Scientists at the University of Southern California have discovered that a person’s immune system can be rejuvenated by fasting. By fasting for as little as three days, it triggers the body to start producing new white blood cells, their study suggests.
The USC researchers say fasting “flips a regenerative switch” which initiates stem cells to create brand new white blood cells, which essentially regenerates the entire immune system.
The discovery might be particularly beneficial to people with damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy.
“We are investigating the possibility that these effects are applicable to many different systems and organs, not just the immune system,” said corresponding author Valter Longo, Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute.