Intermittent fasting & cancer, or I should say intermittent fasting during chemotherapy offers real potential as an evidence-based non-conventional therapy but, as always, the devil is in the details.
The purpose of the post is to brief cancer patients looking into this form of complementary therapy. I’ve been researching and posting about intermittent fasting for cancer for years now. The problem has always been that studies point to theoretical benefits but I’ve never found studies to support specific types of cancer benefiting from intermittent fasting during chemotherapy.
The third study linked and excerpted below talks about fasting, breast cancer and quality of life benefits. Improvements in QOL is great but I’m looking for studies about intermittent fasting enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapy.
The pros and cons of intermittent fasting & cancer-
Short-term fasting, also known as intermittent fasting, is a dietary approach that involves alternating periods of eating with periods of fasting. There has been growing interest in the potential benefits of short-term fasting in combination with chemotherapy, but it’s important to note that this area of research is still evolving, and individual responses can vary. Here are some potential risks and benefits associated with short-term fasting during chemotherapy:
I need to point out that the study about breast cancer and intermittent fasting uses a chemotherapy regimen that is quite toxic and can cause serious short, long-term and last stage side effects. I say this because I have also undergone a chemo called adriamycin and I have sustained the side effect called chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy as a result.
Have you been diagnosed with cancer? What type? What stage? To learn more about cancer and nutrition, please contact me at David.PeopleBeatingCancer@gmail.com.
“Intermittent fasting may benefit heart health, reduce inflammation, and improve cell repair processes. It may also help burn fat.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.
There are many different types of intermittent fasting, such as the 16/8 and 5:2 methods.
Numerous studies show that it can have powerful benefits for your body and brain.
Here are 10 evidence-based health benefits of intermittent fasting…”
“Available data show that periodic fasting, a form of intermittent fasting, may hold potential to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy, decrease treatment-related side effects and cancer-promoting factors such as insulin, while ameliorating treatment-related decreases in quality of life and daily functioning…
“Short-term fasting during chemotherapy enhances health-related quality of life in patients with early breast cancer, with no untoward effects, according to late-breaking research presented on day 1 of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2023.
“Strikingly,” fasting also appeared to prevent fatigue, something patients with breast cancer struggle with…
The study adds to other evidence suggesting that fasting around chemotherapy cycles may reduce toxicity and adverse effects associated with chemotherapy…
“Short-term fasting in subjects not at risk for malnutrition is feasible, well tolerated, and appears to improve several parameters of quality of life,” Arends said…
The chemotherapy regimens in the trial included four cycles of adriamycin or epirubicin, followed by taxane therapy. The interventions for both groups occurred about 2 days before chemotherapy plus 24 hours after each cycle ended (about 60-72 hours total).
For the fasting group, this meant about 200 kcal/d through vegetable juices and vegetable broths. In between chemotherapy sessions, both groups were advised to eat a more vegetarian-focused diet, but that was not mandatory…
Although the two groups “started out from the same point, the fasting group had an incremental effect, which quite startled us,” Koppold told the audience. “Over the course of the chemotherapies, [fasting] had additive effects” and by cycle four of chemotherapy, the difference became statistically and clinically significant, indicating “much better” quality of life in short-term–fasting group…”