200 years of data of >10k patients!
I was sent a message on Facebook by one of the migraineurs I work with about a film titled The Science of Fasting. She mentioned that it is available on Amazon Prime, which I have, so I started to watch it. I am on the ketogenic diet and fasting intermittently is part of my daily routine. I was curious what the science says behind fasting. Boy was I in for a surprise! Actually I was in for one of the biggest shocks of my life.
What is Fasting?
At the risk of you thinking that I am talking about a casual fasting, like for a blood test or surgical procedure, let me explain what fasting means here. Fasting is no food at all only water (and I would personally add salt to that) for an extended time. Many people fast without drinking water–and while that may help them lose water weight, on the long run they may lose more than just water; likely muscle. So fasting has to be understood and done properly in order to be effective at attaining a particular goal. So what kind of goals exist for fasting?
Certainly religious fasting is the most well-known and practiced. This type of fasting is not discussed here as this is a post for health and wellness–though undoubtedly, religions brought about fasting periods for the health of their followers. Fasting for a blood test or medical procedure is a short-term, once is a blue-moon sort of fasting, and its end goal is simply an empty stomach for the purpose of medical procedure, so this too is not discussed here. Fasting for weight loss is a byproduct of fasting for all health conditions so I will not focus on weight-loss though understand that you will lose weight.
Intermittent fasting has a variety of forms, such as not eating for 16 hours a day and eating for only 8 hours, or not eating anything for 2 days out of the week but not 2 consecutive days, and eating for the other 5 days, or eating only twice a day or once a day–and many other types.
Fasting 5 Days to 3 Weeks by Drinking Only Water
Fasting was used to cure mental health diseases in ancient Greece, so fasting is not new to healthcare at all. What is new is that it seems so alien to us and we fear it. Yet fasting has major curative effects! And this is where the film The Science of Fasting comes in, which is also available free on YouTube here. I highly recommend you watch it. In short, here is the summary:
In a sanatorium for the mentally ill, one patient refused to eat and, for the first time in history (this was 200 years ago), one doctor allowed the patient to not eat. The patient didn’t eat for 5 days, after which his mental illness started to lift. After more time of not eating, he completely recovered, could talk, and was able to return to work and could lead a healthy life.
In continuing this tradition, this place has started to practice such fasting treatment to see what else it cured. The list is long–please watch the film. The short list: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, asthma, arthritis–there are many more. I am listing only the most common human diseases we fight today with medicine.
Why Medicine? Why Not Fasting?
For 200 years, this facility has been curing people of all kinds of diseases by fasting under medical supervision. They have also kept data on tens of thousands of patients and published their findings–in Russian. Apparently this book is translated to Romanian and French but not English. Why not? This would provide all the “evidence” needed for those always asking for “evidence-based medicine.” The answer is pretty simple: if fasting cures most diseases, who makes money?
Interestingly, in Germany, fasting cure is practiced in their largest hospital even today!
In the US
Longo’s research team at USC has been working to understand the mechanism of fasting and its benefits. Here are some open access publication: here, here, and here; there are hundreds more just from his team alone. The research is spectacular! The mechanism of how fasting works–in his research with chemotherapy, and by others instead of chemotherapy and for reversing metabolic disorders–is explained by how our genes respond to starvation: our genes switch to express protective mechanisms whereas cancer calls become more vulnerable by expressing the opposite. In the case of asthma, researchers in Russia found that those cells that cause asthma in the bronchi of the lungs, vanish under fasting.
Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
They reverse! Why? Because the body stops using glucose (it switches to ketosis, a fat-burning metabolic process) and when insulin is not used for glucose management, it can recover its receptors’ health. It is so simple yet so complicated to pass the information to patients because of the healthcare model, which is a profit-making model for thousands of companies and millions of people. We could cure metabolic syndrome by simply fasting. However, as for everything affecting your health, medical supervision is recommended. And where do we find that medical supervision? We don’t–I suppose we can travel to Germany. It is expensive, but available–assume a very long waiting list!
What we find in the US, is constant badgering by nutritionists to eat more carbs, when it is clear that carbs cause insulin resistance. We are also told to reduce our fat intakes when fat is our body’s primary fuel and makes up nearly all of our brain. Makes sense? Sure! It created (and continues to create) an entire nation (slowly world) of sick people to feed to maintain diseases and use medicines to reduce symptoms. Great business model!
Watch this film and share it with the world! Let everyone know that there is an alternative treatment that is kept hidden to keep profits coming in!
Comments are welcome but are moderated for appropriate content!