it causes significant collateral damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy. More clinical studies are needed, and any such dietary intervention should be undertaken only under the guidance of a physician.”


9 thoughts on “Study Finds that Fasting for 72 Hours Can Regenerate the Entire Immune System”

  1. Does anyone have information on 72 hour water fast frequency per year?
    I am having trouble finding this particular information

  2. I started intermittent fasting a few months ago, starting with 12-12 and then 16-8. My body quickly adjusted to an eating window between noon and 8 pm. But I did have a cup of black coffee in the morning about 7 am, that doesn’t count because no calories, right? But then I found out that it does! Oh no! To continue the IF correctly, I either had to postpone my cup of coffee till noon — impossible, I NEED my coffee — or change the eating window to morning, when I am not even hungry. My body didn’t like the morning eating window. So I changed to the 5-2 (days) regimen because that allows 500 calories a day, which I assume includes the zero calories in a cup of coffee. (I am 66 yo, btw.) So for me the big question about the 72 hour fast is, a daily cup of coffee is allowed, right? The article does say SOLID food, right?

    • You can have black coffee and tea they won’t break your fast. They would break a religious fast but you’re doing a nutritional fast.

  3. I am eating once a day like Herschel Walker. My food does not include red meat, carbohydrates, dairy, salt, alcohol, sugar or grains. Without exercising, I went from 235 pounds to 155 pounds within 8 months. My blood sugars dropped 65+% and I no longer take blood pressure medications. I counted my calories every day, going between 800 to 1,200. As I don’t much like raw veggies, I found that if I roasted them at 450F, they were fantastic. No loss of nutrients when roasting. I did not use oils to roast as the veggies caramelize and their taste is wonderful. My meat is fish, chicken and some turkey. Nuts, seeds and such are great. There are the veggies that are considered zero calories and one can gorge themselves on them. All sorts of fruits are also in my food selection. My daily consumption time is from 2:00pm to 4:00 pm and no snacking between. I found that I hate the smell of red meat and that I never think of snacking or having breakfast or lunch. Further, I learned to fast and love it. Sometimes I fast a day or up to 5 days. My drink is tea which I greatly enjoy. My weight loss began in February 2012 and to this day I maintain my 150 to 155 weight. My age is 70 and I am male at 5′-8″.

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  5. Some more information, in regard to my previous post about Prolonged Fasting of a week or more. After 3 days of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, heavy cream, cheese, your appetite should be very low, or nonexistent Be sure to be drinking plenty of distilled water, at least a ½ gallon a day. When you quit eating and start your water fast, you may still have hunger pangs. If it gets bad, you can have some cheese, meat, but no carbohydrates. Too many carbs will take you out of ketosis. Ketones are a byproduct of burning fat in the body. Then stop eating again. Be sure to drink plenty of water. Fast for as long as you feel you need to, up to 30 days. You will probably lose 1-2 pounds a day.

    Atkins suggests eating carbohydrates (and buying his food), but his quick start plan lasts 2 weeks. And my fasting plan quick start is 3-4 days.

    Now to answer your questions about distilled water. Here is a synopsis. You have heard that distilled water pulls minerals from your body, so you should not drink it. That is partially true. Distilled water pulls minerals from your body, but only inorganic minerals that your body can’t use. The organic minerals that you body uses are not removed. Organic minerals are ones that are created in plants. Inorganic minerals are from dirt. They build up in the body and create many different problems.
    Here is how it works. Distilled water has an electron charge to it. It has the same charge as the organic minerals, so it doesn’t attract the organic minerals. It has an opposite charge of the inorganic minerals, so it attracts the inorganic minerals that your body can’t use and flushes them out of the body.

    Inorganic minerals include Pink Himalayan salt, sea salt, and the minerals added to alkalized drinking water. Here is an important article about Organic VS Inorganic minerals.

    For more information about distilled water, check out

    Click the Water Library tab for free e-books on distilled water
    The poison known as Salt.

  6. Hello. I’m 65 & use to be athletic. I’m a supplement freak of many yrs. I often get feedback I look younger than I am. However osteoporosis besieged me & im soon scheduled for 2 hip replacement surgeries. In the transition of loosing mobility I put on 40 lbs. I wanted to get off as much weight as possible before these surgeries (& in general I know how unhealthy & yucky feeling it is, i so yearned to feel like my prior self). Not being able to move about I resorted to fasting. Since last October I’ve done periodic fasts; a couple of 5 day fasts, [email protected] 4 day fasts as well as 3 & 2 day fasts. When Im in fasting mode I gage how long to continue. Now I’m eating lightly every other day (completely fasting in between eating days for +36 hrs). I’ve lost the 40lbs (unfortunately I wasn’t able to include active exercise, only weights). And I feel sooooo good! That is why I’m sharing this experience. From now on I will always keep fasting in my regiment.
    I have healthy well water. It is my preference to any other types of waters. I know we have supplemental requirements to not deplete functional body necessities. Through this process I found the right ‘mix’ for me. I use powders to make healthy beverages; in the morning is a combo of Super Beets (nitrate oxide – it opens my bronchial passages & is excellent for circulation & energy), EmergenC, & Vital Reds (polyphenols). And I take a handful of assorted supplements. My supplement use consists of vitamins, minerals, enzymes (greatly helps w osteoporosis inflammation), herbs, and aminos. It is the aminos, that I think, have the most anti-aging benefits. For many years I do a one month, 2 – 3x a yr, extra heavy dosages of aminos- there r 20 essential ones plus I take a few more. In the day (everyday) I also drink joint juice & supplement it too w all the relavent ‘pills’. I also make a beverage w Mineral Manna (I came across this product listening to chem trail ‘flu’ people), it detoxifies. I add Himalayan salt to it. U must have salt when fasting. And I add a pinch of Ormalite to it (suppose to help expand ‘awareness’). I also take the whole barrage (pills) of minerals w it. U must have minerals for many reasons. Also, I juice half a lemon everyday & drink w water to help w PH balance. With this regiment I have no hunger. Not only do I at times feel exalted – my attitudes & behaviors towards food have changed. Fasting is an inner journey …… I can’t say enough wonderful things about it. Joy and peace to all. Thank you.

  7. I do not doubt the benefits of fasting but I think this need some deeper thought – stay with me
    Season 2 of Twin Peaks gets into the idea that people have ‘weird’ energies attached to them and a doctor on the show says the strange behaviour exhibited by the people is from these attachments

    they are real and David Lynch did us a real favor bringing this to light
    I don’t know about everyone but I figure most people have these attached to them

    I don’t think you can make those go away in 72 hours and from what I have experienced these things can wreak havoc on the immune system

    we made ourselves sick with food and naturally we will in turn make ourselves healthy with food – just the right kind

    once you get rid of these ‘weird’ energies you wont cry cutting onions, you wont have BO, you wont need hand cream…..healthy


  8. About 4 years ago I did a Prolonged Fast. But not the wimpy PF he talks about. I fasted for 30 days. Drank distilled water for 3 weeks, then a little broth for the 4th week. Lost 50 lbs. Kept it off for 2+ years until I had back surgery and sat on the couch for 8 months recovering. To get rid of the hunger for the first few days, I did exactly opposite of what they say to do. I started on the Atkins fast start diet for about 3 days. Just meat ,cheese, eggs, coconut oil (to cook eggs) and lots of distilled water to drink. Absolutely no carbs. This puts your body into ketosis, where you start burning fat. The ketones suppress your hunger. You can tell you are in ketosis when your breath smells bad. Then you go to straight to drinking only distilled water for the remainder of your PF. 7 days. 14 days. (No master cleanse). You can put a little lemon in the water if you need some flavor. I started a PF on Sunday 2/4/18 (atkins), started only distilled water last night (2/8). Was down 7 lbs this morning (5 days). Started at 252 lbs on Sunday.

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