How to Use Fasting for Healing

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Fasting has been practiced for 1000’s of years and is backed by modern science, so no matter what your beliefs are - they all support fasting! Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Mohammed all fasted, there are 77 counts of fasting being mentioned in the Bible, and most religions still practice fasting regularly. More recently great minds like Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain have quoted the healing benefits of fasting, and today’s most modern science is beginning to look at the anti-aging and healing properties of fasting, and fasting is becoming mainstream again.

Fasting is an ancient healing principle that is backed by modern science!

We have several past podcast episodes on fasting, including Top 10 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting and All About Fasting, an interview with a patient of mine who has done TWO 28-day water fasts!

What does Fasting Do?

Decreases insulin - Most well-known for its causative role in diabetes, insulin is also known as the fat-producing hormone, it is also the aging hormone, and it’s a root cause of many of our chronic diseases. Fasting decreases insulin and can increase insulin sensitivity.

Increases Growth Hormone - Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a muscle-building, fat-burning hormone that many people use synthetically for muscle growth and anti-aging. Fasting has been shown to increase HGH.

Induces Autophagy - This is a process in which the body “eats” (phages) old, damaged, or dead cells in a process that can be accurately described as a “cellular cleanup”. This ‘cleanup’ can include pre-cancerous cells, immune antibodies, inflammatory complexes, and many others. The 2016 Nobel Prize was actually won for research on autophagy!

Induces Ketosis - Ketosis is a state in which your body is burning fat for fuel and producing ketones. Not only is your body burning it’s fat for fuel instead of sugar and losing weight, but ketones have been shown to support mitochondrial biogenesis, increase mitochondrial glutathione, have neuroprotective and cytoprotective properties, show promising results to support dementia, decrease inflammation and reactive oxidative species production - the list goes on and on!

Fasting shows promise to support most of today’s most common symptoms and chronic diseases through these mechanisms, including:

-       Weight-loss (obesity)

-       Metabolic Syndrome

-       Diabetes

-       Detoxification

-       Brain Health

-       Alzheimer’s or Dementia

-       Leaky gut (intestinal permeability)

-       Autoimmune Diseases

-       Cancer

There are several forms of fasting discussed in this podcast:

-       Intermittent Fasting - going 14-18 hours between meals on a daily or regular basis

-       Block Fasting - going 1-4 days

-       Extended Fasting - longer than 4 days

I recommend going 4 days if you are going to do a block fast, because certain things happen on day 4 that make you feel better than day 3.

Day 1 - glycogen depletion takes 24-36 hours, you can expect to feel hungry

Day 2 - Your body will turn protein to sugar (gluconeogenesis) before it begins to burn fat, insulin will drop, ketones will begin to be produced as your body transitions to fat-burning mode, and you can absolutely expect to feel hungry and mental and physical fatigue are likely

Day 3 - Your body will be running on fat for fuel and producing ketones, insulin will continue to drop, you will still be hungry as ghrelin begins to drop but you will be starting to feel clear-minded and increased energy

Day 4 - Your body will be in strong ketosis, which typically feels great with clarity and mental energy, and ghrelin will be decreased so you will not feel as hungry. This is the day people usually feel really good, and I often have clients decide at day 4 that they can go longer!

In the podcast I mention a special zone when your blood sugar gets low enough and ketones rise high enough that you are in a “managed growth” state of controlling any potential cancer growth. This chart was made by Dr. Thomas Seyfried, the author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease. As you can see in the conversion chart, blood sugar reaching below about 65 ng/dL and ketones rising above 2.0mmol will have you in the “managed growth” state.

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