I am now on day 1 of my third fast. Intention this time around is to do a 3-day fast since it fits with family travelling plans which actually makes it easier from my perspective. What?? Total absense of food for 3-days? Yes!, and we should all incoporate it for 1-2 times a year. Let’s look into a long list of benefits when fasting.
What is fasting?
Fasting is the total absense of food and calories for a period of time. For the purposes of this article we are looking into prolonged water fasting and of duration between 3 to 5 days. There are other forms of fasting such as intermittent fasting or dry-fasting. During any prolonged period of fasting the body is depleting all glycogen reserves it has and starts using fat (ketones) as the main energy source. This is a more stable and efficient energy source which we have an abundance of in the form of fat on our body. Fasting is praticed since thousands of years in different forms from most religions ( Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism etc) both for spiritual and health benefits.
Health and longevity is mostly determined by balancing periods between of anabolism where our body is growing and periods of catabolism where our body cleaning itself. During times of eating we are promoting growth where in the absense of food we are promoting pathways and supressing hormones that help us :
- Trigger Autophagy, which means self-eating and is a metabolic process where healthy cells dis-assemble old weak cells back into energy. Self cleansing is one the main reasons to fast since over time we collect and accumilate toxins and dis-functional cells which we need to give our body a chance to get rid-of them before the become problematic (for example start mutating). Autophagy can potentially be triggered in other ways but the bet way is prolonged fasts since we want to be in a state of nutrient de-prevention, depletion of glocose and amino acids, suppressed mTOR and absense of insulin. Since 2016 there is a much better understanding of autophagy since Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Price for his life-time reseach on the area.
- Better utilization of nutrients through hormesis . This is quite important since in modern Western societies there is an over abundance of supply which inhibit your cells potential to function properly. We need to regularly cleanse and reset our gut bacteria to enable us again being to be able to utilize in a better way the nutrients we eat.
- Increased congitive function, as the mind and body go into the flight or fight state due to the absense of food and you will experience increased focus and energy state. Put yourself in the position of a hunters a few thousand years ago. If you haven’t caught a pray for a few days, your body needs to provide you all the energy you need to help you catch your food.
- Reduce inflammation
- Stronger Immnune system
- with anti-aging
- with anti-cancer
- Healing of Disease and Sickness
- Stem cells growth
- Growth Hormone increase by as much as 2000%
How to fast?
Fasting is not so difficult as it sounds. You should probably be already metabolically flexible and already practise intermmitent fasting so your body can utilize in an efficient way ketones as an energy source.
- You should have a low carb meal before you start to ensure that you enter ketosis as fast a possible and avoid muscle catabolism.
- From that point on consume in the morning water with a bit of salt in order to retain electrolyte and minerals.
- Drink only black coffee or tea.
- Drink a teaspoon of ACV.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Stay active but avoid sweating and doing heavy exercises since this will deplete your minerals.
It is important to note that we need to be quite careful when breaking our fast since the digestive track shuts down after three days and we need to take really easy when the re-feeding period starts. I will be writing a separeate post on this in the next days.
- Fasting for 3-5 days has a ton of benefits especially on autophagy and should be incoporated at least 1-2 time a year in your routine.