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Intermittent Fasting for Health

Let's talk about intermittent fasting, cleansing detox diets and how ketosis can be part of this healing equation. 

There is a lot of skepticism about detox, cleansing and fasting programs and the positive effects reported by people who follow them. Our mission is to help you discern the fact from the fiction, so we use scientific references for all our statements, which you can follow in the links below.

Part of our Herbal DETOX Program is the detox diet which can involve significant changes in eating habits. Essentially the diet is a fast on pure fruits and mostly raw vegetables. 

A very interesting phenomenon within our body is cycle and rhythm. Everything operates in a pattern of ebb and flow. Our breathing, pulse, sleep and wake cycle, hormones, moods and energy levels. Interestingly, this also applies to our digestive system, nutrient levels, and eating habits. 

Think about it, how much better does a cold glass of water taste after you’ve been out in the hot sun, and food is so much more delicious when you haven’t eaten for a while. This is because your body is like a sponge ready to absorb and utilize those nutrients immediately when you have reached the point of true hunger.  

Training your body to survive between meals, on stored energy (glycogen and fats) is extremely good for your health.

Let's find out why.  
 


What is Fasting?

Traditionally fasting is defined as abstaining from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance. "the ministry instructed people to fast"
The technical definition of fasting is: be deprived of all or some kinds of food, especially for medical or experimental reasons. 

We are using the latter in this article.

I don't recommend extreme fasting such unless experienced, well researched or otherwise healthy. In saying that, a good fast on selected super-foods can give intense and rapid health benefits. You will find such super-food detox recipes on our detox recipe page

Recently there have been studies conducted on the effects of fasting, so I thought it worth sharing some of these with you.   


Background
Fasting has been practiced for millennia but only recently, studies have shed light on its role in adaptive cellular responses that reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, optimize energy, metabolism and bolster cellular protection. In microorganisms, chronic fasting extends longevity in part by reprogramming metabolic and stress resistance pathways.

In rodents, intermittent or periodic fasting protects against diabetes, cancers, heart disease and neuro-degeneration, while in humans it helps reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, fasting has the potential to delay aging and help prevent and treat diseases while minimizing the side effects caused by chronic dietary interventions. (1)

 

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting involves not eating any calorie-containing food for a period of several hours, usually between 12 and 16 hours and only eating within an 8-12 hour period. This encourages the body to use stored energy (glycogen and fats) which triggers weight loss and many other benefits. 

Types of intermittent fasting include:

  • Complete Alternate Day Fasting - These regimens involve alternating fasting days (no energy-containing foods or beverages consumed) with eating days (foods and beverages consumed ad-libitum).
  • Modified Fasting Regimens - Modified regimens allow for the consumption of 20–25% of energy needs on scheduled fasting days. This regimen is the basis for the popular 5:2 diet, which involves severe energy restriction for 2 non-consecutive days a week and ad-libitum eating the other 5 days.
  • Time-Restricted Feeding - These protocols allow individuals to consume ad-libitum energy intake within specific windows, which induces fasting periods on a routine basis. Studies of <3 meals per day are indirect examinations of a prolonged daily or nightly fasting periods.
  • Religious Fasting - A wide variety of fasting regimens are undertaken for religious or spiritual purposes.
  • Ramadan Fasting - A fast from dawn to sunset during the holy months of Ramadan. The most common dietary practice is to consume one large meal after sunset and one lighter meal before dawn. Therefore the feast and fast periods of Ramadan are approximately 12 hours in length.
  • Other Religious Fasts - Latter Day Saints followers routinely abstain from food and drink for extended periods of time. Some Seventh-day Adventists consume their last of 2 daily meals in the afternoon, resulting in an extended nighttime fasting interval that may be biologically important.

The main type if intermittent fasting I will talk about here is Time-Restricted Feeding. 

Intermittent fasting scales

Intermittent Fasting Effects

Metabolic Markers
In twelve studies with mice, time-restricted feeding was associated with reductions in body weight, total cholesterol, TGs, glucose, insulin, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and TNF-α; as well as improvements in insulin sensitivity. (5)

Weight Loss 
Another study among 29 normal weight men (two weeks per study condition), a prescribed nighttime fasting interval of ≥11 hours resulted in a significant weight change difference between the intervention (−0.4 kg) and control (+0.6 kg) conditions, which translates into 1.3% weight loss. (5)

Another cross-over study compared the effect of consuming one afternoon meal per day for 8 weeks and reported 4.1% weight loss in comparison to a low-calorie diet consumed as three meals per day. One meal per day was also associated with reductions in fasting glucose, and improvements in LDL- and HDL-cholesterol. While self-reported hunger was higher in the morning for those consuming 1 meal per day, this fasting regimen was considered acceptable because there were no meaningful changes in tension, depression, anger, vigor, fatigue, or confusion. (5)

Brain function
When subjects with mild cognitive impairment were maintained for 1 month on a low glycemic diet, they exhibited improved delayed visual memory, cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers of Aβ metabolism and brain bioenergetics.

Time restricted Intermittent fasting for periods of up to 12 hours has been shown to induce beneficial stress-related changes in brain chemistry encouraging better synaptic function. 

See this short video which explains how this has been proven.

 

 

Fasting and Ketosis

Intermittent fasting is known to induce a state of ketosis, where the body begins to burn stored fats and sugars that would otherwise sit dormant and potentially build up in storage in the body tissues and organs. This can have a very positive effect on our health.

Fasting has also been shown in human trials to assist in the following conditions: 

Asthma
Serum markers of oxidative damage and inflammation, as well as clinical symptoms, are reduced over a period of 2–4 weeks in asthma patients maintained on an alternate day fasting diet (1)

Breast Cancer
Similarly, when on a 2 days/week fasting diet overweight women at risk for breast cancer exhibited reduced oxidative stress and inflammation (1)

Weight loss
Elderly men exhibited reductions in body weight and body fat and improved mood (1) 

Anti-aging
Additional effects of fasting in human cells that can be considered as potentially ‘anti-aging’ are inhibition the mTOR pathway, stimulation of autophagy and ketogenesis (1)

Insulin levels
Fasting for 3 or more days causes a 30% or more decrease in circulating insulin and glucose, as well as rapid decline in the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), the major growth factor in mammals, which together with insulin is associated with accelerated aging and cancer (1)


Cancer
Fasting has the potential for applications in both cancer prevention and treatment. Although no human data are available on the effect of cancer prevention, the effect on reducing, insulin and glucose levels, and increasing anti-inflammatory and ketone body levels could generate a protective environment that reduces DNA damage and carcinogenesisThus, fasting may protect from cancer by reducing cellular and DNA damage but also by enhancing the death of pre-cancerous cells. (1)

In a preliminary study of 10 subjects with a variety of malignancies, the combination of chemotherapy with fasting resulted in a decrease in a range of self-reported common side effects caused by chemotherapy compared to the same subjects receiving chemotherapy while on a standard diet. The effect of fasting on chemotherapy toxicity and cancer progression is now being tested in clinical trials in both Europe and the US (1)

A ketogenic diet was also positively associated with cancer, which was indicated by eight out of nine studies. (4) 


Blood Pressure
An average of 13 days of water only fasting resulted in the achievement of a systolic blood pressure (BP) below 120 in 82% of subjects with borderline hypertension with a mean 20 mm Hg reduction in BP. BP remained significantly lower compared to baseline even after subjects resumed the normal diet for an average of 6 days.


Fasting and metabolic syndrome
Periodic fasting can reverse multiple features of the metabolic syndrome in humans: it enhances insulin sensitivity, stimulates lipolysis and reduces blood pressure. Body fat and blood pressure were reduced and glucose metabolism improved in obese subjects in response to an alternate day modified fast. Overweight subjects maintained for 6 months on a twice-weekly intermitting fasting in which they consumed only 500–600 calories on the fasting days, lost abdominal fat, displayed improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood pressure (1)

Benefits of Fasting

Recommended Reading 

Dr Paavo Airola
One of my favorite books is "How to Get Well" by Dr. Paavo Airola. On Page 218 he says this. Quote "I can truthfully say after studying fasting for 30 years with some of the greatest specialists in the world (Dr. Are Waerland, Dr. Ragnar Berg, Dr Otto Buchinger, Jr) and evaluating their results as well as my own experience with hundreds of patients - that fasting is not only the most effective healing method known to man but also the safest"  (2)   

Dr Richard Anderson
Cleanse and purify yourself. This book outlines the practices of cleansing and ridding the body of parasites. A very interesting and informative read.  

 

Conclusion 
Based on the existing evidence from animal and human studies described, we conclude that there is great potential for lifestyles that incorporate periodic fasting during adult life to promote optimal health and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, particularly for those who are overweight and sedentary. (1)

Animal studies have documented robust and replicable effects of fasting on health indicators including greater insulin sensitivity and reduced levels of blood pressure, body fat, IGF-I, insulin, glucose, atherogenic lipids, and inflammation. (1) 

Fasting regimens can ameliorate disease processes and improve functional outcome in animal models of disorders that include myocardial infarction, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease. One general mechanism of action of fasting is that it triggers adaptive cellular stress responses, which result in an enhanced ability to cope with more severe stress and counteract disease processes. (1)

In addition, by protecting cells from DNA damage, suppressing cell growth and enhancing apoptosis of damaged cells, fasting could retard and/or prevent the formation and growth of cancers. (1)

One of the best ways to complete a fast is alongside a herbal detox program like ours. It allows you the time, space and commitment to follow through. The diet can be adjusted to suit personal requirements and personal guidance can be provided online by email and live chat. 

 

My suggestions
I would not recommend fasting in the traditional sense of the word, which is complete abstinence from food for more than 24 hours at one time. I would, however, recommend the technical/medical form of fasting which involves restriction. Have a look at our recipes page and choose from the "special diet" or "Herbal Program" drop-down menu and you will see specific foods on which you can fast. 

By fasting on specific foods you can give your body a therapeutic dose of nutrients which can help your metabolic balance and general health.

To get the best results try eating within only a fixed 8 hour period each day. I suggest eating between 11am-7pm and only drinking water before or after those times.    

You can use intermittent fasting very successfully with any of our Detox and Slimming programs. Visit the shop Now


Many Blessing of health

Brett Elliott ®

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References

(1) Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3946160/ 

(2) How to Get Well: Handbook of Natural Healing ISBN 0-932090-03-6

(3) Cleanse and Purify Yourself  https://openlibrary.org/publishers/distributed_by_Health_Freedom_Resources

(4) Roles of Caloric Restriction, Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting during Initiation, Progression and Metastasis of Cancer in Animal Models: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4263749/

(5) INTERMITTENT FASTING AND HUMAN METABOLIC HEALTH. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4516560/ 

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