I was listening to part of a podcast between Dr. Heather Sandison from the Neurohacker collective and Dr. Valter Longo, who is probably the worlds leading expert on fasting. Dr. Longo has developed what he calls a fasting mimicking protocol that has proven effective in extending the life span and quality-of-life of mice. He’s currently studying the therapeutic effects of his protocol on various chronic illnesses. They plan to apply for FDA approval of the protocol for breast cancer patients in the near future.
The fasting-mimicking protocol involves consuming a special pre-packaged diet for five days once a month. You have to buy the package, but the company is not profit making. They donate all of their proceeds to charity. There are also plenty of websites where people claim to have reverse engineered the package so that you can make one from scratch.
Dr. Sandison asked if the study participants were expected to eat a healthy diet the rest of the month. The study participants are told they can eat whatever they want the other 25 days of the month. The research has shown that compliance with strict dietary protocols is only effective for about 20% of the population and then only for a limited period of time. Dr. Longo then reported a very interesting finding from a meta-analysis of their ongoing studies.
People who were already on a good diet, something similar to a Mediterranean or pesco vegetarian diet, did not experience any measurable changes during the fasting mimicking protocol. On the other hand, people who ate a generally poor diet filled with excess refined carbohydrates and saturated fat showed tremendous benefit from the protocol without having to make a single change to their regular diet.
Dr. Longo said that mouse studies would seem to indicate that there are some long-term benefits on mortality and morbidity see if one combines an excellent diet with a regular fasting mimicking protocol, but there is no evidence in humans yet that this is true.