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    • Fasting May Regenerate/Repair Intestinal Stem Cells

      It's a mouse study - the point is acknowledged. However, new research at MIT raises some intriguing issues.

      As people age, their intestinal stem cells begin to lose their ability to regenerate. These stem cells are the source for all new intestinal cells, so this decline can make it more difficult to recover from gastrointestinal infections or other conditions that affect the intestine. This age-related loss of stem cell function can be reversed by a 24-hour fast, according to a new study from MIT biologists. The researchers found that fasting dramatically improves stem cells’ ability to regenerate, in both aged and young mice.

      In fasting mice, cells begin breaking down fatty acids instead of glucose, a change that stimulates the stem cells to become more regenerative. The researchers found that they could also boost regeneration with a molecule that activates the same metabolic switch. Such an intervention could potentially help older people recovering from GI infections or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, the researchers say.

      “Fasting has many effects in the intestine, which include boosting regeneration as well as potential uses in any type of ailment that impinges on the intestine, such as infections or cancers,” says Omer Yilmaz, an MIT assistant professor of biology, a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and one of the senior authors of the study. “Understanding how fasting improves overall health, including the role of adult stem cells in intestinal regeneration, in repair, and in aging, is a fundamental interest of my laboratory.”


      After mice fasted for 24 hours, the researchers removed intestinal stem cells and grew them in a culture dish, allowing them to determine whether the cells can give rise to “mini-intestines” known as organoids.
      The researchers found that stem cells from the fasting mice doubled their regenerative capacity.
      “It was very obvious that fasting had this really immense effect on the ability of intestinal crypts to form more organoids, which is stem-cell-driven,” Maria Mihaylova, an MIT post-doctoral fellow says.

      The findings suggest that drug treatment could stimulate regeneration without requiring patients to fast, which is difficult for most people. One group that could benefit from such treatment is cancer patients who are receiving chemotherapy, which often harms intestinal cells. It could also benefit older people who experience intestinal infections or other gastrointestinal disorders that can damage the lining of the intestine.

      "Fasting boosts stem cells’ regenerative capacity," MIT NEWS, May 3, 2018, http://news.mit.edu/2018/fasting-boo...-capacity-0503

      This article was originally published in forum thread: Fasting May Regenerate/Repair Intestinal Stem Cells
      Comments 2 Comments
      1. Sean Mosher's Avatar
        Sean Mosher -
        I find the mental clarity to be one of the best results.
      1. Re-Ride's Avatar
        Re-Ride -
        Microbial translocation of gut flora and products to the portal and systemic circulation is thought to be related to chronic immune activation and inflammation. This is of particular concern for aged long term survivors of cancer and HIV even if they otherwise stable and responsive on therapy. If the study is correct Fasting might be useful in addition to glutamine supplementation.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3553668/
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