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Thread: Fasting may boost recovery from spinal injury

  1. #21

    a few comments

    I would like to thank this community for being so welcoming, specifically Dr. Wise Young, cljanney, and antiquity. Dr. Wise Young was the principal investigator on a paper in 1999 which examined the effect of one overnight fast prior to a spinal cord injury. Therefore, Dr. Wise Young was far ahead of me in this general arena of research. Dr. Mattson, from the National Institute of Aging, pioneered the field of using every-other-day fasting followed several months prior to a neuronal injury. His group found very positive neuroprotective and behavioral effects.

    I first found that if every-other-day fasting was followed one month prior to spinal cord injury (and continued after injury) produced a very good behavioral gains compared to control animals.

    But in the abstract reported in this forum the treated animals did not start their first 24 hour fast until after the spinal cord injury, followed by alternating feeding and fasting days throughout the rest of the experiment. There was an improvement in three different behavioral tests in the every-other-day fasting group compared to the control animals. However, the improvements were not as large as when the animals had followed this treatment prior to the injury.

    Just to clear up a few things.

    1) When I use the term fasting, it means in this case no consumption of any calories, just water. The next days the animals consume as much as they want for the next 24 hours.

    2) Some people after an injury consume very few calories for many days as antiquity mentioned. In this case the patient was in a coma and was probably receiving calories (but not very much) via gastric and/or IV tubing.
    With every-other-day fasting and is not just about reduced overall calories. It seems to be important to alternate no calories and substantial caloric intake. Mattson’s group in a 2003 PNAS paper found the every-other-day fasting if followed for 3-4 months prior to a neuronal injury was significantly more neuroprotective than 40% overall calorie reduction, or normal food consumption. This research was done in mice which can consume almost twice the number of normal calories on the feeding day and end up only weighing 5% less than control animals.

    3) Adrian brought up the question of would this treatment work in a chronic situation. In short we do not know. However, it is more likely to work in the acute situation since one of the main effect of every-other-day fasting is neuroprotection. In the research that I ran their was a 50% reduction in lesion size – but the treatment was started immediately after injury. But we also observed an increase in the corticospinal tract sprouting (which is intact in the particular injury model used in our experiments).
    small side note – the control animals also do not eat for the first 7-12 hours due to the injury and anesthesia. So it appears the first 7-12 hours of fasting is not the determining factor the effects observed.

    4) Adrian made another good point of combining every-other-day fasting with other treatments. I think this would be a very good idea to follow up for acute treatments. Additionally, it is possible that every-other-day fasting could be started (assuming the patient is doing relatively well) prior to a more traditional chronic invasive intervention treatment because the diet could reduce unwanted additional secondary damage due to the invasive treatment.

    5) Finally many of the secondary complication that spinal cord injury patients suffer from could be possibly treated/improved with various forms of dietary restriction including every-other-day fasting (even if it did not help improve motor function in the chronic setting). I discussed this extensively in my recently completed PhD thesis – and if people were interested, I could email out this section of my thesis.

    I apologize for the long post but just wanted to clear up a few things though I am sure I missed out many other.

    Ward Plunet

  2. #22
    Ward, apparently, there is some human experience already with the every other day fast, used for treating asthma. What I think they do is reduce the caloric intake every other day to 600 calories (in the form of protein drinks). There are many unanswered questions concerning the efficacy of this for chronic spinal cord injury. I urge people to be careful and not do this on their own.

    Wise.

  3. #23

    fasting

    In 2003, I heard two lectures within several days that stimulated my interest on this topic. In the first, Gary Young, the founder of Young Living Essential Oils, indicated that he once sustained a severe SCI. As a consequence, he attempted to commit suicide by starvation. A long time into his starvation fast, he started regaining sensation, suggesting that somehow a correlation between his fast and restored function. Today, in his mid-50s, he is a power lifter, who does jousting for a hobby (like the medieval Knights).

    Coincidentally, several days afterwards, I heard a talk suggesting that fasting stimulates the production of human growth hormone and other growth factors. Evidence indicates that cultures that include periodic fasting will, indeed, live longer.

    As I researched the topic further, delving into research dating back to the 1930s, I found that consuming a diet composed predominately of cooked foods, as most of us do (no one enjoys a big steak more than me) will provoke a doubling of lymphocytes, which on an ongoing chronic basis will stress the body. Fasting supposedly provides a break from this continued dietary stress.

    Given this theory, it has been suggested that consuming a diet composed of primarily uncooked foods in liu of fasting will build up the body’s regenerative power. This would be relatively easy to test in Wise’s rat model in which one group of animals with SCI consuming uncooked foods would be compared with a group receiving the standard diet.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Yesterday was my first day (actually, about 36 hours) of fasting inspired by the discussions on this board. I'm not expecting any specific result, but there seems little downside and several potential upsides. Thought to start with water only fasts twice a week, but am now contemplating the every other day model.

    As a gourmand who lives to eat, I found this "deprivation" totally painless. (I did eat one orange). I expected to over-eat today, but I didn't wake ravenous as expected. I had oatmeal and water. I plan to eat supper and have a glass of wine this evening.

    Thanks for the information and inspiration.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

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  5. #25
    Thank you so much for addressing my post Dr. Plunet. You are right regarding the gastric feeding.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ward Plunet
    I would like to thank this community for being so welcoming, specifically Dr. Wise Young, cljanney, and antiquity. Dr. Wise Young was the principal investigator on a paper in 1999 which examined the effect of one overnight fast prior to a spinal cord injury. Therefore, Dr. Wise Young was far ahead of me in this general arena of research. Dr. Mattson, from the National Institute of Aging, pioneered the field of using every-other-day fasting followed several months prior to a neuronal injury. His group found very positive neuroprotective and behavioral effects.

    I first found that if every-other-day fasting was followed one month prior to spinal cord injury (and continued after injury) produced a very good behavioral gains compared to control animals.

    But in the abstract reported in this forum the treated animals did not start their first 24 hour fast until after the spinal cord injury, followed by alternating feeding and fasting days throughout the rest of the experiment. There was an improvement in three different behavioral tests in the every-other-day fasting group compared to the control animals. However, the improvements were not as large as when the animals had followed this treatment prior to the injury.

    Just to clear up a few things.

    1) When I use the term fasting, it means in this case no consumption of any calories, just water. The next days the animals consume as much as they want for the next 24 hours.

    2) Some people after an injury consume very few calories for many days as antiquity mentioned. In this case the patient was in a coma and was probably receiving calories (but not very much) via gastric and/or IV tubing.
    With every-other-day fasting and is not just about reduced overall calories. It seems to be important to alternate no calories and substantial caloric intake. Mattson’s group in a 2003 PNAS paper found the every-other-day fasting if followed for 3-4 months prior to a neuronal injury was significantly more neuroprotective than 40% overall calorie reduction, or normal food consumption. This research was done in mice which can consume almost twice the number of normal calories on the feeding day and end up only weighing 5% less than control animals.

    3) Adrian brought up the question of would this treatment work in a chronic situation. In short we do not know. However, it is more likely to work in the acute situation since one of the main effect of every-other-day fasting is neuroprotection. In the research that I ran their was a 50% reduction in lesion size – but the treatment was started immediately after injury. But we also observed an increase in the corticospinal tract sprouting (which is intact in the particular injury model used in our experiments).
    small side note – the control animals also do not eat for the first 7-12 hours due to the injury and anesthesia. So it appears the first 7-12 hours of fasting is not the determining factor the effects observed.

    4) Adrian made another good point of combining every-other-day fasting with other treatments. I think this would be a very good idea to follow up for acute treatments. Additionally, it is possible that every-other-day fasting could be started (assuming the patient is doing relatively well) prior to a more traditional chronic invasive intervention treatment because the diet could reduce unwanted additional secondary damage due to the invasive treatment.

    5) Finally many of the secondary complication that spinal cord injury patients suffer from could be possibly treated/improved with various forms of dietary restriction including every-other-day fasting (even if it did not help improve motor function in the chronic setting). I discussed this extensively in my recently completed PhD thesis – and if people were interested, I could email out this section of my thesis.

    I apologize for the long post but just wanted to clear up a few things though I am sure I missed out many other.

    Ward Plunet

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