Fasting is the willful refraining from eating and drinking. In a physiological context, fastingmay be referred to the metabolic status of a person who has not eaten overnight, or to the metabolic state achieved after complete digestion and absorption of a meal. Several metabolic adjustments occur during fasting. Some diagnostic tests are used to determine a fasting state. For example, a person is assumed to be fasting once 8–12 hours have elapsed since the last meal. Metabolic changes of the fasting state begin after absorption of a meal. Fasting refers to not eating at all or consuming very few calories for a certain amount of time. And fasting from 12 hours to prolonged periods have promising results in cancer treatment and prevention,
Fasting is one of the oldest therapies in medicine. Many renowned physicians throughout history and many of the oldest healing systems have recommended fasting as an integral method of healing and prevention. Buqrat (Hippocrates), Father of Unani or Greek Medicine, believed that fasting enabled the body to heal itself.
Fasting triggers a truly wondrous cleaning process that trickles down to each cell in the body, a highly potent natural anti-inflammatory therapy; it releases cooling energy throughout the system. Fasting is a good way to detoxify, thereby cleansing the body system of ill-effects including cancer. There is a great relation between calorie restriction, fasting and prevention of cancer in the body.
Fasting Help Fight Cancer?
According to Medical Science, fasting may help with cancer treatment. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the role of fasting in both cancer treatment and prevention. Some research suggests that fasting helps fight cancer by lowering insulin resistance and levels of inflammation. Fasting may also reverse the effects of chronic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, which are both linked to a higher risk of multiple types of cancer and lower survival rates. In one study of time-restricted feeding during 9–12 hour phases, fasting was shown to reverse the progression of obesity and type 2 diabetes in mice. Obesity is a major risk factor for cancer, which may support fasting to treat cancer.
Also, researchers believe that fasting may make cancer cells more responsive to chemotherapy while protecting other cells. Fasting may also boost the immune system to help fight cancer that is already present. Over the past several years, many studies have been published showing that intermittent fasting or a fasting-mimicking diet can reduce risk factors for and reverse symptoms of serious health conditions including cancer.
“According to Japanese Biologist Ishinori Osimi who won the Nobel Prize in 2016 in Medicine for his research study on fastingclaims that fastingfor 12 to 24 hours can start autophagy in the human body. He proves in his study the benefits claimed by various people through fasting e.g., body cells are cleansed, cancer cells are destroyed, cure in inflammatory conditions of stomach, increase in brain functionality, self-healing of body (autophagy), cure in diabetes, prevention and delayed-aging, reduction in obesity, and longevity of life, etc, etc,
He further says that fastingfor 20 to 25 days for 9 to 10 hours in a year helps the human body get cleansed from cancer cells”.
“As Will of Allah, the fasting in the pious month of Ramdaan would do much more to treat cancer, than the scientific studies predict and infer”.
Fasting Promotes Autophagy
One of the benefits of fasting is autophagy, which causes cellular cleanup and recycling of defective organelles like the mitochondria. Autophagy is a cellular process in which parts of cells break down for later reuse. Autophagy is critical for maintaining proper cell function, and it also helps defend cells in the body. Autophagy plays an important role in preventing and treating cancer. Several studies in mice suggest that autophagy may prevent cancer. Some researchers believe that fasting improves people’s response to chemotherapy because it promotes cellular regeneration, protects blood against the harmful effects of chemotherapy and reduces the impact of side effects, such as fatigue, nausea, headaches, and cramps.
Science Behind Fasting and Cancer
Weight loss is just one benefit of intermittent fasting for a normal healthy (disease-free) adult. Recent animal studies and a few preliminary human trials have shown a decrease in risk for cancer or a decrease in cancer growth rates. These studies indicate this may be due to the effects from fasting that cause decreased blood glucose production, triggering of stem cells to regenerate the immune system, balanced nutritional intake, and an increased production of tumor-killing cells. In a study on mice showed that a bimonthly fasting-mimicking diet reduced the incidence of cancer. Results were similar in a pilot trial by the same scientists with 19 humans; it showed decreased biomarkers and risk factors for cancer.
In a 2016 study, research showed that a combination of fasting and chemotherapy slowed the progression of breast cancer and skin cancer. The same study noted short-term starvation makes cancer cells sensitive to chemotherapy while protecting normal cells, and it also promoted the production of stem cells.
This entire monthly process during Ramadan, detoxify or detoxicate his / her whole body of madda-e-faasidah (ill-effects or morbid matters or disease matters) thus cleaning the body of or morbid matters including cancer cells (referred here as free radicals), a Concept of Istifragh in Unani Medical Science in vogue since Centuries, which may ultimately lead to development of cancer, because it is said that the free radicals are responsible for the development of cancer, since the damage to cells caused by free radicals, especially damage to DNA, may play a role in the development of cancer and other health conditions.
FastingImproves Insulin Sensitivity
Fastingalso helps improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and better insulin sensitivity makes it harder for cancer cells to grow or develop. A 2018 study found that fasting can improve quality of life in people undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer or ovarian cancer. The study used a 60-hour fastingperiod starting 36 hours before the start of chemotherapy treatment. The results show that participants fasting during chemotherapy reported higher tolerance to chemotherapy, fewer chemotherapy-related side effects, and higher energy levels when compared with those who did not fast.
Boosting the Immune System to Fight Cancer
A 2014 study examined whether fasting produces any cancer-fighting effects in mice stem cells. Stem cells are important due to their regenerative abilities. The researchers revealed that fasting for 2–4 days may protect stem cells against the negative effects of chemotherapy on the immune system. Fasting also activates stem cells of the immune system to renew and repair themselves. This study shows that fasting not only reduces damage to cells, it also replenishes white blood cells and replaces damaged ones. White blood cells fight infection and destroy cells that may cause disease. When white blood cell levels drop as a result of chemotherapy, it affects the immune system negatively. This means that the body has a harder time fighting infections.The number of white blood cells in the body decreases during fasting. We all have lots of cancer cells in our bodies at any given time, and our immune system kills many of them.
Now, when fasting for 2–4 days may protect stem cells against the negative effects of chemotherapy on the immune system and when it also activates stem cells of the immune system to renew and repair themselves, then one can think the level of benefits that would be achieved by fasting for 29 to 30 days during Ramdaan and thereby increasing the level of renewal and repair of immune system which ultimately help prevent and control the development of cancer in the body.
Thus, Allah knows what is beneficial for a human being, so, He does and commands for. And with great confidence and faith, it can be explicitly inferred that the Fasting schedule prescribed in Ramdaan is the best Medical Protocol and produces the best results by cleansing the body and destroys cancer cells, cures inflammatory conditions of stomach, increase in brain functionality, self-healing of body (autophagy), diabetic cure, prevention and delayed-aging, reduction in obesity, and longevity of life and much more.
The author is ex-Deputy Director (Unani),& Professor of Moalajat (Clinical Medicine), Ministry of AYUSH, Srinagar.