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Fast & Fabulous - Fasting for Health

There is a lot of skepticism about detox programs and the positive effects reported by people who follow them. Part of our mission is to help you discern the fact from the fiction, so we use scientific references for all our articles, 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. I have personally tried fasting on just raw food a few times. Once I did 10 days on nothing but oranges. The effects were nothing short of mind blowing. 

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 delicious when you haven’t eaten. This is because your body is like a sponge ready to absorb and utilize those nutrients immediately. Fasting and detoxing is like flushing and cleansing the sponge of your body, your liver, bowels, muscles and tissues. 

What is Fasting?
Traditionally fasting is defined as: abstain 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.   

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 micro organisms, 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 neurodegeneration, 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)

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

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)

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)

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.

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.


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)

Recommended Reading 

Dr Paavo Airola
One of my favourite 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 from clinical studies
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. 

Find out more about our recommended detox program here.

Many Blessing of health

Brett Elliott ®

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(1) Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications PubMed 

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

(3) Cleanse and Purify Yourself


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