Oct 25, 2018
Regenerative Medicine

Dr. Bill Releford - How Fasting For Just A Day Can Regenerate Your Stem Cells


ello, it’s Dr. Bill Releford from The Releford Foot and Ankle Institute “Where we stop the pain so you can start living again”. Today we are talking about

How Fasting For Just A Day Can Regenerate Your Stem Cells

Fasting Can Boost Your Stem Cells

Researchers have been able to reverse the age-related loss of functionality in intestinal stem cells in a very simple way. A 24-hour fast has been shown to dramatically improve how these important cells regenerate in both old and young mice.

The study looked at the effect of diet on the gut cells of young and old mice. What the researchers discovered was that after just a single day of fasting, the cells underwent a switch in behavior. They stopped burning carbohydrates and started burning fat. And once the cells started burning fatty acids their functionality got better.

Researchers said “Intestinal stem cells are the workhorses of the intestine that give rise to more stem cells and to all of the various differentiated cell types of the intestine. Notably, during aging, intestinal stem function declines, which impairs the ability of the intestine to repair itself after damage,” “In this line of investigation, they focused on understanding how a 24-hour fast enhances the function of young and old intestinal stem cells.”

What the team realized is that once the mice began fasting, certain transcription factors – proteins that help convert DNA to RNA – activated. They are called PPARs. When they are switched off the cells can’t burn fatty acids, and the analysis showed that when this happens the cells can no longer boost regeneration. The reverse is also true. The team activated the PPARs while the mice were not fasting and still got the beneficial effect.

“That was also very surprising,” because it supports the conclusion that “Just activating one metabolic pathway is sufficient to reverse certain age phenotypes.”

The findings are really important. The discovery that fasting helps the intestines regenerate is important in its own right, but combining it with the potential of simply using a drug to obtain the same effect makes this a key study for medical interventions on the lower digestive system. It could, for example, help patients recovering from chemotherapy or gastrointestinal infections.

This study makes me curious to find out whether cells in other parts of the body like the feet and legs also have this capability to react in this way to fasting. You know I’m a nutrition nut in addition to being an expert in the field of regenerative medicine so it’s interesting to see how advancements are being made in this way.