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Lab Reports
May 7, 2008

Fasting and Chemotherapy

JAMA. 2008;299(17):2017. doi:10.1001/jama.299.17.2017-c

Fasting for 2 days protects healthy cells against chemotherapy, according to animal studies conducted at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (Raffaghello L et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 10.1073/pnas.0708100105 [published online ahead of print March 31, 2008]). The cell-protective effects of starvation had previously been demonstrated in antiaging studies.

Researchers found that mice given a high dose of chemotherapy after fasting continued to thrive while half of the normally fed mice died and half experienced lasting weight loss. Importantly, the chemotherapy extended the life span of mice injected with cells from an aggressive human tumor, and the animals later gained back the weight they had lost due to food deprivation.