How fasting helps the immune system

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


Some of the most promising recent science has come out of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. In 2014, researchers there found that a three-day fast involving less than 200 calories per day could help revitalize the immune system on a cellular level.

Reporting their findings in the journal Cell Stem Cell, the study authors observed that when cells went without standard fuel from regular meals, the body switched to survival mode and ended up killing off old, damaged white blood cells to conserve energy.

While that may not sound groundbreaking, what happened after is noteworthy: Once provided with food and nutrients again, the body’s stem cells kicked into gear and restocked the immune system with a fresh batch of (healthier) cells.

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