Intermittent Fasting is a Powerful Healing Modality

Intermittent Fasting is a Powerful Healing Modality

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Intermittent Fasting is a Healing Modality:

Our ancient ancestors grew up in a world of stress and scarcity.  Food was not often not available and intermittent fasting was common.  This form of life left a genetic blueprint with key information pertaining to our health and wellbeing.  Intermittent fasting reduces oxidative stress, enhances cellular repair processes and appears to be a key strategy for anti-aging and longevity.

Our ancient ancestors lived in a world where food had to be fought and won.  Many days went by with little food.  Occasionally, a big hunt would score days of food at a time.  This was rare.  Typically, one or 2 big meals every few days was sufficient to keep our ancestors nourished.

The Benefits of Food Scarcity:

Thousands of years of food scarcity led our bodies to develop a protective mechanism to adapt to alternating phases of food abundance and scarcity.  During times of food scarcity our cell membranes become more sensitive to insulin.  This is especially important when food is scarce because it ensures that every bit of food be efficiently used or stored.

During times of food abundance the body desensitizes the cells to insulin in an effort to avoid the stress of a heavy calorie intake.   This results in elevated insulin levels, increased fat storage and increased oxidative stress and inflammatory conditions in the body.  Insulin also enhances cellular division which is a risk factor for cancer formation.

Today, we have a massive abundance of food sources.  We can virtually eat anytime we would like.  In fact, many health coaches recommend eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day.  This process, however, sends the body the signal of surplus that inhibits key tissue repair hormones that have powerful anti-aging effects.

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Turning on Genetic Repair Mechanisms

Intermittent fasting acts to turn on certain genetic repair mechanisms that enhance cellular rejuvenation.  This adaptation appears to allow certain cells to have a longer lifespan during times of famine.  It is energetically less expensive to repair a cell than it is to divide and create new cells.  This has a positive effect at shutting down cancer cell formation and proliferation.

These genetic repair mechanisms are turned on through the release of human growth hormone (HGH).  HGH is known to create physiological changes in metabolism to favor fat burning and protein sparing.  The proteins and amino acids are utilized to repair tissue collagen which improves the functionality and strength of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones.  HGH also improves skin function, reduces wrinkles & heals cuts and burns faster (1, 234).

HGH and insulin are opposites in function.  HGH is focused on tissue repair, efficient fuel usage and anti-inflammatory immune activity (5).  Insulin is designed for energy storage, cellular division and pro-inflammatory immune activity (6).  Insulin is the dominant player in this game.  When conditions demand an insulin release (carbohydrate intake) HGH is inhibited (7, 8)

Fasting is a Powerful Healing Modality

Intermittent fasting is one of the most powerful modalities for reducing inflammation, boosting immunity and enhancing tissue healing (9, 10, 11).  This is one of the reasons why many people feel nauseated when they have infections.  This innate mechanism is the body’s way of influencing us to fast so it can produce the right environment to boost natural immunity.

Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute found that men who had fasted for 24 hours had a 2000% increase in circulating HGH.  Women who were tested had a 1300% increase in HGH (12).  The researchers found that the fasting individuals had significantly reduced their triglycerides, boosted their HDL cholesterol and stabilized their blood sugar.

The best way to begin fasting is by giving your body 12 hours between dinner and breakfast every single day.  This allows 4 hours to complete digestion and 8 hours for the liver to complete its detoxification cycle.  After this is a standard part of lifestyle try taking one day a week and extending the fast to 16-18 hours.  Eventually, you may choose to do a full 24 hour fast each week.

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Simple Fast:  Basic fast with water only for 12 hours between dinner and breakfast which gives the liver a chance to complete its cycle.

Example:  Finish dinner at 7pm and don’t eat again until 7am

Cycle Fast:  Three times each week you fast for 16 hours by skipping either breakfast or dinner.

Example:  Finish dinner at 7pm and eat again around 11am-12pm at lunch the next day.  Do this on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week.

Strong Fast:  Consume all food in a 6-8 hour eating window each day.  You would eat 2 meals per day and fast through either breakfast or dinner.

Example:  This would mean fasting in the morning and eating between 12-7pm each day  or 8am-3pm each day or whatever 6-8 hour period you like best.

Warrior Fast:  Ancient warrior would often march all day and would feast at night.  Consume all food in a 3-5 hour eating window each day.  This may be from 2-6pm or 3-7pm, etc.

1 Day Food Fast: 24 hours each week with only consuming water, greens powders and herbal tea.  Some may have bone broth during this fast.

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How I Do Intermittent Fasting:

I personally like to go 16-18 hours from dinner to my first meal the next day.  I will typically drink 48-60oz of water and herbal tea in the morning during this period.  Sometimes, I will do greens powder in water.  I usually eat my first meal between 12-2pm and finish my last meal between 6-9pm depending upon my schedule.

I will often instruct my clients to do some organic coffee or herbal tea with coconut oil and/or grass-fed butter or ghee in it (1 tsp of each is good).  This provides small and medium chain fatty acids that are easy on the digestive system and provide immediate energy in the form of ketones for the brain.  This helps to stabilize blood sugar and stress hormones.  If someone struggles with hypoglycemia than this is an important step.

I find that 16-18 hours each day helps me feel strong and full of vigor.  It also improves my digestive system, skin health and immune system.  Experiment with this and see if you can find the right rhythm for yourself.  Here are some additional benefits to fasting:

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Sources For This Article Include:  

1. Ho KY, Veldhuis JD, Johnson ML, Furlanetto R, Evans WS, Alberti KG, Thorner MO. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. J Clin Invest. 1988 Apr;81(4):968-75. PMID: 3127426
2. Vendelbo MH, Jørgensen JO, Pedersen SB, Gormsen LC, Lund S, Schmitz O, Jessen N, Møller N. Exercise and fasting activate growth hormone-dependent myocellular signal transducer and activator of transcription-5b phosphorylation and insulin-like growth factor-I messenger ribonucleic acid expression in humans. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Sep;95(9):E64-8. PMID: 20534752
3. Yamamoto M, Iguchi G, Fukuoka H, Suda K, Bando H, Takahashi M, Nishizawa H, Seino S, Takahashi Y. SIRT1 regulates adaptive response of the growth hormone–insulin-like growth factor-I axis under fasting conditions in liver. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Sep 10;110(37):14948-53. PMID: 23980167
4. Farzad Hayati, Mohsen Maleki, Maryam Pourmohammad, Kamran Sardari, Mehrdad Mohri, Amir Afkhami. Influence of Short-term, Repeated Fasting on the Skin Wound Healing of Female Mice. Woundsresearch.com. Link Here
5. Growth Hormone. Wikipedia. Link Here
6. Insulin. Wikipedia. Link Here
7. Lanzi R, Luzi L, Caumo A, Andreotti AC, Manzoni MF, Malighetti ME, Sereni LP, Pontiroli AE. Elevated insulin levels contribute to the reduced growth hormone (GH) response to GH-releasing hormone in obese subjects. Metabolism. 1999 Sep;48(9):1152-6. PMID: 10484056
8. Ji S, Guan R, Frank SJ, Messina JL. Insulin inhibits growth hormone signaling via the growth hormone receptor/JAK2/STAT5B pathway. J Biol Chem. 1999 May 7;274(19):13434-42. PMID: 10224108
9. Dirks-Naylor AJ, Kouzi SA, Yang S, Tran NT, Bero JD, Mabolo R, Phan DT, Whitt SD, Taylor HN. Can short-term fasting protect against doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity? World J Biol Chem. 2014 Aug 26;5(3):269-74. PMID: 25225594
10. Michalsen A, Li C. Fasting therapy for treating and preventing disease – current state of evidence. Forsch Komplementmed. 2013;20(6):444-53. PMID: 24434759
11. Michalsen A. Prolonged fasting as a method of mood enhancement in chronic pain syndromes: a review of clinical evidence and mechanisms. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2010 Apr;14(2):80-7. PMID: 20425196
12. Anderson JL, Carlquist JF, Roberts WL, Horne BD, May HT, Schwarz EL, Pasquali M, Nielson R, Kushnir MM, Rockwood AL, Bair TL, Muhlestein JB; Intermountain Heart Collaborative Study Group. Asymmetric dimethylarginine, cortisol/cortisone ratio, and C-peptide: markers for diabetes and cardiovascular risk? Am Heart J. 2007 Jan;153(1):67-73. PMID: 17174641

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15 Responses to Intermittent Fasting is a Powerful Healing Modality

  1. radhika January 22, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    This is an AMAZING article, i just discovered fasting, its nice to know that it exceeds the benefits you get just from the calorie deficit. Thank you!!!! <3

  2. Dr Jockers January 22, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    Yes, the 16-18 hour daily fast is amazing and gives tremendous health benefits!

  3. Kelcie April 10, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    I was always a big breakfast person! I ate grain free, low carb and was very health minded! After I heard about intermittent fasting I was a bit scared to give up breakfast! I thought I’d at least give it a try. I started by getting up and drinking either raw veggie juice and/or water with a shot of terrain. I HAVE NEVER FELT BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Carolyn June 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    What are we allowed to drink(in addition to water) during a 16-18 hour fast?

    Is a cup of organic low-sodium chicken broth ok, to keep from getting hungry? A cup has 20 calories, 2 carbs. Will that ruin the fast?

  5. Dr. Jockers June 4, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

    No that is very good Carolyn. You can use the broth for sure!

    • Andrew April 11, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

      Doesn’t broth have have nutrients in it? Meaning….the broth will break the fast??? 20 calories, 2 carbs. Isn’t that ‘food’?

      Or…since there’s nothing to chew the body digests it fast enough to let it not disturb the fast? So the body is kind of in an illusion and it keeps the fasting benefits going?

      If that’s the case what about juicing? Raw carrots, apples, kale, cabbage, whatever, juice it (nooo pulp or foam) and you drink that. Would THAT break the fast?

      If it does, then whats the difference between the raw veggie/fruit juice and the chicken broth?

      If there is no difference, then that means….

      You can keep the benefits of the Strongman Fast by replacing your meals with juicing? And only eat solid foods in the proper time windows?

      I am kinda new to al this so I’m trying to figure things out. Please help, Dr. Jockers!

  6. Charette January 8, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    Hello Dr. Jockers,

    I have short bowel syndrome due to loss of colon to UC 25+ years ago. The small 4″ section that is till left still as ulcers, albiet non-bleeding at last check.

    I know that fasting is a huge healing component; however, I crash so easily without protein throughout the day. If I go to long between meals, I get so shaky and weak.

    I would love to try this, but how would you suggest easing into it?

    Charette

  7. Tamie Bilazzo April 18, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

    Hi Dr. Jockers,

    Is there anyway you can add the button for”printer friendly version” so that I am able to print out your articles?

  8. Sandra July 10, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    Is it good to fast breakfast if working out?

    I also use a splash of homemade nut milk in my organic coffee w/organic coconut oil & organic cinnamon. Is the nut milk ok for a morning fast?

    • Dr. Jockers July 10, 2015 at 11:31 am #

      Hey Sandra, the long-chain fats in the nuts are a little tougher for the body to digest and will reduce the benefits of the fasting. I would recommend seeing how you tolerate it without the nut milk in the morning coffee and perhaps add a bit more coconut oil or grass-fed butter which are primarily small and medium chain fats.

  9. karen July 10, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    Can i use half and half cream in my coffee? or do i need to just drink it black? and thanks for all this great info i am going to start today.

    • Dr. Jockers July 10, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

      You can have some half and half cream, but I recommend using coconut milk – full fat instead!

  10. Dr Prakash Chhajed July 13, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    Dear Dr David
    Interesting article on intermittent fasting. There is some degree of confusion about the things which can consume during fasting period. Like you said you take you 48 – 60 oz water, herbal tea, organic coffee, green powder, coconut oil, grass-fed butter / ghee.

    Firstly what do you mean by green powder?
    Can we yogurt during fasting period??
    Also, please suggest few more alternative things which one can consume during fasting period.
    Thanks and regards

    • Dr. Jockers July 13, 2015 at 11:07 am #

      Hey Dr Prakash,

      Greens powder would be a dried green vegetable powder such as the perfect food I have on my store site.

      I don’t recommend yogurt on the fast as the protein and carbs will reduce the HGH effect. However, if you were going to consume something on the fast, doing a liquid fermented food like yogurt wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  11. Dr Prakash Chhajed July 13, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    Tremendous thanks Dr David for my query.
    In same context how about the use apple cider vinegar, cinnamon powder during the period of fast ?

    Regards,
    Dr Prakash

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