Posted by: themossreports | October 16, 2010

Fasting May Improve Chemo

Fasting is prescribed in the Bible and is considered a path to physical and spiritual purity. There are books, articles and Web sites that advocate fasting, some of them even for cancer patients. But many oncologists understandably become alarmed when their patients suggest fasting. After all, cancer is a disease sometimes characterized by unintended weight loss (cachexia). Doctors may feel that fasting will only worsen the situation. But what is the actual science of fasting and its relationship to cancer treatment?

Recently Dr. Valter D. Longo, Fernando M. Safdie and colleagues at the University of Southern California (USC) Andrus Gerontology Center and Department of Biological Sciences, have shown that a 48-hour fast protects normal cells and mice, but not cancer cells, against high-dose chemotherapy.

They also described 10 patients who voluntarily fasted prior to and/or following chemotherapy. None of these reported side effects caused by fasting other than lightheadedness and, of course, hunger. However, most patients reported less fatigue, weakness or gastrointestinal side effects from chemotherapy if they also fasted before and/or after receiving the drugs.

Nor did fasting decrease the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. These USC scientists therefore suggest that fasting, in combination with chemo, is “feasible, safe, and has the potential to ameliorate side effects.” They also recommend consulting one’s physician before undertaking a fast, and I totally agree. There are certainly individuals with cancer who should not fast. But fasting should be feasible for other patients, is cost-free and, at least in this preliminary report, effective at reducing the side effects of chemotherapy.




  1. A fast can be a very good thing, as long as it’s done properly. You need to drink lots and lots of clean, pure water (not chlorinated) while fasting. In these times, we are so toxic (hence the rise in cancer), a juice fast might be best (juice fresh, organic carrots, celery and purple grapes). Still drink lots of pure water.

    I would never consider chemotherapy!

  2. agree totally with leni pearce viewpoint. Faster tend to live longer than consumers.

  3. I can testify personally to fasting. When I was 40 I had breast cancer; went on the macrobiotic diet, hungry all the time, but still here at the age of 67. I went off that diet after 3 months ’cause was so hungry, but I believe it removed tons of toxins in my body and licked the cancer. By the way I was Stage 2 and had 6 or 7 lymph nodes affected. Keep up the great work, Ralph.

  4. I have to completely agree with you all. I watched a dear friend die eating a high fat, high calorie diet recommended by her dietician to “keep her weight up”. The fat and sugar fueled the cancer and did nothing for the host. She would have been so much better off, if she fewer high quality calories.

  5. I completed an eighty day (80) fast in 2005. I was well advised both scientifically and spiritually.
    A long-term fast is best very well researched and planned at the outset…including the person’s intentions for fasting and what the goals are.
    I did not do my fast to loose weight or heal a particular disease. Even so, dramatic physiologic changes took place, including the dislodging of intestinal parasites from my body. Indeed, after I completed the fast and a year after recovery, I find it easier to maintain a little extra healthy muscle mass for an aging male.
    I fasted with carefully portioned filtered juices, fresh and organic. Have a good water source during the fast is key.
    I feel it is also interesting to share that during the whole eighty-day fast, I maintained a moderate thirty minute a day fitness routine, with hiking, yoga, and light weight -lifting. A very interesting integration of so-called spiritual and scientific inquiry.

  6. Qigong has been used with good results to treat cancer in China. One form of Qigong also use fasting, called Bigu, as part of the treatment. Read the article on Bigu in Qi Dao at

  7. Fasting would make sense since there is good evidence that giving insulin potentiated therapy lowers blood sugar to around 30-40 and helps the cancer to go into the S phase of growth allowing the chemo to work better.

  8. Well, cancer cells thrive on sugar, and it seems that most of them can’t switch onto fat burning for energy due to mitochondrial defects, while normal cells can (Warburg effect). Thus, one would tend to think that fasting is good to fight cancer by lowering blood glucose levels and making the body switch from sugar to fat metabolism.
    Actually, in this same line of thought, some small clinical trials are starting to test ketogenic diets in certain types of cancer (glioma). The idea is the same: forcing the body to switch from using sugar for energy to using fat.

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