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HomeEnglishFact check: Fasting In Ramadan Cures Cancer? How Scientist Yoshinori’s Research Was...

Fact check: Fasting In Ramadan Cures Cancer? How Scientist Yoshinori’s Research Was distorted on social media

Claim-Japanese scientist, Youshinouri’s research says fasting during Ramadan cures cancer. 

Fact- No research paper by Youshinouri holds that fasting during Ramadan cures cancer.

“When fasting during Ramadan, cancer cells are destroyed – claimed a research by Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi” – a post has been shared on social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok.

See the post here- Facebook, Facebook, Facebook, Facebook, Facebook, Facebook, Tiktok & Tiktok.

Additionally, this has already been reported by various news outlets. 

You can see the reports here- Inquilab, Kaler Kantha.

See the screenshots here-

Newschecker-Bangladesh has verified this claim as false.

Fact check/ Verification

Newschecker-Bangladesh, using Google keyword searches and based on their own investigation, found that the aforementioned claim is false. Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi did not mention anything about fasting being beneficial for cancer in any part of his research on autophagy.

Old claim resurfaces

According to Neschecker-Bangladesh’s findings, since conferred with the Nobel Prize on autophagy in 2016, Yoshinori Ohsumi’s research was distorted by several social media users.

Various claims have been made on social media using the concept of autophagy to spread misinformation, particularly on religious pages and viewpoints. The claim being spread is that “fasting can cure cancer,” using the concept of autophagy. This claim was found for the first time in a Facebook post from 2019 by Newschecker-Bangladesh.

See the post here

These posts and articles state that Japanese scientist Ohsumi “researched fasting” and “fasting improves cancer”. The old viral post also claimed that fasting can alleviate other problems, such as “cleansing the cells of the body”, “destroying cancer cells”, “preventing ageing”, and “allowing the body to heal itself.”

Please see the press release by the Nobel Committee regarding Ohsumi’s research here

You can also see a report on this research by the daily newspaper Prothom Alo here

In response to this misinformation, bdnews24 published a report on this issue in 2017.

What is Autophagy?

“Autophagy” is derived from combining two Greek words – auto and phagein. One of Ohsumi’s research papers states, “Autophagy (macroautophagy) is an intracellular recycling system that mediates bulk degradation of cytoplasmic materials in response to nutrient starvation.”

In other words, autophagy is an internal process of cells that breaks down unneeded proteins within the cell itself or by other means. This process is necessary to prevent the accumulation of excess proteins that can cause various diseases in the future.

1 Youshinori, in his papers, mentioned that if autophagy fails to happen regularly, our body will start cultivating various diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration.

2 And fasting or starvation stimulates the process of autophagy 

These two points were mainly used while spreading the rumour about Youshinori’s autophagy research. 

In his papers, Yoshinori mentioned that starvation helped start the autophagy process. However, nowhere in his research works was mentioned how long and to what extent fasting or starvation might affect the function of autophagy. 

Though there has been proof that 24 hours of starvation had some practical impact on autophagy in rats, no research has been conducted on how many hours of starvation the human body would take to start autophagy. 

Fasting impacts autophagy but is not yet specific to the human body’s autophagy. 

See a related report here- BBC


Fasting during Ramadan cures cancer is a false claim. Yoshinori never mentioned any fasting rituals in his papers.

Result: False

Our Sources

Yoshinori’s all papers
Yoshinori’s papers on autophagy
Prothom Alo

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