Feed a fever. Starve a…cancer patient?
If they are taking chemo…yes.
In animal studies, University of Southern California researchers showed that a two-day fast before chemotherapy reduced side effects.
As one researcher explained to HealthDay News, healthy cells have a “shield mode.” It protects cells from stressors, such as starvation. When fasting energizes shield mode, it also protects cells from the chemo assault.
More recently, these researchers confirmed their animal research with human case studies. They found that most cancer patients who fast before chemo significantly reduce side effects such as nausea and fatigue.
But this method of protecting healthy cells raised a question… Would fasting also protect cancer cells?
The USC team returned to animal testing. They studied a variety of fasting regimens. They also tested different types of cancers and chemo.
They found that fasting made cancer cells sensitive. Chemo became more effective.
Now that’s a rare win-win in the world of chemo. Less pain and suffering along with an increased chance of survival.
“Fasting Before Chemo Protects Healthy Cells” Alan Mozes, HealthDay, 4/2/08, healthcentral.com
“Update on Fasting Strategy for Chemo Patients” Carl Marziali, USC News, 1/14/10, news.usc.edu
“Fasting Might Boost Chemo’s Cancer-Busting Properties” Katherine Harmon, Scientific American, 2/8/12, scientificamerican.com