The Foundation has compiled peer-reviewed articles related to medically supervised fasting by health professionals and researchers. You can review these articles at the Peer-Reviewed Articles link to the right.
We have also included a link to magazine articles and videos from our Fasting section that may be of interest. Many of these are designed for general readers and may be appropriate for reading and listening to by highly motivated patients, who are interested in making the significant and permanent changes necessary to benefit from medically supervised fasting, in conjunction with diet and lifestyle modification.
TrueNorth Health Foundation
TrueNorth Health Foundation focuses its efforts on research and education, with a special interest in medically supervised fasting. Our research is hoping to elucidate answers to the following questions:
- Which conditions respond most favorably to medically-supervised fasting in conjunction with diet and lifestyle modification?
- Which patients are most likely to benefit?
- How can health professionals best support patients who are good candidates for this approach?
Fasting has been practiced throughout human history, and physicians in the United States have been prescribing it for health benefits with excellent results since the early 1800s. But only in the last decade or so have studies begun to show why fasting is beneficial.
The benefits of fasting may derive from its role in adaptive cellular responses that reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, optimize energy metabolism, and boost cell protection. Fasting decreases glucose and IGF1, blood pressure and heart rate, insulin, inflammation and oxidation, and total microbial load. It increases leptin, insulin sensitivity, cellular stress resistance, cellular stress adaptation, and autophagy; it normalizes gut microbiota; and it stimulates B-cell immunity. Fasting appears to reverse all major abnormalities of metabolic syndrome.
In animal studies, fasting has been shown to extend longevity and protect against diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and neurodegeneration. In humans, fasting has been shown to reduce obesity, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. The British Medical Journal reported on a case where a 21-day fast, followed by an exclusively plant-food diet, free of added salt, oil, and sugar, resulted in the reversal of follicular lymphoma. A three year follow-up study, also published in the British Medical Journal shows no sign of cancer. In addition to its potential to delay aging and help prevent and manage diseases, employing fasting as a means of treatment may help patients avoid the untoward side effects often associated with other approaches.