The Benefits of the Fasting Mimicking Diet (Prolon®) on Chronic Disease, Cancer and Anti-Aging
YouTube Overview by Kirk Hamilton PA-C (5:26 min/sec) Audio Podcasts 29:60 (min/sec)
James Kelley, MD, MBA received his MD and MBA at Ohio State and the University of Southern California. He is the Medical Science Liaison for L-Nutra. His father was an ophthalmologist and mother had severe rheumatoid arthritis and he developed a passion for medicine and medical innovation through these experiences.
Valter Longo, PhD
He met Dr. Valter Longo, PhD at the University of Southern California in 2011. Dr. Longo originally came to the United States from Italy to study to be a rock guitarist and in his college training switched to biochemistry as a field of study and continued his passion for the causes and determinants of aging and longevity. Dr. Longo is the creator of Prolon® and the Fasting Mimicking Diet manufactured and marketed by L-Nutra. He is the author of “The Longevity Diet” and currently a professor of gerontology at the University of Southern California and director of their Longevity Institute.
Key Findings of Dwarfism and Reduced IGF1 in Lauren Ecuador
A key crossroads in Dr. Longo’s research on aging was his study of the people of Laron, Ecuador who are missing a gene leading to a defect in the receptor in the liver that binds to growth hormone and produces insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1). This insufficient level of I-GF1 appears to protect them from cancer, diabetes and possibly heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. So keeping low levels of IGf-1 maybe a key to slowing the aging process and chronic disease development. (Ref. 1, Ref 2)
Fasting Reduces IGF1
Fasting for a few days has been shown to reduce IGF1, Mtorr, PKA and AKT levels which are involved in cancer growth and proliferation. While the long living “Blue Zones” populations practice periodic fasting they don’t routinely do 5 days of fasting as in the 5 day fasting mimicking diet (FMD) concept (Blue Zones interview with Dr. Longo). Through animal and human studies Dr. Longo discovered that fasting for several days (5 days) resulted in a reduction in IGF1 and the stimulation of regenerative processes such as autophagy and stem cell production and differentiation into new tissue.
Fasting Stimulates Stem Cells and Tissue Regeneration
Fasting for a couple of days increases autophagy or “self-eating” which is the body scavenging cell parts or even consuming their own damaged organelles within the cells. While autophagy is always occurring it is increased with fasting for 24-48 hours and with ketosis. There is an increase in circulating stem cells (MSPC – mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells which enhance the formation of organ tissue, muscle and bone) 3-5 days into a fast as damaged cells get deleted and repaired stem cells are increased. With refeeding stem cells go down but remain at a higher level than the baseline prior to the fast. Three to 5 days after the fast, or 10 days from the first day of the fast, maybe half of the stem cells have gone on and differentiated into new tissue. The peak for differentiation of cells is 3-5 days after the end of the fast.
Length and Cycling of FMD
The recommendation for cycling of the FMD diet is 5 days on and 25 days off. While there is benefit to once cycle, the beneficial results are greater and sustained longer with a 3 month cycle of 5 days of fasting. When 3 cycles were accomplished 60% of the weight loss was maintained without additional changes. The 3 monthly rounds of FMD boosts metabolism.
Humans and Animal Studies
As well as mice and yeast models, human trials have shown reductions in biomarkers for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disease. Mice have been shown to live 13% longer, neural tissue regeneration and enhanced immune function.
FMD and Cancer
Fasting states slow the growth of normal cells dramatically while cancer cells are unaffected by fasting and continue to divide rapidly. The chemotherapy then results in less side effects or damage to normal cells while “killing” the unaffected and rapidly growing cancer cells. Fasting may allow for longer and more potent chemotherapy to be given which also may improve cancer outcome. The fasting has to continue through the administration of the chemotherapy and is started several days before the chemotherapy. There is currently a large human trial now with the FMD and cancer in several cancer centers. Though this is not proven Dr. Kelley believes that fasting boosts the ability of the immune system to “pursue” cancer cells.
FMD and Autoimmunity
Mouse models have shown a dramatic response to fasting with slowing and stopping the progression of multiple sclerosis in more than 80% of animals and a cure in 18-20% of the animals with regeneration of the damaged nerves and myelin regeneration.
How to Learn About and Obtain Prolon® and The Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD)
Research on the clinical use of the fasting mimicking diet can be found at L-Nutra.com by going to the scientific article section.
To get access to the Prolon® product/program go to www.prolonfmd.com. Your “box” will contain 5 individual day boxes containing foods that reflect a Mediterranean style diet that is plant based with a significant portion of healthy fats. There are soups, whole grains, kale crackers olives, nuts, some nut rich food bars (and small chocolate containing bar) packaged to deliver 1100 calories the first day and 800 calories the next four days which can be eaten in a breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack format. Glycerin is provided starting on day 2 through 5 to add to your herbal teas to help prevent muscle loss along with free fatty acids provided from the healthy plant fats.
About half of the people feel that it is easy (for Dr. Kelley it is not easy) while others have discomforting symptoms which usually clear by day 4 or 5. There are lesser percentages of sugars, carbohydrates and protein compared to the healthy fats but enough to prevent muscle loss but still trigger the beneficial effects of fasting mentioned above. Some patients get into mild ketosis some don’t in this 5 day period. There is a refeeding day on day 6. Start with liquids, soft foods, but don’t eat a heavy meat based meal or a high sugary meal.
Three cycles is strongly recommended to have sustained results and then as needed for continued health maintenance and rejuvenation. Chronic conditions may require a monthly fasting regimen until symptom relief and optimal health is achieved.
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