Intermittent Fasting to Reduce Autoimmunity

I highly encourage giving your body a rest period from actively trying to digest food. The reason is it can take hours to days to effectively metabolize and excrete consumed food completely from the body. 

Fasting is extremely helpful to boost the immune system, especially for autoimmune disorders and cancer. 

For example, a study on mice with induced autoimmune encephalomyelitis—the animal model equivalent of multiple sclerosis—showed that fasting decreased disease severity, delayed disease onset, and lowered incidence among the experimental population (100% control group vs. 45.6% fasting group) (Choi et al., 2016). 

In this study, the mice were placed on a very low-calorie diet for 3 days every 7 days for one month (ie., like a weekend recovery meal plan).  Fasting was found to decrease the disease severity score to 0 in 27% of the mice and 0.5 in 50% of the mice (anything below 1 is a marked improvement).

These mice experienced a 75% reduction in a cell surface integrin of white blood cells (i.e. macrophages, granulocytes, and NK cells) called CD11b+ (p<0.05), which is an inflammatory marker related to the spinal cord. There was a 4-fold reduction in CD4+ T cells, which typically contribute to demyelination in multiple sclerosis (p < 0.01). 

Choi et al. (2016) also looked at the quality of life of patients living with multiple sclerosis. In total, 60 individuals were randomly assigned to either eating a control diet for 6 months, a ketogenic diet for 6 months, or a 7-day fasting mimicking diet followed by a low-calorie Mediterranean diet for 6 months.


Both the fasting mimicking and ketogenic diet groups had significant improvements in quality of life measurements after 3 months of treatment. 

Fasting shows great promise in decreasing the incidence and severity of autoimmune conditions. What we need to keep in mind when considering any fasting regimens is that the main risk relates to the severe energy restriction and nutritional inadequacy if it is not appropriately (Lee and Longo, 2011). As with anything, finding the optimum balance is key.


This is why Dr. Bhandari and the Advanced Health Team Are Here to Support Your Health.

Our expert team of integrative holistic practitioners work with patients suffering from chronic health concerns like autoimmunity.  We help them reverse disease by better understanding how the body optimally functions and providing personalized treatment plan. To learn more and book an appointment, contact Advanced Health or call 1-415-506-9393.



Choi, I.Y., Piccio, L., Childress, P., Bollman, B., Ghosh, A., Brandhorst, S., … & Longo, V.D. (2016). Diet mimicking fasting promotes regeneration and reduces autoimmunity and multiple sclerosis symptoms. Cell Rep., 15(10): 2136-2146.

Lee, C., & Longo, V. (2011). Fasting vs dietary restriction in cellular protection and cancer treatment: From model organisms to patients. Oncogene, 30, 5/30/2017.

Payal Bhandari M.D. Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is one of U.S.'s top leading integrative functional medical physicians and the founder of San Francisco' top ranked medical center, SF Advanced Health. Her well-experienced holistic healthcare team collaborates together to deliver whole-person personalized care and combines the best in Western and Eastern medicine. By being an expert of cell function, Dr. Bhandari defines the root cause of illness and is able to subside any disease within weeks to months. She specializes in cancer prevention and reversal, digestive & autoimmune disorders. Dr. Bhandari received her Bachelor of Arts degree in biology in 1997 and Doctor of Medicine degree in 2001 from West Virginia University. She the completed her Family Medicine residency in 2004 from the University of Massachusetts and joined a family medicine practice in 2005 which was eventually nationally recognized as San Francisco’s 1st patient-centered medical home. To learn more, go to

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