Did You Know? Fasting Diet May Improve Breast Cancer Treatments

Aug 05, 2020 04:07 AM EDT | By Dana C.


A fasting diet, combined with hormone therapy, can help treat breast cancer, said a team of scientists led by the University of Southern California.

The fasting diet has proven itself to have many good effects over the years. It is most effective when it comes to shedding extra kilos.

To add to the great benefits it has is breast cancer treatment boosts that have been found in this diet.

According to the findings published in the journal Nature, doing a fasting diet like the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) and having hormone therapy can help breast cancer patients towards a faster recovery.

Food NDTV reports that this kind of diet helped in reducing blood insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGFN1), and leptin.

An FMD limits the caloric consumption of a person for a period of time. It lasts for five days each month and copies the effect of fasting on a person's body.

It provides a limited but careful diet that is based on protein, fats, and carbs.

Effects of a Fasting Diet

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancers that are hormone receptor-positive are those that make use of the female hormones to grow. This is the type of cancer that fasting was seen to be most helpful.

ACS also noted that two-thirds of breast cancers are like this.

One way to fight this kind of cancer is through hormone therapy or endocrine therapy. It stops the hormones from sticking to the tumor, so it does not grow, Medical News Today noted.

Doctors often use this kind of treatment after surgery. A patient will take it for as low as five years, to around ten years.

The bad news that comes with hormone therapy is that tumors can develop ways to fight it over time, making it less effective. That is why finding ways to beat the tumor resistance or improve hormone therapy is very helpful.

This is also why scientists find that FMD will be a great help to create much better cancer treatments by giving them shorter timelines.

The research saw promising results based on two small clinical trials and feasibility studies, but they are still in no way certain. However, it is in support of other clinical studies on FMD and its effects on endocrine therapy in breast cancer.

For now, the findings are laying the groundwork for future studies and expanding their applicability.

The studies involve three clinical trials: one on mice and two small breast cancer clinical trials. These involve scientists from USC and the IFOM Cancer Institute in Milan. The University of Genova also took part in these studies.

Valter Longo, the USC study's co-senior author, said their study on FMD suggested that, with endocrine therapy for breast cancer, there is potential to shrink tumors and reverse resistant tumors in mice.

"I like to call it the nontoxic wildcard for cancer treatment," Longo said in an Economic Times report. He noted that the trials they just published, together with the many animal studies that have been published over the past 12 years, suggest that cycles of the FMD can make standard therapy more effective against many kinds of cancers.

Each trial changed a factor or nutrient that a cancer cell needs for survival.

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