Last spring, I did a 42-day fast (fasting). It was the longest fast I've ever done, and it included both water and juice. The first 3-4 days were pretty tough, with bad moods, headaches, tiredness, and irritability as the accumulated toxins were released from the body. After a week, I felt much better, my head was clear, my obsession with food was gone, and I felt good. I feel energetic, and my thinking becomes more positive. This year, I plan to do this 40-day fast again starting February 25. I do the Intermittent Fasting Method (fasting for 16 hours out of 24 hours a day and eating within 8 hours) as a preparation period. I fast twice a year (in March and September) as a way to reset my body and mind.
So today, I did some research on the benefits of fasting.
I remember seeing a video on Netflix once about how fasting promotes the immune system. It was a video about a research experiment to study the difference in the aftereffects of patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer who fasted two days before the treatment and those who did not fast. According to the testimonies of the subjects who participated in the study, the aftereffects were much milder. (Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, and general malaise were the main symptoms that usually occur after the chemotherapies.)
A study conducted by Valter Longo of the University of Southern California's Institute for Longevity Research confirms that fasting for 24 to 128 hours regenerates the entire immune system. This is applicable to the elderly as well, he said. What struck me here is that the physiological changes caused by this fasting method are much more pronounced than those caused by calorie restriction or fasting for less than 24 hours. One of the reasons for this, he said, is that after glycogen stores are depleted, a complete switch to fat and ketone body-based catabolism is required.
The subjects who participated in Longo's study fasted for two to four days every six months. The analysis showed that fasting contributed to a reduction in PKA (protein kinase A), an enzyme associated with the risk of aging and tumor growth.
By not eating, the cells are stimulated to produce new white blood cells. White blood cells protect the body against foreign substances entering the body. When foreign substances, such as bacteria, invade the body, the white blood cell count increases, and the cells take in the foreign substance and render it harmless.
According to Longo, during fasting, the body releases damaged, aged, and unwanted cells. This is probably because the body is trying to conserve energy. We can better understand the importance of this effect when we consider the bodies of the elderly and those undergoing chemotherapy.
Also, in patients undergoing chemotherapy, the side effects are minimized. I discovered that fasting activates stem cells. Stem cells regenerate immune cells, prevent chemotherapy-induced immunosuppression, and refresh the immune system, as shown in mouse experiments.
Fasting can also be helpful for healthy bodies to improve their health. There is no evidence that abstaining from food for a few days is harmful to the human body. On the other hand, there are strong assurances that it will bring notable benefits, he said.
I want to advise you that some people misunderstand fasting as a way to lose weight, but I do it as a way to detoxify my body and mind. Fasting for more than five days can be very hard on the body, and it is hazardous to do it on your own.
I would suggest seven days with a light meal (vegetarian food, rice porridge, etc.) before and after the water-only fast. I think it is essential to understand your condition and any pre-existing medical conditions before you do it.
Today's blog is my personal view on fasting, incorporating my past experiences and articles that I refer to. The best way to fast is to develop your fasting way, with your thoughts and notions. 😊.