Our Educational Content is Not Meant or Intended for Medical Advice or Treatment
You’ve certainly heard about the exciting benefits that doing intermittent fasting can bring.
- Sustainable weight loss
- Increased energy
- Improved mental clarity
- Correction of pre-diabetes
- Even, potentially reversal of Type 2 diabetes
But you may not have heard that intermittent fasting can strengthen your immune system.
Whether you have allergies, autoimmune conditions, inflammatory conditions in your gut, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus: intermittent fasting will help, without counting calories or having to adhere to some weird dietary program.
Let’s dive in.
In this article: -
- How IF Kicks Your Immune System?
- The Top 3 Reasons Fasting Strengthens Your Immune System
- Fasting Can Help Fight These Common Diseases
- Time To Strengthen Your Immune System
Here’s How Intermittent Fasting Kicks Your Immune System Into High Gear
Intermittent fasting stimulates your body’s production of white blood cells, which are your immune system’s response to anything it views as a threat to your health: viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances. Even food, which I’ll get to in a moment.
Specifically, fasting increases your production of these types of white blood cells:
- Macrophages: large white blood cells that are a critical part of your immune system. Macrophages have the ability to locate and eat particles, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
- Neutrophils: a type of white blood cell that protects you from the effects of infections, among other functions. Approximately 40 percent to 60 percent of the white blood cells in your body are neutrophils. They’re the first cells to arrive on the scene when you experience a bacterial infection.
- Monocytes: a type of white blood cell that fight certain infections and help other white blood cells remove dead or damaged tissues, destroy cancer cells, and regulate immunity against foreign substances.
- T-cells: T-cells are another critical part of your immune system. They develop from stem cells in the bone marrow, and help protect your body from infection. T-cells may help fight cancer.
Now you know how fasting gets your immune system into high gear. It’s impressive.
But why does it?
The Top 3 Reasons Fasting Strengthens Your Immune System
#1 The first reason why intermittent fasting is so powerful, is because of the effect it has on your gut.
Yes, you read that right. Your gut - also called your gastrointestinal system. Because 80% of your immune system is located in your gut.
I’ll give you an overview of the three primary reasons fasting strengthens your immune system.
Your gut is the main point of contact with the external environment. As such, it’s overloaded every day with external substances or organisms, sometimes toxic ones. Thus, it has to have the structure to mount a robust immune response to try to keep you healthy.
So, your gut contains an enormous amount of immune cells. As well, the lining of your gastrointestinal tract represents almost 70% of your entire immune system; with enough plasma cells to bring the total to about 80% of your overall immune system. The vast majority of the plasma cells reside in your gut lining.
When you eat, the nutrients in your food actually have to be assessed before being passed through this lining. Think of it like getting the stamp of approval from immigration to enter the country. At the same time, your gut barrier has to screen out harmful substances that may damage your health
You can see why it’s so important to strengthen this system.
#2 The second, related reason why fasting is like rocket fuel for your immune system is this:
When you’re constantly eating instead of taking time to fast, your insulin is perpetually raised. It can irritate your gut barrier, creating small holes that allow relatively large particles of food to pass through and trigger an immune system response in your body. Your body responds to these particles as though they were harmful foreign invaders intent on damaging your health, leaving you in a nearly perpetual state of inflammation and immune response.
By fasting; that is, eating far less frequently, your insulin levels will be raised infrequently. Your gut lining is far less likely to become irritated and pass through those large food particles. Your immune system will no longer be constant high alert. Instead, you’ll give it a break and allow it to heal and become stronger.
#3 The third primary reason is that fasting will improve a critical function in your body called autophagy.
Autophagy is a process in which your cells recycle their own damaged parts but, perhaps even more exciting, autophagy cleans up infected cells along with viruses, yeast, mold, bacteria, and fungi that are in your cells.
This cleanup significantly strengthens your immune system. Autophagy is a fairly recent discovery that holds huge promise for treating common health problems.
But that’s not all the potential benefits of intermittent fasting.
Fasting Can Help Fight These Common Diseases
I was excited to discover that intermittent fasting can also help fight cancer.
Cancer cells have 10 to 70 times more insulin receptors than non-cancerous cells.
What does this mean?
Cancer thrives in an environment where too much insulin is produced, as happens when you’re eating frequently.
Because you’re lowering your insulin when you’re doing intermittent fasting, you’re creating an environment in your body where insulin is at levels designed to be healthy rather than to promote the growth of cancer cells.
If you’re a cancer patient, do yourself an enormous favor and add fasting to your arsenal of ways to fight cancer.
Even if you don’t have cancer, fasting corrects what’s called insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic state in which your body’s cells can no longer absorb the insulin they need for energy because they’ve been chronically inundated with too-high levels of insulin.
When your cells can’t absorb insulin, your body mistakenly believes you need even more insulin. So, your pancreas keeps producing more...and more, setting you up in a vicious circle.
Chronically high insulin levels of insulin often result in pre-diabetes and, if left unchecked, full-blown Type 2 diabetes with all of its grave consequences such as kidney and heart problems, potential blindness, and even loss of feet or legs.
Fasting will help. And as you correct insulin resistance, your body is able to absorb more of the nutrients it needs to support and bolster your immune system. You’ll especially help yourself when you eat a healthy diet while you fast. This is why I strongly recommend adopting my Healthy KetoTM way of eating.
Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet that will further help lower your insulin levels. My healthy version includes eating lots of vegetables as a way to ensure you get the nutrients your body needs.
Time to Strengthen Your Immune System
Let’s face it, most of us have unwittingly compromised our immune system in some way. Even if you don’t have any of the conditions I mentioned in this article, you could still benefit from the immune system boost that fasting provides.
But especially if you have clear evidence that your immune system has been compromised because you’ve been diagnosed with one of the many autoimmune conditions that are so prevalent, you owe it to yourself to reap the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Kick autophagy into gear and clean up your cells. Boost your white blood cells to healthy levels that will get your immune system robust and support you to live a healthy life.
There’s really no reason not to fast.
Up Next: -
- 9 Things to Make Intermittent Fasting Easier
- Autophagy and Intermittent Fasting
- Can Kids do Intermittent Fasting?
Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.