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Going to start fasting on imatinib


Hi everyone

After reading the many interesting and informative posts by scuba and others on fasting, selenium, curcumin, Vitamin D and imatinib, I have decided to try my own experiment.  I am in the fortunate position that I have four months off work where I can try various things without having to worry about needing a rest or becoming ill while at work, so I am aiming to do the following:

  • Eat eight Brazil nuts a day from Monday to Friday
  • Spend 25 minutes per day in the sun (I live in South Africa so we have around 9 hours of sunshine every day)
  • Undertake a 48 hour fast from Friday night to Sunday night every week
  • Take curcumin supplements

I'm on 400mg imatinib and I've reached a plateau where my BCR-Abl levels have been stuck on 0.03% for the past 14 months.  Like many other patients, I can't easily persuade the doctors to change or experiment (I wish I could get my hands on Misoprostol just to try it), but I really want to get to the level where I can at least try treatment-free remission as I'm worried about the effect this treatment will have on my pocket when I retire (22 years from now but still a concern).  I had a really slow response and was borderline accelerated phase when diagnosed (11% blasts and 9% blasts on two consecutive days) so I am realistic about my chances of ever reaching this point, but it's worth a try, right?  I have tried taking imatinib without food a few times and have never experienced any nausea, so I think the fasting is viable.

I would just like to know whether it is dangerous to fast every week or if I should do it once a month only?  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to have a four-month sabbatical and it will never come around again, so I want to make full use of it.  Also, since treatment began I gained around 10kg and I am sure that the drugs work better when one weighs less, so I'm going to make use of the chance to lose some weight.

Any thoughts would be most welcome.

Thank you and kind regards





Hi Martin,

No nausea taking imatinib on an empty stomach? Lucky you!

8 brazil nuts a day could be too many.They are loaded with selenium. Each nut averages 50 ug - some nuts as high as 100 ug. For cancer, the recommended intake is 300 ug / day with 400 ug being an upper limit.

Good luck with your fast! I fast one day per week now (Mondays mostly). I'm in ketosis most of the time.

Hi scuba

Thanks a lot for the detailed information!  I'm so glad I asked as I didn't know that there was a limit as to how many Brazil nuts to eat.  I'm going to eat four a day instead and start on my fast soon (tomorrow is my last working day).  I'll let you know how I get on!

Onwards and downwards,


Hi and good luck in your fasting.

I take my imatinib 400 mg after my last meal at 8 pm and this couple days I`m suffering from acid reflux and stomach pain from imatinib and im taking 40 mg omeprazole  but didnt help I was eating fruit , vegetable ,quinoa ,and fish ,some time  I add to my meal a  little chicken when I feel very cold at night.I stopped eating berries but my acid reflux still bother me I use to do fasting and exercise before I diagnosed on July 5 with CML . Good luck every one with your CML journey .

Wish you speedy recovery