Fasting

by Claire Rae
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Why do people fast and is it for you?

 

With all the talk about immunity and boosting the immune system, I wanted to address some natural ways to get feeling better. Some of the most underused protocols are what people need to hear about the most.

There are a ton of things that are simple and free that go undiscussed by experts and doctors these days. Sometimes we look past the simple, time tested things that can help us heal quickly and restore our health. As a holistic healer and a Bible thumper I always find it interesting how many spiritual practices, such as fasting have a practical healing or protection ability. In this article, I’m discussing fasting and how it can help you gain immunity, lose weight and fight cancer among other illnesses and how adding it to your lifestyle can have a ton of benefits on a practical level. I added some reasons for spiritual fasting at the bottom of the page but for the purposes of this article I’m not diving too deeply into that at this time.

 

What is fasting?

First, what is fasting? Well, there’s a few kinds of fasting. One is where you abstain from food altogether or taking out certain foods or things such as T.V or sex. For the sake of this article I want to focus on the benefits of fasting for immunity, recovery and the ability to regenerate aging cells  and using either windows of complete food fasting or intermittent fasting. 

 

Fasting induces an altered metabolic state that optimizes neuron bioenergetics, plasticity, and resilience in a way that may counteract a broad array of neurological disorders. In humans, fasting prevents and treats metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for many neurological diseases. In human cancers, including cancers that involve the brain, fasting ameliorates chemotherapy-related adverse effects and may protect normal cells from chemotherapy. Fasting improves cognition, stalls age-related cognitive decline, usually slows neurodegeneration, reduces brain damage and enhances functional recovery after stroke, and mitigates the pathological and clinical features of epilepsy and multiple sclerosis in animal models. Primarily due to a lack of research, the evidence supporting fasting as a treatment in human neurological disorders, including neurodegeneration, stroke, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, is indirect or non-existent. Given the strength of the animal evidence, many exciting discoveries may lie ahead, awaiting future investigations into the viability of fasting as a therapy in neurological disease.

Fasting has been also noted to improve energy, mood disorders, In one study, the reported improvement of a major health complaint, often accompanied by pain relief, could possibly contribute to the increase of well-being. Furthermore, the reduction of insulin and leptin levels appears to act on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, thereby impacting mood positively. Moreover, it appears likely that a successful completion of a longer fasting period improves the feeling of self-efficacy, thereby enhancing subjective well-being. It has been reported that short fasting periods of two days, as well as alternate-day fasting, are associated with the feeling of hunger but after such time the body adapts. This helps shrink the stomach and reduce cravings. 

In conclusion, this one-year observational study demonstrates the safety of a periodic Buchinger fast of between 4 and 21 days, as well as its beneficial effects on health and well-being. Periodic fasting led to marked weight loss and improvements in several cardiovascular risk factors, such as overweight, abdominal circumference and blood pressure. It was accompanied by normalization of numerous blood parameters and led to pronounced improvement of the major health complaint in most participants. Importantly, periodic Buchinger fasting was not linked to relevant perception of hunger. On the contrary, it was subjectively experienced as enjoyable, which is an important factor for compliance.

Further studies should evaluate the long-term specific health-related preventive and therapeutic effects of periodic fasting.

 

Is Fasting for you?

Liver Detox– Yes

Weight loss- Yes

Fight Obesity- Yes

Inflammation- Yes

Autoimmune disease- Yes

Brain injury- Yes

Immunity- Yes

Promotes the secretion of human growth hormone and hence slows down the aging process.

HGH ( Human Growth Hormone)  is naturally produced by the body, but remains active in the bloodstream for just a few minutes. It’s been effectively used to treat obesity and help build muscle mass, important for burning fat. HGH also helps increase muscle strength, which can help improve your workouts, too. Combine these together and you have an effective fat-burning machine on your hands.

Protects Your Brain

In addition to keeping your heart healthy and warding off disease, some studies have indicated that intermittent fasting protects the health of your brain.

One animal study showed that intermittent fasting helps enhance cognitive function and protect against changes in memory and learning function. Another animal study found that intermittent fasting protects the brains of mice by influencing certain proteins involved in brain aging. 

Additionally, the anti-inflammatory effects of intermittent fasting may also help slow the progression of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. 

Some also say that fasting promotes autophagy, or “self-eating,” which is our normal bodily process of cellular renewal — a process that is supposedly aided by fasting, though more scientific evidence is needed until this is certain.

Cancer Prevention/Treatment

Talk to most anyone involved in research around calorie restriction or fasting and they’ll tell you these are tragically underused tools in the cancer cell treatment toolkit.

Fasting has been shown to comparable in efficacy to chemotherapy in delaying the growth of certain types of tumors. Think about that: fasting is comparable in efficacy to the unbelievably toxic chemical soup that works by (hopefully) killing cancerous cells ever-so-slightly faster than it kills the recipient. Why is this not more used in oncology?

At minimum, a fasting protocol should be used in addition to chemotherapy, as it has been shown to preferentially protect non-cancerous cells from chemo drugs.

Fasting can normalize the hunger hormone.

The hunger hormone is called ghrelin and is responsible for telling you when you should be eating.  Dieting and really restrictive eating can actually increase ghrelin production, which will leave you feeling hungrier. But when you fast, though you might struggle in the first few days, you’re actually normalizing ghrelin levels.

Eventually, you won’t feel hungry just because it’s your usual meal time. Instead, your body will become more adept in discerning when it actually needs food helping you feed your body not just your cravings.

Biblical reasons for fasting

You can find many places in the Bible that refer to fasting. Not only does it do the body good but for spiritual reasons including a cleansing during repentance or petitioning time. There are many examples in the Bible of people fasting for long periods of time and in supernatural ways going without food or water for a time up to 40 days and 40 nights such as the time Moses did before getting the 10 commandments and when Jesus was taken into the desert for testing. This is unrecommended for many health reasons but you can imagine if God would sustain a person that long without food it would likely be consequential in some deep meaning, cleansing and revelation. Read more about Biblical fasting from one of the links below.

https://www.thenivbible.com/blog/10-biblical-purposes-fasting/

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/what-does-the-bible-say-about-fasting.html

If you are looking for a breakthrough in your life in some way, I encourage you to look into the wisdom that leads to fasting and prayer. As a spiritual practice I have found it has given me a sense of humility and dependence on All mighty God. After all, Jesus said Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.- Matthew 4:4

REFERENCES 
Albosta, Michael, and Jesse Bakke. “Intermittent fasting: is there a role in the treatment of diabetes? A review of the literature and guide for primary care physicians.” Clinical diabetes and endocrinology vol. 7,1 3. 3 Feb. 2021, doi:10.1186/s40842-020-00116-1




Phillips, Matthew C L. “Fasting as a Therapy in Neurological Disease.” Nutrients vol. 11,10 2501. 17 Oct. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11102501

Wilhelmi de Toledo, Françoise et al. “Safety, health improvement and well-being during a 4 to 21-day fasting period in an observational study including 1422 subjects.” PloS one vol. 14,1 e0209353. 2 Jan. 2019, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0209353

https://www.buchinger-wilhelmi.com/en/therapeutic-fasting-and-nutritional-strategies/


/10-biblical-purposes-fasting/

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/what-does-the-bible-say-about-fasting.html

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200310164737.htm

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