“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick, is to feed your sickness.”- Hippocrates
Fasting has been practiced for thousands of years by cultures around the world. It’s one of the oldest known therapies in medicine and has been recommended by many great doctors and healers throughout history. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, believed that fasting enabled the body to heal itself. And he was right. The body is a highly intelligent being. It knows exactly how to heal itself and will, given the opportunity.
This is precisely what fasting does. It gives the body that opportunity. When you stop consuming calories and only drink water, an incredible amount of energy is freed up. Digestion requires 75-80 percent of the body’s energy. All of that energy that normally goes towards digesting food, can now be used to heal the body. We see this with animals. When they are sick, they won’t eat. It’s also why you lose your appetite when you get sick. The body needs all of its energy to go towards fighting the infection.
Science is just starting to take notice of the benefits of water fasting. In fact, researchers at the University of Southern California presented a study that found that refraining from food for as little as two days can reset the immune system. And fasting for two to four days helps the body to fight infection by triggering stem cell-based regeneration of new white blood cells, which renews the body’s defense system.
The benefits of water fasting are quite remarkable. They can be seen not just on a physical level, but on a mental, spiritual and emotional level as well. And because everyone’s bodies and state of health are different, the experience of fasting can be unique to each person.
Almost everyone who fasts though, goes through a “healing crisis” which is a reaction the body has to the detoxification process. Symptoms range from nausea, dizziness, fatigue, feeling weak to headaches, etc.
So, what are some of the benefits?
Increase in Human Growth Hormone:
Within 12 hours of starting a fast, human growth hormone starts to increase. In fact, research shows that human growth hormone increases 1300 percent in just 12-13 hours of fasting.
Human growth hormone slows down the aging process and also helps the body to burn fat and build muscle.
Autophagy is the process by which the body discards dead and dying cells that have completed their natural lifespan. Within 17 hours of water fasting, energy becomes available to the body, which enhances and increases autophagy. The increased autophagy causes the body to break down tumors, cysts, cancers, stones and other abnormal growths.
Autophagy is important for the prevention of disease and also helps the body to slow down the aging process. Numerous studies on animals show that restricting caloric intake significantly increased their lifespan, even when the restriction was occasional.
Some other benefits of autophagy include the development and retention of lean muscle as well of the production of new brain cells which protects against neurodegeneration.
During the first 24 hours of fasting, the body dips into sugar reserves for energy, but once the sugar reserves are depleted, the body will start using fat for energy.
When the body starts dipping into its fat reserves, the detoxification process begins. This is because the body stores toxins in fat cells in order to protect its cells and organs. As fat gets metabolized for energy, toxins stored in fat cells are released and sent to organs of elimination for removal.
Immune System Reboot:
Within 72 hours of fasting, stem cell production starts to kick in and the primary stem cells activated are from the immune system. Old white blood cells get recycled and new ones are produced, enhancing and rebooting the immune system.
Just three to seven days on a water fast can dramatically reduce inflammation and pain. Studies show that fasting decreases levels of homocysteine and C-reactive protein, which are both inflammatory markers. It also reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are involved in both the initiation and the persistence of pain.
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.