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Prolonged fasting and White blood cells


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After studying the science behind prolonged fasting and listening to a number of interviews with Dr. Valter Longo, I decided to try my first prolonged fast.

I did a blood analysis before and after my 90 hour water-only-fast.

I mainly wanted to look at the white blood cell count after fasting. Dr. Valter Longo has explained that after about 72 hours of fasting, non-functioning senescent white blood cells are used up as an energy substrate. This is accourding to Longo very good because as white blood cells start to drop it triggers stem cells to produce new fresh cells and you end up with a "brand new" immune system.

I was very pleased with my IGF-1 levels (132 ng/mL before, 89 ng/mL after).

My growth hormone increased by 500% (blood test taken at the same time of day)

But my white blood cell count was essentially unchanged (Leukocytes 4.6 before and 4.4 after) and I was a little bit disappointed about this.

I was wondering if anyone else had a similar experience or know something about this?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/10/2021 at 5:06 AM, Nordlander83 said:

as white blood cells start to drop it triggers stem cells to produce new fresh cells and you end up with a "brand new" immune system

I am not sure what the correct answer is, however, a random guess might suggest that even if your overall count is similar, a larger portion of your post-fast WBCs are new. You are certainly within the normal range.

Here is something I came across recently that relates to WBCs and some might find interesting:

High intake of vegetables is linked to lower white blood cell profile and the effect is mediated by the gut microbiome

"Results
Higher levels of white blood cells, lymphocytes and basophils were all significantly correlated with lower habitual intake of vegetables, with vegetable intake explaining between 3.59 and 6.58% of variation in white blood cells after adjusting for covariates and multiple testing using false discovery rate (q < 0.1). No such association was seen with fruit intake. A mediation analysis found that 20.00% of the effect of vegetable intake on lymphocyte counts was mediated by one bacterial genus, Collinsella, known to increase with the intake of processed foods and previously associated with fatty liver disease. We further correlated white blood cells to other inflammatory markers including IL6 and GlycA, fasting and post-prandial glucose levels and found a significant relationship between inflammation and diet.

Conclusion
A habitual diet high in vegetables, but not fruits, is linked to a lower inflammatory profile for white blood cells, and a fifth of the effect is mediated by the genus Collinsella."

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17 minutes ago, Ron Put said:

A habitual diet high in vegetables, but not fruits, is linked to a lower inflammatory profile for white blood cells,

Yes.  This observation is exactly what those of us who have been practicing a traditional CR diet -- almost entirely non-starchy vegetables, no (or very little) fruit, and for at least some of us (including me), little or no grain, whole or not -- have been observing in our blood work for years:  vanishingly small numbers for CRP, which measures inflammation, and low WBC -- for most of us, including me, white blood count that is supposedly "too low".

  --  Saul

 

 

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