Fasting has been shown to help normal cells against chemotherapy and has other promising benefits for cancer. Dr. Longo of U.C.L.A. developed the fasting mimicry diet (FMD) which appears to have the same benefits as fasting, without complete elimination of food which is quite difficult. His diet is a short term plant-based diet with healthy carbohydrates and sugars, and lower amounts of “bad” proteins. After 25 years of research, he developed his FMD. Low protein, especially BCAA (branch chain amino acids, such as leucine) reduces the expression of IGF-1, which is linked to diabetes and cancer. This diet shows excellent weight loss, despite only being a 5 day diet a month for three months. In this diet, calories are cut for 5 days by about 40-60% of normal levels, but the key is that sugar and bad proteins are cut. What are bad proteins? His research in general shows that cancer mortality is linked to high protein consumption, especially animal proteins. In his research, there are studies showing 4 times the death risk from diets higher in protein.
IGF-1 is a growth factor. In adults, too much IGF-1 leads to growth of cancer cells, since an adult is fully grown and normal cells will not grow. Dr. Longo noted in his research that there are dwarves in South America with genetically reduced growth factors, and therefore have very little cancer or diabetes.
Methionine is another animal-based amino acid. Cancer cells can’t produce methionine, whereas normal cells can. So a plant-based diet naturally reduces methionine, which cancer cells badly need for their progression. Hence, methionine restriction, such as through a plant based diet, which includes the fasting mimicry diet, has good science showing great benefits for cancer Methionine contains sulfur which is why cancer cells can be detected by dogs who can distinguish that odor. Here’s a great video on methionine that I encourage people to view: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/methionine-restriction-as-a-life-extension-strategy/
Longo’s research (100 or more published papers) shows that high consumers of animal protein have four times the death rate from cancer. IGF-1 as a growth factor is involved, and IGF-1 is also involved in the mTOR pathway which is also connected with cancer. IGF-1 further increases the death rates from diabetes. One more bit of evidence linking cancer and diabetes.
FOR CANCER COACHES: Fasting in general and fasting “mimicry” is safe for many types of cancer, though cancer doctors will not yet support it, just as many don’t support a vegetarian diet. Doctors may think that high protein consumption is good for treating cachexia, which is supported only by very limited science. But Dr. Longo’s team will have a revised fasting mimicry diet protocol specifically for cancer in a year or so. They did research and experiments in which fasting before and after chemo treatment resulted in much less symptoms and much better response from chemo-therapy . Dr. Moss, one of the interviewees that Susan Friedman interviewed, talks about fasting in his book on thyroid cancer. Dr. Goldhamer has used the more drastic form of fasting, water fasting, to treat cancer and diabetes successfully as well. As of yet, fasting is not accepted by many cancer doctors, just as a plant-based diet is not accepted by many doctors because of their lack of nutritional awareness despite the host of evidence in favor of it. There are doctors who use the FMD to treat cancer and diabetes, and a growing number using plant based diets.
 “Fasting and cancer: molecular mechanisms and clinical application” Alessio Nencioni, Irene Caffa, Salvatore Cortellino and Valter D. Longo. Nov. 2018
 Nat Rev Cancer. 2018 Nov;18(11):707-719. doi: 10.1038/s41568-018-0061-0. Fasting and cancer: molecular mechanisms and clinical application. Nencioni A, Caffa I, Cortellino S, Longo VD
 Sci Transl Med. 2017 Feb 15;9(377). pii: eaai8700. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aai8700. Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Wei M, Brandhorst S, Shelehchi M, Mirzaei H, Cheng CW, Budniak J, Groshen S, Mack WJ, Guen E, Di Biase S, Cohen P, Morgan TE, Dorff T, Hong K, Michalsen A, Laviano A, Longo VD
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 Exp Gerontol. 2017 Aug;94:83-88. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2017.01.012. Epub 2017 Jan 17. Pleiotropic responses to methionine restriction. Ables GP1, Johnson JE2.
 Lee C, Raffaghello L, Longo VD. Starvation, detoxification, and multidrug resistance in cancer therapy. Drug Resist Updat. 2012;15(1-2):114–122. doi:10.1016/j.drup.2012.01.004
 Brandhorst S, Harputlugil E, Mitchell JR, Longo VD. Protective effects of short-term dietary restriction in surgical stress and chemotherapy. Ageing Res Rev. 2017;39:68–77. doi:10.1016/j.arr.2017.02.001
Neal Greenberg, CHCC