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New Study Finds Fasting Increases Cancer-Fighting Capabilities Of Natural Killer Cells

by Jacob M. Thompson


Fasting can program certain immunity cells in the body to fight cancer better and improve the cell’s ability to survive in a tumor environment, according to a recent study.

The following report is by The Epoch Times:

The study, published in the journal Immunity on June 14, looked at how fasting affected natural killer (NK) cells, a type of white blood cell capable of killing damaged or abnormal cells like cancer and those infected by a virus. The presence of a higher number of killer cells within a tumor is usually seen as beneficial for a cancer patient. Researchers found that fasting can reprogram the metabolism of natural killer cells, improving their ability to fight cancer and enabling the cells to survive in the harsh environment within and around the tumors.

Courtesy: Cell

“Our findings identify a link between dietary restriction and optimized innate immune responses, with the potential to enhance immunotherapy strategies” of cancer patients, the paper said.

In the study, researchers analyzed cancer-infected mice that were not given food for a period of 24 hours, twice a week. As the mice were allowed to eat freely in between fasts, they did not lose any weight.

During the fasting period, glucose levels in the mice dropped, similar to humans, along with a jump in free fatty acids. Meanwhile, the natural killer cells were observed to have undergone a major change.

“During each of these fasting cycles, NK cells learned to use these fatty acids as an alternative fuel source to glucose,” said Rebecca Delconte, a co-author of the study…


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