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Fasting Is Not Only Good For Your Figure

Especially in times of the coronavirus it is important to strengthen the immune system. And here it helps, in addition to vitamins, coenzymes, etc., to repeatedly insert phases in which food intake is reduced. In addition to new power for the immune system, you also lose a few pounds and the anti-aging process is set in motion. Nobody has to fast in the classic way and completely do without any food. Interval fasting or sham fasting are ideal methods that can be easily integrated into everyday life. The president of the German Society of Anti-Aging Medicine (GSAAM) Prof. Bernd Kleine-Gunk explains how they work.

Right now it’s especially important to stay healthy. What can I do to strengthen my immune system?

We are currently going through a difficult situation. The lockdown does not have a positive effect on our immune system. Many of us work in the Homeoffice, sports studios and swimming pools are closed. You can’t fly to the Canary Islands quickly to soak up the sun. This means that, for example, the vitamin D level, which is extremely important for our immune system, drops. But it also means that we spend more in closed rooms than outside in fresh air. The heating air lets our mucous membranes dry out; viruses have an easy time.

Many experts nowaday recommend fasting

This is actually the case and we can now also prove through studies that fasting phases stimulate the regeneration processes in the body. In this so-called autophagy cell waste is broken down. This means that old or damaged cells are finally disposed of. This not only strengthens the immune system, but also sets anti-aging mechanisms in motion, and by the way, a few pounds drop off.

How exactly does it work?

There are basically three factors that make fasting so positive for us. First of all, the gastrointestinal tract is extremely important for our immune system. It is a dangerous barrier for us, because whateverfood we eat gets into our body – also germs, viruses, bacteria, fungi, toxins etc. If you fast, the intestine – and thus a large part of the immune system – is relieved of its task. You also have to know that a large army of immune cells and red blood cells are constantly needed on the intestinal wall to ensure that nothing goes wrong there. However, if these are not needed there, for example because no food is being consumed, they can work in other places, such as in the lungs. And that’s exactly where Corona is transmitted. Fasting also calms the immune system down by reducing the intake of allergens and nutrients that are involved in inflammatory reactions.

What is the importance of autophagy?

As mentioned briefly, autophagy plays an important role. If we don’t eat anything, the body will be cleaned internally.’Garbage’, so to speak, i.e. damaged or older, no longer efficient cells, is broken down and disposed of. But intruders fro outside such as viruses are also eliminated. This process obviously also applies – and this is a completely new understanding – to immune cells. In fact, the number of white blood cells, the leukocytes, first goes down. That means they will be broken down. But it has been found out that the number increases particularly sharply after the fasting phase, because this process increases the stimulation from the stem cells extremely and these new cells have a higher immunological competence.

Do you have to fast for this benefit, i.e. starve?

No, there are several ways to fast. Nobody has to go hungry anymore. Two forms of fasting are currently very popular: Interval fasting, e.g. in the form of the 16/8 diet – here you don’t eat for a period of 16 hours and you can eat for the remaining eight hours – or fasting mimicking with ProLon. This was developed by Prof. Dr. Valter Longo, one of the most famous anti aging scientists in the USA. You fast for five days here, too, but you are allowed to eat a little, e.g. nut bars or vegetable soup – that makes it a lot easier. The program is delivered to the house complete with all groceries. I have already tried ProLon myself and am very enthusiastic. Because I’m not someone who can deal with hunger very well.

And how often should I fast?

It would of course be ideal to practice the 16/8 method twice a week. But for many it is more realistic to do a few days of fasting-mimicking every two to three months in order to do internal cleanings. In this way you do a lot for your health and a longer life.

photos: Aufmacher@pixabay, Jerzy Górecki@pixabay

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