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Fasting During Chemotherapy Found To Help Counteract Increase In Blood Sugar [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 03, 2017 07:02 AM EDT

Fasting during chemotherapy may serve a protective purpose to healthy cells, a study on mice showed. It could mitigate the effect of elevated blood sugar on these cells for which some cancer drugs are responsible.

Doxorubicin is a chemotherapy drug which is often administered with dexamethasone or rapamycin for managing its side effects such as nausea. However, the latter two cause an increase in blood sugar levels. The researchers from the USC Longevity Institute at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology led by Valter Longo analyzed the impact of fasting on mice given the doxorubicin.

The results showed that the mice who received doxorubicin as well as dexamethasone or rapamycin experienced side effects worse than the mice that were given only doxorubicin. The researchers found that the former had more considerable damage in the heart cells than the latter.

An earlier study conducted by the team on yeast cells demonstrated a raised sensitivity to toxins as glucose levels went up.

The researchers put the mice in bursts of fasting or its near equivalent with a diet that is low in calories in order to lessen the level. It resulted in damages to healthy heart cells markedly less severe than the mice which did not fast. It showed that fasting during chemotherapy could offset an increase in blood sugar.

The findings were concerning because the combination of drugs caused greater sensitivity to chemotherapy in the mice, and the same effect could be harmful to people - something that doctors should consider before administering both drugs to patients.

They explained that it is possible that the elevated blood sugar in the healthy cells made it more susceptible. Related studies conducted in the past may offer support to the results of this research, the Medical Xpress reported.

Fasting has long been necessary for some medical procedures. For example, patients are required to fast before surgery as anesthesia changes normal body processes. In order to get a more accurate result for cholesterol count, fasting has to be done prior to this tests, according to WebMd.

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