5 Day Water Fast: What to Expect on the Healing Journey

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water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing JourneyWhat to Expect on a 5 Day Water Fast

Water fasting is one of the most ancient and powerful healing strategies known to mankind.  Modern science is showing the profound benefits of water fasting on reducing inflammation, stimulating cellular cleansing called autophagy and producing stem cells to regenerate new tissue. In this article, I will take you on a journey to understand what is happening in your body and what to expect as you go through a 5-day water fast.

Fasting is like exercise in that it is very uncomfortable and can even be downright painful when you first get started.  But just like exercise, as you develop your fasting fitness, it will get easier and more enjoyable.

Most people are highly concerned about what they may experience on an extended water fast and rightfully so.  My purpose in writing this is to go through day to day what you can expect as you navigate the journey on a water fast.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

The Transformational Benefits of Fasting

I am a huge fan of both extended and intermittent fasting strategies.  The main benefits you get from an extended fast that go beyond what you get with intermittent fasting or time restricted feeding include greater levels of autophagy and human growth hormone release and increases in stem cells within all the tissues of the body (1234).

While intermittent fasting is a very powerful healing tool, extended fasting allows the body to heal and repair older cells, tissues and organs at a much higher level.  If you are younger and very healthy then you may get all the benefits you need from intermittent fasting.  However, if you have health challenges or want to do all you can to prevent them then I think extended water fasting is one of the very best things you can do.

I believe that most everyone can benefit from one or two extended fasts each year to cleanse the body of all the older, weaker cellular components and rebuild a new cellular structure.

Those who stand to benefit the most from extended water fasting include individuals suffering from the following:

Metabolic Syndrome – Diabetes and Obesity

Overweight Individuals

Chronic Inflammatory Conditions

Autoimmune Diseases

Gut Health Challenges

Neurodegenerative Conditions

Cancer

If you want to learn about all the great benefits of living a fasting lifestyle where you practice intermittent fasting and possibly some occasional extended fasts you can read about it in this article.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Who Shouldn’t Fast:

While most people stand to benefit from extended water fasting from time to time, there are certain individuals I would not recommend this too.  This would include the following:

Pregnant Women

Nursing Moms and Newborns

Young Children

Individuals with Type I Diabetes

Individuals with Eating Disorders

Extreme Athletes Who are in Season

Individuals Who Are Severely Underweight

Individuals Who Are on Medications (Especially diabetes medication, anti-seizure meds and corticosteroids as these can impact blood sugar levels).  These people may still be able to fast but should consult with their doctor first.

*Always check in with your doctor before stopping any medication. Some medications may still be needed, such as thyroid medications. These are okay to continue to take while fasting. With may find you need to take less of some medications. Always consult with your Doctor before changing doses or stopping a medication.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Preparing Your Body Ahead of Time:

I find that building your fasting fitness through intermittent fasting is one of the best daily activities you can do to improve your health and then periodically undergoing an extended water fast is a fantastic health improvement and maintenance approach to take into life.

There can be a lot of discomfort when you first begin fasting as your body has to make a lot of metabolic adaptations and we are so emotionally and neurologically driven to feed.  Many people have physical and emotional addictions to food and this can be very challenging to deal with in the early phases of fasting.

There are certain things you should do to prepare your mind and body for the fast so you can have the best experience possible.  You can read about those things in the graphic below and in more detail in this article.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

What to Expect on a 5 Day Water Fast

Fasting is just as natural for our body as feeding is.  Our ancestors have been going without food for days at a time quite often.  The level of food abundance we have today is a great benefit but at what cost?

In fact, when we eat food, we actually expose our body to a tremendous stress.  Food contains microbes on it, some good and some bad, that will impact our microbiome.  It also contains plant or animal material that is stressful on our digestive system and depends upon the proper production and release of digestive juices to metabolize correctly.

In general, we don’t see feeding as a stress on the body, because we are so used to doing it.  It is obviously a necessary stress in that we cannot survive without it.

When we begin to fast, there are many positive changes that occur, but also some unwanted symptoms that we will experience.  This is all normal and natural and in this article, I will go through these so you can better understand what your body is experiencing.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Day One

Unless you are already keto adapted going into the fast, day one your body is primarily using stored sugar, called glycogen, as its fuel source.  We store roughly 500 grams of this glycogen in our muscles (400 grams) and liver (100 grams).

Some people such as athletes and highly active individuals store more than those who are less active.  500 grams of stored sugar equates to roughly 2000 calories.  The body will not use 100% of this as it will save a small percentage for later but roughly 70% or so is used up in the first day or two.

In addition, the body will begin to burn body fat.  If you are keto adapted, you will see a nice rise in your ketones toward the later half of the first day.  If you are not keto adapted, you will not have a significant level of blood ketones but will begin to urinate out ketones toward the end of the first day.

If you are keto adapted and have been practicing intermittent fasting then your body will begin to ramp up higher levels of autophagy and cellular cleansing in the last 4–8 hours of the day.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Day 1 Symptoms:

All of these symptoms are normal and not be concerned about.

Fatigue:  This is because the body is not well adapted to burning fat and ketones for fuel.  Because I practice a full 24 hour fast, 2 times each week myself, I actually feel quite energized on Day 1 of a longer fast.

Mental Lethargy:  We are so used to our brain having a steady sugar supply to fuel it and now that sugar supply is lower so we produce less brain energy.  In addition, food stimulates neurotransmitter production and so our levels are now reduced.  If you are keto adapted to begin with, you most likely won’t notice much mental lethargy on Day 1.

Hunger:  This is due to the hormone ghrelin, which is secreted by our stomach in response to the stomach being empty or as a conditioned response at times of the day when we are used to feeding.  Don’t worry, you are not starving or at risk of dying…you are simply responding to your body’s natural hormonal pattern.

Cravings:  Cravings are a brain-based response to an emotional desire.  When we eat, we stimulate a flood of feel good neurotransmitters in our brain such as dopamine and serotonin.  This is a great thing and it is very pleasurable to eat.  When we fast, if our brain is overly used too or reliant on this flood of emotions…it will send an increase in signals to fill this desire.

Mood Changes:  As the body is adapting to burning fat instead of sugar, the brain will experience periods of hypoglycemia and this can lead to brain fog, mental lethargy, depression and irritability.  You may also experience headaches.

Increased Urination:  When the body breaks down glycogen for fuel, it also releases more water into the urinary system.  Having to urinate more often is a normal and natural response.  You should also be drinking more water than normal, which will also increase the amount you pee!

Sleep Disturbances:  Some people sleep their best throughout the fast, while others have a harder time.  The more keto adapted you are to begin with the less hypoglycemia you will experience and you will typically notice better sleep.  Using some extra magnesium, L-theanine, melatonin and adaptogenic herbs such as ashwaghanda can be very helpful to improve your sleep if needed.  You can check out this article for more details on that.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing JourneyDay 2

As you move into Day 2, you will continue to experience all of the symptoms from Day 1 although your hunger levels are typically beginning to diminish.

For someone that is keto adapted and used to daily intermittent fasting, Day 2 is usually the toughest.  I have no problems at all doing the first 24 hour fast but as I get into day 2, I feel more fatigued.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Day 2 Symptoms

On Day 2, we will experience more of what we experienced on Day 1 and possibly an increase in the fatigue, brain fog and mood changes.  As I said above, Day 2 is typically the most challenging day.  Here are some additional unpleasantries you may experience:

Tongue Changes:  Your tongue may turn white, yellow or even black.  This is a part of the normal detoxification response of the body.

Rashes:  It is possible to have rashes although rare, these occur in about 10% or so of the population.  The rashes have to do with a resetting of the microbiome.  There is a communication between the gut microbiome and the skin microbiome.

Fasting starves down the biome and many toxic substances are released into circulation that trigger histamine and substance P in the skin that cause skin inflammation and rashes.  These will go away over time and are typically a sign of a healing response.

Feeling Cold:  When your body senses that you are in a time of famine, such as going multiple days without food, it will begin to downregulate active thyroid hormone.  This is done in order to help improve energy efficiency in the body.  One of the more common early symptoms here is having cold hands and feet and feeling colder in general.

Don’t worry however, as the process of fasting helps to reset hormone sensitivity and optimize hormone expression in the body.  This will lead to the body not needing as much thyroid hormone, insulin, etc. in order to function well.  This is a very positive adaptation.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Healing Activity on Day 2:

Here are some of the really cool things that ramp up on Day 2 of the fast.  You get these on Day 1 but in smaller amounts and each successive day up until Day 5, the levels continue to increase.

  1. Resets the Microbiome: Fasting helps to de-weed the gut flora and pulls out a lot of good and bad microbes (5).  This is a really good thing as the food abundance we have in our society favors the development of a lot of bad gut microbes.
  2. Cellular Autophagy: The body gets to work on intracellular cleansing, breaking down older, weaker cells and cellular components such as mitochondria and using the raw materials to rebuild new cells (6).
  3. Rise in Human Growth Hormone: Human growth hormone (HGH) goes up significantly in order to help preserve our muscle mass.  This also helps to improve immune function, bone tissue and fat burning.
  4. Stem Cell Rise: The body creates new white blood cells, repairs the intestinal membrane and increases new and youthful stem cells in joints and tissues that have suffered through damage and need repair (7).
  5. Resets the DNA: We all have certain “bad” genes turned on that amplify inflammation and lead us down a road to chronic degeneration.  Some of these genes promote things like obesity, allergies, autoimmune conditions, etc. Fasting turns these genes off like flicking a light switch off so they go dormant (1).  Depending upon how many of these genes you have turned on, you may need repeated fasts or yearly/biyearly fasts to turn them all off or keep them off.
  6. Hormone Optimization: There are many hormones in the body including thyroid hormone, insulin, estrogen, testosterone and more.  These hormones play a vital role in every function but they are dependent upon the sensitivity of the hormone receptors on the cells.  This is like having the right key to open the door and enter the cell.

Fasting helps the body get rid of defective hormone receptors and rebuild strong and healthy hormone receptors.  When this happens, we need less hormone circulating to have the desired effect.  This is the essence of hormone optimization…and ideal communication between the hormonal systems and the cells of the body.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Day 3:

On day 3 you will have a very large rise in ketones and many people feel better mentally as the brain loves using these ketones for energy.  If you were not keto adapted before the fast, it will probably take a bit longer for your brain to adapt and so you may not feel good.

If this is the case, you will probably experience more of the symptoms listed above.  I typically feel good by Day 3 but have some bouts of tiredness and brain fog throughout the day.  Definitely better than Day 3 but not as sharp as Day 4.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Healing Activity on Day 3:

You can further rise in autophagy, HGH and stem cells.  The body is kicking up the healing activity and you may notice areas of pain reducing.   On Day 3 and into Day 4 we experience the hormone optimization and will have great bouts of energy and mental clarity.

If you are still struggling on Day 3, hang in there as it should get better by Day 4.  One great thing to track to give you more clarity on how you are adapting to the fast is your blood ketones.

Urine ketones will typically be high on Day 1 and 2 but should drop on Day 3 as your body gets more efficiently adapted at using these for energy.  So, it is best to test with either breath or blood ketones.

Ketones in the blood will often rise up in the beginning and then drop back some as the body is using these as the main energy source by Day 3.  Breath ketones are a great measure as they are showing the breath acetone which is a reflection of the ketones your body is using for energy.  In this article here, I go over how to test your level of ketones.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Glucose to Ketone Ratio

The Glucose Ketone Index, or the GKI, is a ratio that researcher Dr. Thomas Seyfried has been using in his studies looking at tumors and how they respond to both fasting and the ketogenic diet (8).  A healthy nutritional ketosis marker for the GKI is between 1:1 and 4:1.   If you are in this zone, you are in nutritional ketosis and your body is either learning how to use ketones for energy or has adapted and is using them as a primary energy source.

However, when it comes to brain tumors and other cancers, Dr Seyfried and his colleagues have found a ratio close to 1:1 to be most effective.  The target zone for this is when the glucose numbers are in the 60’s and the ketones are roughly 3.0 mmol/L or more.  You can get to these levels through the water fast and typically by Day 4-5, most people will be hovering in this range.

The GKI is found by taking the blood glucose level and dividing it by 18.  You then take that number and divide it by the blood ketone level.  A blood sugar of 64 with ketone level of 3.1 would have a GKI of 1.15

GKI:  (64/18) / 3.1 = 1.15

According to Dr Seyfried, a GKI of 1:1 is the most effective level for shrinking tumors.  This is due to the rampant amount of autophagy that takes place and the lack of insulin and available glucose that tumor cells use to grow and divide.  If you are hitting close to a 1:1 GKI then the body is going to work on these destructive cells.

Your blood glucose will typically be at its highest in the morning due to higher cortisol levels but should drop as the day goes on.  Stress will cause it to go up higher so do your best to limit the amount of stress you are under.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Day 4:

As you head into Day 4 and 5, you should begin to see the GKI trending towards 1:1.   Autophagy is ramping up and you should have forced enough adaptation to where your brain is being fueled on ketones and feels alive and well.

On day 4, I feel so energized and mentally sharp that I am at my most productive level.  The majority of people experience great physical energy and mental clarity.  At this point, you should have no hunger or strong cravings but you may have just a slight emotional desire to eat.

There are a few things that can throw off your GKI and cause you to feel unwell at this point in the fast.  These include stress, constipation and high levels of toxicity in the body.  It can be helpful to use supplements and preparation steps if you are concerned about this.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Supplements to Support the Body

High stress can be balanced with Cortisol Defense and the unsweetened version of the Brain Calm Magnesium.  If for some reason, your body has had a lot of trouble producing ketones due to stress and metabolic damage then using the Keto Edge would be really key.

For constipation, I use the Oxy Powder to flush the system and cleanse the bowels.  You will need to drink a good amount of water and replenish minerals by taking a small pinch of salt two to three times a day.

For systemic toxins in the blood stream, I use the BioActive Carbon BioTox to bind and move these out of the body.  The oxidative stress that toxins can cause will be neutralized by molecular hydrogen or glutathione.  I like the Echo H2 tablets or Super Glutathione.  The combination of these supplements can help you get the most cleansing and comfortable experience on your fast.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

The Fasting Stress Support Pack

To try to simplify things, I have created 2 unique fasting support packs.  The Fasting Stress Support pack includes the Keto Edge, Cortisol Defense and Brain Calm Magnesium.  This is great for those who are new to fasting and individuals who struggle with high cortisol and hypoglycemia when they fast.

The recommendations for this are to take 1 scoop of the Keto Edge in water during the challenging phases of your fast when you begin to feel the symptoms coming on.  I also recommend doing 1 cap of the Cortisol Defense in the morning, at mid-day or early afternoon and 1-2 capsules before bed to help improve sleep quality.

The Brain Calm magnesium unsweetened powder can be used along with the Keto Edge and also taken before bed to improve sleep quality.  As an added bonus, the magnesium will also help with bowel motility.

We priced this pack out in order to provide over 25% savings off of the regular retail rate.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

The Fasting Detox Pack

The Fasting Detox Support pack is designed to help individuals who struggle with endotoxemia induced inflammation on their fast.  This includes Oxy-Powder, BioActive Carbon BioTox and Echo H2 Tablets.

This product pack is exceptional for helping improve bowel motility and colon cleansing while binding to endotoxic debris that is in circulation.  The molecular hydrogen protects the cells, mitochondria and DNA from oxidative stress and supports the process of autophagy for optimal cellular cleansing.

We priced this pack out in order to provide over 20% savings off of the regular retail rate.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

When Should You Stop the Fast?

At Day 4, your body should be thriving and it is typically quite easy to keep the fast going for the 5th and final day.  However, some individuals who have significant metabolic dysfunction or excessive stress may have some issues and need to stop early.  Here are warning signs to look out for

Strong Hunger:  You may have a slight desire to eat but should not experience real hunger.  If you do, you may want to listen to your body and break your fast.

Heart Palpitations:  If you are noticing heart palpitations that are scaring you or causing you not to sleep, it is best to break the fast.

Increased Hair Loss:  If you notice hair falling out in clumps then it is time to stop the fast.

Losing Consciousness and Passing Out:  If you lose consciousness and pass out and feel extremely dizzy then it is time to stop the fast.

Extreme Pain:  If you are in unbearable pain during the fast, then it is time to stop the fast.

Heavy Bouts of Diarrhea or Vomiting:  This could cause you to lose too many electrolytes, you will need to break the fast.

Too Much Weight Loss:  If you look and feel emaciated and weak, then go ahead and break the fast.

There is no shame in stopping the fast early.  Our body gets stronger and healthier with each successive fast.  If you have major health challenges, then you should be doing a water fast every 1–3 months and over time you will have less of these problematic symptoms and be able to do the full 5 days.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Day 5:

Day 5 is when your body gets the largest rise in HGH and Stem Cells.  You get tremendous amounts of autophagy and hormone optimization.  When you consume food at the end of Day 5, you feed the stem cells and replenish the bodies white blood cells.

You should feel fantastic today although you may see your blood ketones slightly drop as your body is getting better and better at using them for energy.

Fasting for longer than 5 days can have continued benefits but after 5 days you risk losing lean body mass.  For lean individuals like myself, I stay at 4–5 days.

If you are looking to lose more weight then extending the fast can be extremely beneficial as long as you are feeling okay.  In addition, if you have a chronic inflammatory condition and you are feeling better at Day 5 then you can consider continuing the fast.

People have successfully done 40+ day water fasts without any issues.  This doesn’t mean you have too but fasting like this can be safe and beneficial in certain circumstances.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

How Often Should I Do an Extended Fast?

I believe that for many people a 4-5 day water fast is all that is needed.  If you are significantly overweight or have debilitating inflammation, you may consider doing a longer fast such as 8-10 days or you can just do the 4-5 day fast more frequently.

For lean individuals with chronic inflammatory diseases, I will typically recommend a 3–5 day water fast every 8–12 weeks until the inflammatory condition improves.  Your body will get stronger and healthier through each fast.  Over the course of 6-8 months, you can see dramatic improvements by doing these periodic extended fasts.

For individuals with a lot of weight to lose, I will often recommend a 10-day water fast every other month or a 5-day water fast each month.  This is a great regimen to follow along with daily intermittent fasting or alternative day fasting to see significant weight loss and dramatic improvements in insulin sensitivity and inflammation levels.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

How to Break the Fast:

My general rule on breaking an extended water fast is to add up the amount of days you fasted and divide by 2.  Give yourself that many days before adding back harder to digest foods such as raw veggies, meat and eggs.

The first meal when you break your fast should be a protein shake with high quality ingredients, possibly bone broth or vegetable broth and a fermented drink like coconut water kefir.  Here is a helpful infographic to guide you.

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

The Fasting Transformation Book

I am super excited to introduce you to the book I have spent the past 18 months putting together.  It goes into the most recent scientific research and strategies for implementing intermittent and extended fasting into your life.

I could not be happier with the content in this book that you can review here.   It is by far the best book on fasting the world has ever seen and I have read them all!  It is now, my great honor to present this to you and I am deeply appreciative of your support!

water fast, 5 Day Water Fast:  What to Expect on the Healing Journey

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Longo VD, Mattson MP. Fasting: molecular mechanisms and clinical applications. Cell Metab. 2014; 19(2):181-92. PMCID: 3946160
2. Ho KY, Veldhuis JD, Johnson ML, et al. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. J Clin Invest. 1988; 81(4):968-75. PMCID: 329619
3. Cheng CW, Adams GB, Perin L, et al. Prolonged fasting reduces IGF-1/PKA to promote hematopoietic-stem-cell-based regeneration and reverse immunosuppression. Cell Stem Cell. 2014; 14(6):810-23. PMCID: 4102383
4. Mendelsohn AR and Larrik JW. Prolonged fasting/refeeding promotes hematopietic stem cell regeneration and rejuvenation. Rejuvenation Res. 2014 Aug; 17(4): 385-9. PMID: 25072352 
5. Haas JT, Staels B. Fasting the Microbiota to Improve Metabolism? Cell Metab. 2017; 26(4): 584-585. PMID: 28978420
6. Pietrocola F, Pol J, Kroemer G. Fasting improves anticancer immunosurveillance via autophagy induction in malignant cells. Cell Cycle. 2016; 15 (24):3327-3328. PMCID: 5224452
7. Mihaylova MM, et al. Fasting Activates Fatty Acid Oxidation to Enhance Intestinal Stem Cell Funciton during Homeostasis and Aging. 2018 May; 22(5): 769-778. PMID: 29727683
8. Meidenbauer JJ, Mukherjee P, Seyfried TN. The glucose ketone index calculator: a simple tool to monitor therapeutic efficacy for metabolic management of brain cancer. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2015; 12:12. Published 2015 Mar 11. PMCID: 4367849
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Dr. Jockers

Dr David Jockers is passionate about seeing people reach their health potential in mind, body and spirit. He is the host of the popular “Dr Jockers Functional Nutrition” podcast and the author of the best selling books, “The Keto Metabolic Breakthrough” and “The Fasting Transformation.

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Comments

  1. Dr. Jockers, thank you! This was such an awesome wealth of information and I’m really excited to do a five day water fast now, and attend your Fasting Summit!

    It’s great how you outlined what to expect each day, the positive and perhaps negatives and a guide on when to perhaps break the fast. I appreciate the honestly! It’s only got me more intent on doing it.

    In regards to the GKI, is there an formula by which breath testing can be used or is it solely with blood glucose. That was very interesting.

    Thank you for this great article and for taking the time to create the Fasting Summit.

      1. Ofcourse! Such an exciting time with all the fasting information , studies and new developments. If there’s a desire, it will be created! Thank you and though I’m traveling internationally right now, I so appreciate being able to attend your summit no matter the time zone I’m in each day! I’m loving it all!!!!!

    1. Hey thanks al the great info and the graphics are spot on. I posted them for my wife to follow. She’s 100% behind me so I love the fact I can keep her up to date where I am in a fast. Also I love your forward ness in sharing your faith. Be blessed

  2. Thank you Dr. Jockers, I’ve been following closely and would love to try incorporating fasting into my lifestyle but I always experience severe pain while fasting. Do you know why that is so?

      1. Dr. Jockers, Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate that you’re sharing your valuable time and information with us. I’ve long been a fan 🙂
        I don’t present with any ulcer symptoms and for the sake of clarify, (I’m sorry I didn’t mention that earlier) the severe pain is in my joints. I have joint pain in general, but fasting really takes it over the edge and it can take several days post-24hr-fast for things to return to their status quo. I’m looking forward to the Fasting Transformation series but can’t imagine how I can actually incorporate all those new ideas without flaring up badly.

  3. I just wanted to know if a fat fast has the same benefits as a water fast? Also, I just started the water fast. Should I be taking my normal daily supplements?

    1. A fat fast will not the same healing benefits as a water fast, but still very good for the body!! I would recommend avoiding any supplements that are supposed to be taken with food. Blessings!

  4. I’m curious about muscle pain specifically back/sacrum/hip pain. I started getting this the evening of day three of a water fast. I was getting plenty of water and taking a liquid electrolytes plus adding some sea salt to water each day.

    The pain felt burning and achy. When I googled it, I found that a lot of people seem to get this particular pain, and that there were many theories about what caused it but no definitive answers that I could find. It made it a little hard to sleep.

    The pain subsided in the day, but I found that my posterior chain muscles felt tight and bending forward was difficult (I’m an long-time yogi and yoga teacher, so this was unusual for me). The back/hip pain came back at bedtime that next night and this time it was stronger. I could not lie down at all and had to prop myself up in a sitting position with pillows. I really thought about the pain because it seemed familiar to me and then it hit me, it felt like the pain of fatigued muscles during labor while pregnant. It was the same burning ache in low back, across hips and then started extend down my thighs. Since it felt like labor muscle pain, I decided to take my regular Magnesium/Calcium supplement to see if that would help. It did. The muscle pain subsided within 15 minutes and I was able to sleep. The big pains did not return and I completed my fast after six days. However, the tightness in my posterior chain has lingered. It has gotten a bit better each day. I continue to perform gentle yoga post fast, and my forward bending capacity is returning, but I am still quite stiff three days post fast.

    So, after my long-winded story, my question is, what is going on with these muscles biologically during the fast? The low back/hip thing seems to be somewhat common.

    I loved the fast and felt so many deep emotional healing and energetic healing benefits from it, so I will do another fast at sometime, and I will take my regular magnesium supplement from the start to see if I can prevent any muscle pain at all. But, I’m still curious about your thoughts on this. I heard no one mention this in the entire Fasting Symposium.

    1. Hey Dawn, one thing that happens as we hit Day 3 is we ramp up autophagy and stem cells. The body will break down old injured tissue – such as muscle, connective tissue, joint tissue, etc in order to rebuild new cells. Sometimes this can result in pain and cramping. That is most likely what is going on here.

    2. What brand did you use on your supplements? I just finish my 3 and a half day water fast and my back is killing ,but only at night. I also starting having skin rash on my body too. Don’t know if that is because of detox from my water fasting.

  5. Hi Dr Jockers! Great information 🙂 Can one safely do an extended water fast with some level of adrenal dysfunction (early stages of adrenal fatigue)? Or would it be too taxing on the adrenals? Would you then recommend taking the mentioned adaptogens during the fast or rather not fast at all? Thanks so much!!

  6. Great article, thank you!
    I have gout I get a flare around 2 times a year. I have done 2 weeks of intermittent fasting and now I am on my day 4 of water fasting. Do I need to worry about gout and could a water fast for 5 days help with gout or even fix the problem on a repeated water fast?

    Thanks,

  7. Hi, thanks for the great article. I want to ask about psyllium husks ina five day fast (as a natural way to allow things to keep moving)

  8. Hi Dr. Jockers,

    As I get ready to do your 3-5 day water fast tomorrow, I wanted to ask if a 3-5 day fast every month would be good or too much. I did my first 42 hour (yeahhh) fast during your Fasting Summit and with adrenal issues, that was as long as I felt comfortable going for my first water fast. I am very lean (86 pounds and 4foot 11) yet have systemic inflammation, many food allergies and insulin sensitivity issues. I did read your recommendation of every 8-10 weeks to do the 3-5 day water fast for lean people yet anxious to heal and just wanted your opinion if every four weeks would be too aggressive or not, based on if I feel really well after this week’s 3-5 day fast? Thank you again so much for this super informative article. I so appreciate your time!

    A huge Dr. Jockers fan,

    Amanda

  9. Thanks very much Dr. Jockers! I’ve actually never been on Facebook though will for your great knowledge and that community. I appreciate you writing back and have a great weekend!

  10. Hi Doctor Jockers,

    Amazing article, so informative. I did the 5 day water fast and then struggled with constipation for almost 10 days. I was advised by a herberalist to take antiviral meds specifically Isentress and Truvada to get rid of all the toxins inside my body that were trapped as a result of the constipation, but this seemed a bit unusual to me. Would you recommend doing this…?

  11. Hi Doctors Jockers

    Iam really suffering with my life. I have hemorrhoids for the past 3 years, I have had several procedures and 1 of them back in September went wrong and made things worse. It is the worst pain I have ever experienced and I don’t know how to cope. I feel like I can’t go on Iam in constant pain. I also have problems with my eyesight I have floaters, Visual snow/ (static vision) I have had loads of tests and everything is coming back clear it’s so hard not knowing what’s going on.
    My question is could an extended water fast heal hemorrhoids and floaters and if so how long would you recommend??

    I am 33 Male height 5.6 weight 9 stone

    I would appreciate any information thank you

    1. Hey Kevin, I am very sorry to hear this! Have you read my article on healing hemorrhoids with easy remedies? This article will help: https://drjockers.com/8-home-remedies-hemorrhoids/. I would also recommend that you work with a functional health practitioner that will get to the root cause of your issues and create a customize plan to aid you in your healing journey: https://drjockers.com/functional-nutrition-tips-to-find-a-great-health-coach/. I will be praying for you. If you decide to practice fasting, you will find a supportive community on my private facebook group page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/807737992920006/

  12. Thank you Dr Jockers for great info.
    I would really appreciate your help.
    I suffer terribly from constipation , it’s a complete mystery because I do all the right things.
    I eat loads of the best veggies ( broccoli , onion , spinach ) . I eat some fruit – apples and bananas didn’t help.
    Chia seeds don’t really help
    , I drink at least 3 liters of water every day.
    I don’t eat junk food or anything processed:
    I exercise: I take probiotics.
    I use the acupuncture pressure points .

    I eat a high fat low carb diet – since doing this I have been really struggling. I often do intermittent fasting – that seems to make it worse.
    But my diet is good , i eat all the recommended stuff ,
    And …… still nothing.
    I think I have very very low gut motility :
    I have to take a laxative so I take aloe fiber tablets and a little bit of aloe crystals but I still battle.
    What to do ?
    Perhaps your oxy- powder.?
    If so – how would I get it ?
    I live in South Africa and the postal system is shocking- it would never get to me.
    Is via courier an option ?

    I would be so grateful for your help.

    Kindest regards and thanks ,

    Kathy Perry

  13. What a beautiful coincidence you repost this Dr. Jockers as I plan to do a water fast tomorrow. I attempted your five day water fast 7 days ago and though went the longest I ever have, it was only 64 hours. Since it wasn’t even three days, would it be safe to try again so soon? I loved the experience and oddly, I miss it and all the fascinating things I experienced during it ( both uncomfortable and euphoric) knowing it was all healing me.

    Thank you so much for this super informative post, I read it often and it’s strengthening and very supportive for doing the fast.

    A huge fan,

    Amanda

  14. Hello Dr. Jockers, very interesting article. Quick question: during a 5 day water fast is it still ok to lift weights and do cardio every other day without eating to “feed” your muscles?

    1. Hey AW, I don’t recommend training too hard while fasting. It can put too much stress on your body resulting in adrenal fatigue. I suggest using weights and high-intensity workouts on non-fasting days so that your body can focus on repair while fasting. This article offers additional insight about fasting strategies.

  15. I love your informative article. You need a better proofreader and I will volunteer. The grammar mistakes are quite frequent and very distracting from your articulate attempt at explaining the process. Thank you for your efforts.

  16. Excellent article, Dr. Jockers. I am contemplating a longer fast, and am waiting for the right conditions.
    Dear Dr. Jockers,

    You article is clear, well illustrated, and I love the summary of key points you provide for each section. An observation: you used “than” three times where you should have used “then”, “too” when “to was needed, and “bodies” when the singular possessive form “body’s” (i.e. ‘of the body’) was required. The are probably subconscious errors: I’m sure, with your extremely high level of education, you know your grammar points very well.

    Keep up you excellent work.

    Saulius Jaskus,
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  17. Hi Dr. Jockers,

    I have done 3 extended fasts during the past year, but reading your article got me started again! I am spot on with every one of your daily expectations to a T. Day 2 has always been the hardest. I am day 6 today, and going great. However I am a little confused by the 1:1 ratio. I measure every day- glucose is in the low 60s, but blood ketones have been .6 since day 3. Is this lower than 1:1? Is it okay, or better, or too much? Thanks for your great article!

    1. Hey Linda, It may just be that your body is highly keto adapted and is using the ketones. Most people will get higher ketones on a longer fast, but for some it may stay low. As long as you feel good with a blood sugar that low, you know you are keto adapted.

  18. Hi Dr. Jockers,
    I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for about 6 months. I lost 13 lbs in 2 months but now I’m stuck at this weight, so considering doing the 5 day water fast. My question is, since I’m T2 diabetic and taking metformin as well as Losartan for HBP, is it safe to continue my meds, or should I stop while fasting? My blood glucose had come down significantly but seems to be creeping up again, especially my morning tests. My BP is well controlled but my Dr. Says I should still take my pill. My goal is to get off meds altogether. Any advice?

    1. Hey Jane, as long as you are closely monitoring your HBP and glucose you can take your meds while fasting. In general, both your glucose and HBP should drop while fasting so you should need less and in some cases none of the medication. But you need to have a conversation with your prescribing physician about the proper dosage as these go down.

  19. Hello, Dr. Jockers –

    Thank you for this site and the knowledge you share.

    I have been struggling with hemorrhoids, internally and externally, for years.

    They seem to worsen with stress, emotional and physical, and when I eat red meat…which I rarely do and which I have now completely stopped doing. Actually, I have always tried to stay away from ANY kind of meat, chicken or fowl.

    I also stay away from fish and dairy.

    But every few months or so, I do have some meat or fish, and the results are not good.

    Constipation usually transpires.

    In retrospect, my digestive issues began when I took some antibiotics a few years back…and that’s when the constipation began. I’ve heard that antibiotics destroy both the good and bad flora in the stomach, and I think that’s what’s happened.

    And I’ve worked to repair that flora for years…(with coleslaw, saur crout, etc.). But in the process of my damaged flora, constipation and subsequently the hemorrhoids were the result.

    Into this mix, I try to not eat ANY processed food. But I love sweets. So, it’s quite the challenge.

    Either way, it’s quite a challenge for me when it comes to food.

    Monitoring my eating, in general, has become a chore.

    With all that said, I juice often with a juicer and love carrot juice in particular.

    My question is, if I go on any kind of water fast, extended or otherwise, will my internal hemorrhoids heal, dissipate, and disappear altogether?

    Also: I’m 59 years old, and I have not had a colonoscopy and I do not want to have one.

    Number 1: If there IS an a serious issue, I will never choose any traditional medicine procedures because I believe they are poison.

    Number 2: And won’t the colonoscopy procedure aggravate my hemorrhoids?

    Please help…I feel like I am constantly between a rock and a hard place in a daily battle.

  20. Thank you for all this amazing fasting information. My husband and I both fast and are doing our first extended water-only fast now. I’m curious about how this is for women overall with the varying cycles throughout the month. I’ve also heard some people say that it can throw off women’s hormones and others say that it optimizes them. Are there any precautions as far as the menstrual phases or women’s hormones are concerned?

    I remember hearing somewhere not to fast during your premenstrual and menstrual phases and have been trying to do my fasts during the follicular and ovulatory phases but think I am entering my luteal phase now.

      1. I read the other article and am trying to work out the days. Fasting day 1-10 and 17-21. Does this mean no fasting during the ovulatory and luteal phases (as this is when hormones are highest), but it’s ok during menses and the pre-ovulatory phases (because hormones are lower)? If they are lower are they less likely to be thrown out of balance?

        Thank you, Dr. Jockers!

        1. Hey Leah – you can fast during both the follicular and the luteal phases. Day 1-10 in the follicular phase is a good time and Day 17-22 in the luteal phase is a good time.

  21. Hi, Dr. Jockers.
    Can I use essential oils during fasting?
    And in general, can I use topical essential oils everyday for different problems twice or more each?
    Also,can I use an enema when fasting and how often?
    Many authors recommended and I personally used some.
    Probably to keep some fecal impactions in the bowel is not so healthy and could be toxic if it stays there for many days.
    Thanks.
    YPK

  22. Hi, Dr. Jockers.
    And more. You mentioned that after 5 days you can start loosing your lean muscles.
    What about cartilages?
    Thanks
    YPK

  23. Thanks Dr jockers.. Been looking for this information for a very long time.. I managed to go through 4 days 2 weeks ago ” I managed to arrest my acute gastritis for a few day’s ” went back to normal feeding’then currently doing Omad’ie 1 meal a day! However ‘the gastritis is back in full swing’ the weight too is back by 6kgs in 2 weeks 🙆‍♀️🙆‍♀️am sooo frustrated.. Can I go back to the long fasts Doc🤔🤔

  24. Hello Dr. Jockers,

    Very exhaustive article indeed, you added a great deal of informative materials since I last visited your website. I wish you had, or able to direct me , to more references to credible materials on molecular mechanisms .

    I have the following questions, if I may:

    1. Are any of your materials sold on Amazon? Even though I do not approve of Amazon’s business practices, but do use it at times for expediency.
    2. On days 3 and 4 I do experience flu-like symptoms; for instance a feeling of fever, but no measured temperature! Any input?
    3. Any insights on whether fasting positively influences lumbar stenosis?

    Finally, and last comment, any need for additional dental care during a five-day fast? Thank you so much and keep up the positive work!

    Michael

    1. Hey Michael – yes we have our book – The Fasting Transformation on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3b1vbWk

      Day 3 & 4 – you may need more salts. When we are salt deficient it is common to have flu-like symptoms. Additionally, you may need a good binder like activated charcoal to help bind to endotoxins. Check out the article here https://drjockers.com/fasting-supplements/

      I haven’t seen anything to indicate fasting influencing lumbar stenosis but since it is anti-inflammatory it should benefit it. No need for additional dental care during a 5 day fast.

  25. I’m wondering if you can comment on water fasting and mild neutropenia associated with lupus – I read that water fasting is good for turning over white cells but can’t understand the mechanism to see whether it would be harmful or beneficial in regards to an autoimmune white cell deficit. Thank you!

    (Not asking for medical advise, just wanting to understand theoretically)

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