Intermittent and Multi-Day Fasting

Fasting is not a completely new idea. It has been practiced for thousands of years by various religious groups and cultures for health and spiritual enlightenment. Though fasting has been largely a religious practice historically, it has also been described as a method for helping the body heal. Consider that during the last two decades fasting has been extensively studied and found to be beneficial for reversing metabolic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, two of our leading causes of early mortality. Benefits from fasting have been rigorously studied and applied, while dietary trends over many years have produced enormous lists of do’s and don’ts, most of which are based on very little science. 

During this same time the Natural Medicine community has raised the alarm about environmental toxins found abundantly within processed food and its effects on children and adults. Toxin exposure in young children can disrupt social learning, shorten attention span, create learning disorders, and affect mood and behavior. Toxin exposure in adults increases fatigue, mood disorders, cognitve decline, cancer, and uautoimmune diseases. Fasting helps address the negative effects of toxins from our food arising from the immediate environment, food processing, and the addition of disease causing additives. Because fasting is additive it does not replace an individual’s typical diet, and respects all dietary plans and trends while providing benefits in numerous conditions and situations by reducing the toxic exposure and load. Fasting is proving to be an effective lifestyle with a lifetime of potential benefit in improved energy, weight loss, disease reversal and prevention, and an increased lifespan and healthspan. Excitingly, new methods of fasting and nutritional support are creating opportunities for everyone to successfully implement a regular pattern of fasting.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

The application and benefits of fasting have been studied in many various forms. One very common term in use today is known as Intermittent Fasting. Intermittent fasting is a purposeful avoidance of food for a duration of time also known as Time Restricted Fasting. It is not a diet with descriptions of diet do’s or don’ts as already stated. And intermittent fasting is not designed to meet a specific diagnosed disease or symptom. This means of course that even individuals who follow very specific diets such as Anti-inflammatory, Keto, Paleo, Vegan, IgG food intolerance, Candida, FODMAP, SIBO(you get the picture), can stay on their unique diet plans as desired. Gratefully, intermittent fasting respects native diets of people throughout the world without forcing dietary changes based on marketing trends or dominant local culture. There are no new required foods to eat, just less of the same traditional foods.

When regularly practiced, intermittent or multi-day fasting provides a foundation for a new “eating” lifestyle with significant potential for improving immediate health, reduced post meal fatigue, reduced food cravings, and extended health span. Remember fasting is so flexible in how and when we do it, that it can be accomplished by most individuals and health conditions, even with our busy lives, with minimal coaching.

What are the Benefits of Fasting?

Fasting restores the natural human metabolism

The benefits of fasting are numerous and broad in their effects. One of the most discussed topics in health today is metabolism. Metabolism denotes the calories we burn as a result of naturally occurring hormone production combined with the calories “burned” as a consequence of total body mass and energy expended during the day from activity. Modern living has made more of us more sedentary and constant “snackers”. We have even been told that frequent meals are a healthy way to live. This regular consumption of food along with inactivity has created an unnatural metabolism prone to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, the three leading “killers” today. Fasting is the most direct method to restore our natural human metabolism. Our natural or historical metabolism required an abundance of physical activity and frequent exertion even in the absence of food for a duration of time beyond four hours(the typical time between meals). Our bodies were never meant to be constantly fed. These modern trends and unsubstantiated “rules” are literally killing us slowly.

Fasting reverses insulin resistance, diabetes, and more

One of the most common and leading diseases of premature aging and death is Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is a disease of chronically elevated insulin, the leading cause of which is frequent(every 4-6 hours) consumption of food, particularly grains. Grains and refined sugar increases insulin, cells eventually ignore elevated insulin, but insulin rises to combat elevating blood sugars. Grains have been touted for too long as a healthy choice. But we have known for decades that processed and refined grains were the leading cause of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Fat was never the true villain. The good news is that we can change this pattern. Fasting is the fastest way to reduce chronically elevated insulin levels and reverse diabetes. The longer we go without spiking insulin, the more sensitive to insulin the cells become. This results in lower blood sugars, which as they fall, the more fat our body will burn for energy, resulting in weight loss and reversal of insulin resistance.

What if I have Diabetes or Insulin Resistance?

If fasting insulin, blood sugar, or HgA1c are elevated in labs then consumption of <50gm daily from complex carbohydrates such as grains is recommended to reverse diabetes. The following guidelines will add additional support for insulin resistant or diabetic individuals. These are good rules for everyone to follow either way to reverse or prevent diabetes.

The 5 feeding rules for ideal energy, weight loss or maintenance, and reversing Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Eliminate consumption of food and drink with added sugars. Avoid all added sugars from soda, candy, and pastries. Use Keto approved snacks, treats, recipes, with Keto approved sweeteners. Consume natural sugars from fruits as a dessert with cream. Use Monk fruit, Erythritol, and Stevia sparingly as a substitute sweetener for drinks, cooking, and occasional deserts.
  2. Eliminate or at least significantly reduce consumption of refined grains by consuming them only once daily with a meal. This is easy to do with intermittent fasting as no carbohydrates will be consumed at breakfast for example. Avoid complex carbs at one of the next 2 meals and minimize the grains at the other meal to <50 grams in total. If intermittent fasting for breakfast, plan lunch to keep natural fats and protein intake high to prolong ketosis. Again if grains are consumed, target <50gm total daily, preferably at the largest meal of the day, and towards the end of the “eating” cycle as to keeping fat burning at its maximum length of time.
  3. Keep protein intake to a moderate level. For most individuals a single serving from animal sources once daily could be sufficient. 
  4. Increase consumption of natural fats from avocados, olives, butter, flaxseed oil, ghee, coconut oil, and MCT oil.
  5. Mix up fasting routines by rotating from 16:8 to 20:4 to 5:2 for example. When weight loss plateaus consider a change in the style of fasting and adding exercise.

Fasting is the fastest path to Ketosis

Ketosis describes the body’s state or primary source for energy in the absence of foods that raise blood sugar levels. During ketosis the body is using fat as a primary source of energy, which results in low insulin in circulation. Ketosis is how the body has been able to continue to have energy and function in the absence of readily available food for thousands of years. The production of ketones from triglycerides provides many advantages including energy for the brain and body, dampened appetite, muscle growth, and weight loss from fat burning. In a culture of constant feeding we are not often or ever in ketosis, though ketosis is the best state to be in for burning our own fat, losing weight, and staying healthy. Fasting is the fastest way to enter ketosis and increases dramatically when fasting beyond 16 hours. Hint: blood ketone monitors can be helpful in tracking ketosis during fasting states.

Fasting and the Keto Diet

Fasting is the most efficient method of getting into Ketosis and can be a productive part of a Keto diet plan. When fasting in any form is applied at the same time as the Keto diet, ketone production and utilization is maximized. While on a Keto diet you want to keep protein intake low (<15%), fat intake high(>80%), and carbohydrate intake low(<5%) to minimize insulin release. Avoid the marketing hype to consume frequent keto meals or keto snacks in order to minimize insulin release and maximize fat burning from your personal fat stores. Dosing with electrolyes and possibly exogenous ketones may help beginning fasters to avoid the “hangry’s”. By dosing electrolytes such as Sustain Electrolytes or exogenous ketone supplements in the early stages of intermittent fasting in place of a typical meal, helps shift the body toward metabolic flexibility.  

Fasting improves metabolic flexibility

When the body is in ketosis we are burning our own fat stores for use in all cells of the body, including the brain. When we are eating every 4-6 hours we are feeding our cells energy from the sugars we have consumed. When we fast in any pattern we are helping the body become more efficient at switching between fat burning and glucose burning. Fat burning is a very efficient state to be in and when we can switch between these two states easily we have what is called metabolic flexibility. Fasting is an excellent method for improving metabolic flexibility. Exercise of course also can improve metabolic flexibility, especially when we exercise during fasting states. 

Fasting is the leading intervention to reduce risk of most metabolic and age related diseases

Because fasting improves metabolic flexibility and is the most effective method for reducing insulin resistance, there are also very positive reductions in other metabolic and age related diseases. Through the reduction of insulin and reversal of insulin resistance, fasting reduces cardiovascular disease, dementia and alzhiemers, infertility, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, kidney disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, fatigue, and obesity. The  leading intervention to reduce risk of all metabolic and age related diseases is again fasting. Additionally fasting is known to reduce inflammation. If we had any such medication or supplement that was able to do all that by ingesting one capsule it would be labeled a “miracle” pill. No such medication or supplement exists or can replace the benefits of regular fasting. 

Fasting is the most effective method for weight loss without dietary guidelines

Weight loss has been one of the greatest challenges of mankind. Fasting stands as a new champion in weight loss working often for even the most stubborn of cases. Fasting could be perhaps the most reliable method for weight loss. Fasting combined with other metabolism enhancing guidelines results in progressive weight loss without the worry of calorie counting or macro food avoidance. With no dietary guidelines to follow, fasting becomes one of the easiest programs to follow. Different forms of fasting should be applied over time to maximize weight loss so the body avoids a metabolic plateau. Alternating 16:8, 20:4, all day, or multi day fasting will prevent most plateaus.

Fasting can reduce exposure to toxic food additives

The alarming rise in autoimmunity, allergies, food intolerances, EMF sensitivities, and mast cell disorders among many adults, and now our children, is a cause for great concern. There is no known explanation for this immune plague, but many posit it is due to the ever increasing toxic exposure in our environment and manufactured foods. Many patients report feeling less ill and improved energy by avoiding food generally and with regular fasting. Intermittent fasting as an example allows sensitive and ill individuals an opportunity to heal healthily and reduce toxic exposures and additives so often found in food including GMO sugars from beet, corn, and potatoes. Fasting serves the interest of all Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) or mold sensitive patients as well as autoimmune and immune compromised individuals. Fasting also fits well with detox therapies such as Sauna Therapy, Detox Footbath, and HBOT Therapy.

Fasting is the leading therapy for extending life and healthspan(healthy aging)

Research now confirms that old or decaying cells in the body can persist leading to inflammation, damaged tissues, and premature disease and aging. These persistent cells have been labeled “zombie” cells. Our body has a method of removing “zombie” cells known as autophagy. Autophagy is a process in which the body breaks down old and dysfunctional cells and recycles the usable proteins or parts to make newer efficient cells. This is anti-aging or age reversal at the cellular level. Without autophagy, inflammation and free radicals will speed the process of disease onset and premature aging and death. Autophagy is suppressed in a state of constant eating wherein the body’s energy needs are regularly supplied by the foods we consume. Fasting is the most effective method to stimulate autophagy and it’s free. Studies on fasting and aging suggest those who fast even 24 hours once a month will live 8-10 years longer.

Fasting increases muscle mass

One of the historic myths of fasting is the loss of muscle mass and physique as a result of prolonged fasting. Fasting has been established to increase growth hormone which provides energy, burns fat stores, and promotes muscle growth. The added support of sufficient sleep, adequate protein intake, and resistance training provides the best combination with intermittent fasting in maintaining and gaining muscle mass.

Fasting improves energy and mood

It is surprising that fasting improves energy and lessens hunger cravings. The supposed suffering from fasting is an unvalidated myth. It is not surprising that fasting also increases the joy of food. It seems the constant feedings have stealthily removed the purpose and pleasure out of eating. Again, no suffering and more joy. What diet was able to provide it both ways at the same time? Answer: None. What then are we waiting for?

What baselines labs and assessment should I do before I start fasting?

Many of the benefits of fasting, such as weight loss, energy, and improved mood, are easily validated through personal experience without the need of feedback from assessments or labs. But many of the observed benefits associated with reduced risk and reversal of disease conditions, require observing improvement in various labs over a period of 4-12 weeks. A baseline assessment before beginning fasting determines where we are starting and helps define where we intend to be after 12 weeks. I recommend the following fasting labs and assessments before beginning a fasting program: 

CBC– A complete blood count observes healthy red and white blood cell counts

CMP– A comprehensive metabolic panel describes our fasting glucose, kidney function, liver function, and electrolytes. Elevated liver enzymes may be an indicator of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Elevated glucose is a warning of diabetes and insulin resistance. 

HgA1c– This blood marker represents the average blood sugar over a 3 month period. This marker elevates late in the disease process of diabetes and is thus a marker for a prolonged history of insulin resistance. Intermittent fasting over a 3 month period is likely to positively improve this lab.

Lipids– A lipid panel provides evidence that triglycerides and LDL cholesterol(bad guys), both of which are found to increase diabetes, stroke, and heart disease risk, can reduce in time with intermittent fasting.

CRPhs– C-reactive protein high sensitivity measures non-specific inflammation that is present in the body. Any weight loss as a result of fasting will reduce inflammation generally and can be tracked over the following weeks and months.

Insulin– Insulin should be very low on a fasting blood test. An elevated insulin level on blood tests is a sure sign of insulin resistance, which appears many years before diabetes is ever diagnosed. This is the most important lab to run as chronic elevation leads to increased risk and progress of many serious diseases. Fasting can greatly improve insulin in a short few weeks.

Blood Pressure– Blood pressure can be tracked by your physician as well as on your own with an automated cuff. Elevated blood pressure is a cardiovascular risk which is known to fall within healthier ranges with long term fasting.

Weight– Weight loss is often a welcomed and even desired side effect of fasting. 

These laboratory assessments represent the minimum required baseline labs. Your physician may recommend other labs to evaluate hormone levels, nutrient levels, inflammation, and appropriate labs of suspected diseases based on your symptoms and concerns. Labs can be completed every 4 weeks to evaluate progress for the first 3 months. If significant progress has been made and fasting is now a part of your regular lifestyle, labs may be completed every 3-12 months afterward to monitor continued response and progress.

How is fasting accomplished?

There are many options for fasting all of which may be experienced until finding the one or combination that works for you. Our resource for helping everyone find success with fasting utilizes the knowledge base and nutritional products from Fastwell. Fastwell is a fasting support company which provides individualized programs and supplements which lead to a consistent fasting practice, with achievable goals leading to individual mastery. The application of regular fasting is attainable for nearly every individual with any range of health concerns, fears, or personal health challenges. Fastwell offers the most comprehensive fasting support program tailored to each individual seeking to master fasting. 

Fastwell  divides fasting into 3 progressive programs with variations within each which allows for each individual to adopt some form of fasting sufficient to notice encouraging benefits. We would generally recommend starting as a Novice Faster and progressing to Pro Faster and then Master Faster as your confidence and abilities improve. Considering individual needs, challenges, and diagnoses, some may find fasting not to be a challenge, and thus will reach or attempt Pro Fasting or Multi-day fasting status quickly. Others will need to build ability and confidence and as such they can find great success still as a Novice Faster focused on intermittent fasting. Review the following guides to determine the best fasting option for you.

NOVICE FASTER
Intermittent Fasting <24 hours (16:8, 20:4, OMAD)

  • Our first goal is to become a Novice Faster by intermittent fasting 16-23 hours daily leaving an 8-1 hour window for feeding. 
  • It does not matter which time of the day, but most individuals find it easiest to start by skipping breakfast. 
  • Intermittent fasting would include no food from 8pm until 12pm the following day, leaving time for lunch and dinner.
  • Work up from 2 days during the week to daily intermittent fasting and hold this pattern for 6 weeks before adding or moving forward to other fasting options.

Novice Fasting TIPS

Success Tip #1. Giving careful consideration to your current feeding practices and health, it would be recommended to slowly increase the fasting window toward Novice Faster from 12-16 hours over a few weeks. For example, if you already consistently finish dinner by 7PM, then try waiting 12-14 hours before eating your next full meal. That would be 7-9AM, and is considered a simple fast. Fasting for health is achievable for nearly everyone. Add an hour each week to your fasting ranges until reaching the novice intermittent fast of 16:8, 1-2 days weekly, sometimes called a crescendo fast. By the time you reach this goal, you will have a new feeling of confidence and improved health sufficient to consider advancing to other stages of fasting. 

Success Tip #2. Before doing 16:8 intermittent fasting on a daily basis, we recommend working up to 2 non-consecutive days weekly. After mastering 2 days weekly, you can add additional days or intermittent fast every other day(aka cycle fasting), and work up to 5 to 7 days weekly(aka strong fasting). Another option is to set 2 non-consecutive days in a week to practice the 16:8 fast. Again it may be helpful to have worked up to 12-14 hours daily of fasting during the previous weeks.

Success Tip #3. Reduce cravings and improve energy by dosing with Sustain Premium Electrolytes. Dosing of the electrolytes on rising in the morning provides an amazing support for extended fasting by reducing cravings and providing feelings of energy and balanced mood.

Success Tip #4. The microbiome, which consists of the good, bad, and overabundant bacteria, yeast forms and candida, and even parasites, benefits from herbal and prescription antifungals and antiparasitics. The “bugs” are often the source of cravings generally. Food cravings decrease significantly with targeted cleansing of the intestinal tract. Fasting starves the “bugs” leading to side effects from die-off or herxing reactions. Seek advice from a Naturopathic of Functional Medicine physician on how best to cleanse the intestinal tract of these overabundant “bugs”. Many individuals find fasting much easier after working through some cleanses at the same time as starting fasting programs. 

Success Tip #5. Take advantage of the Boost Pre-Workout Drink to support early morning exercise programs. Avoid the crash that often comes with fasting with this powerful pre workout energy booster, that also aids muscle endurance and provides essential amino acids for recovery and growth.

Success Tip #6. Follow a Ketogenic or low carb diet consuming either no grains or less than 25-50 grams daily between all feedings. This greatly assists in weight loss and insulin resistance, besides reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Success Tip #7. Support the detox pathways. The intestinal tract as previously described contains a variety of microbes, many of which produce toxins and inflammatory cytokines. Fasting can slow the motility of the intestinal tract leading to toxic effects associated with constipation. It is best to bind toxins with binders which can also support regular bowel movements. Ask your physician about their preferred binder for detoxification. Drink plenty of water and add Infrared Sauna therapy for added detox benefits and energy.

PRO-FASTER
Fasting 24-36 hours

  • The Pro-Faster provides three options or paths.  The first one is a 24-hour fast once weekly, with advancing options to a 5:2 where you complete two 24-hour fasts on non-consecutive days each week or even a 4:3 pattern, also known as Alternate Day Fasting (ADF). 
  • Pro-Faster is designed to be added to a standard intermittent fast and should be done until reaching the desired goals. 
  • Pro-Faster could be completed anywhere from 12-52 days out of the year. Examples include fasting one 24 hour period once monthly, for a total of 12 days yearly. It may include fasting one 24 hour period weekly for a total of 52 days out of the year. 
  • Frequent and extended fasting will likely lead to weight loss. A good rule for a Pro-Faster is to fast more if you are in need to overcome health challenges or are trying to reach a goal weight requiring loss greater than 10 pounds. 
  • Fast more frequently until reaching your goals, than fast 24 hours once weekly or monthly to create a regular and healthy pattern. 
  • Fasting greater than 24 hours leads to greater age reversing benefits including autophagy, decreased metabolic diseases, decreased cancer rates, and greater energy. An example of timing for a 24 hour fast starts after eating dinner at 6PM and fasting until 6PM the following day. 
  • A 24 hour fast can be very easily extended in this scenario to a 36 hours fast by starting at 6PM and fasting until 6PM the following day, but instead of breaking the fast at dinner, simply wait until the next morning at 6AM and you have now completed a 36 hour fast. Remember, the longer the fast past 16 hours the longer we are in a state of autophagy that is reversing aging and reducing hidden chronic inflammation.
  • This advancing format of fasting may seem easy for some to achieve and for others simply overwhelming. Remember fasting has benefits at multiple levels. If this feels to be too much just continue with your mastery of the Intermittent Fasting(16:8) program and remind yourself how awesome you feel to be taking control of your health. Keep in mind your individual needs, challenges, and also diagnoses, as this can be a challenging climb upward. Consider seeking emotional support through a trusted physician, coach, friend, or preferably an experienced fellow faster.

PRO Fasting TIPS

Success Tip #1. Reduce cravings and improve energy by keeping hydrated with clean filtered water and dosing with Sustain Premium Electrolytes.

Success Tip #2. Having mastered 20:4 intermittent fasting, a 24 hour fast is very achievable. Don’t do a 24 hour fast around important dates, holidays, or when traveling etc; Find a family member or friend who can fast with you and even better who will enjoy breaking the fast with you. Again it may be helpful to have worked up to 20 hours of regular intermittent fasting during the previous weeks or months.

Success Tip #3. Take advantage of the Boost Pre-Workout Drink to support early morning exercise programs. Avoid the crash that often comes with fasting with this powerful pre workout energy booster. It is recommended to keep exercise to a minimum. This is not the time to create new personal records or go for a long run. Walking, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, stretching, would all be appropriate forms of exercise that should be easy to sustain in a fasting state.

Success Tip #4. It may be tempting to participate in extreme detox programs while fasting. Consider adding detox foot baths, infrared sauna, glutathione injections and intravenous therapy in the first few days or week following a fast for best benefits and tolerability.

MASTER FASTER
Extended Day Fasting for 3-5 days per month, quarterly, or annually

Congratulations on achieving a new habit of fasting. Because you are considering becoming a Master Faster, you would have developed confidence from past successes with intermittent and 24-36 hour fasting programs. You would also recognize improvements in health, energy, and past metabolic diseases. Extended day fasting would be helpful for those with persisting health challenges such as chronic illness, weight gain, or simply for the challenge of it. Please work with a physician to be sure that your health is adequate to complete up to 5 days of fasting. Please consider that current medications and supplements may not absorb as well in the absence of food or may have stronger effects than intended. Please notify your physician and your plans to do an extended day fast. Another option to consider is to follow a restricted calorie fast by consuming 25% each day of your normal total calories. Reduce cravings and improve energy by keeping hydrated with clean filtered water while dosing with Sustain Premium Electrolytes.

5 RULES TO OPTIMIZE FASTING 

To reach your ideal weight, maximize energy, or to reverse diabetes we also recommend focusing on these 5 rules besides intermittent fasting as often as possible. These are good rules for everyone to follow either way.

Rule #1. Intermittent fasting creates a strong foundation for improving healthspan. To enhance response try to eliminate, or at least significantly reduce, consumption of food and drinks with added sugars. As a substitute, consume natural sugars from fruits, as a dessert with added cream. Consider the use of Monk fruit, Erythritol, and Stevia sparingly as substitute sweeteners for drinks, cooking, and occasional desserts. Consume 1 cup of green tea in the morning with 1 tsp of MCT oil added for promotion of energy.

Rule #2. Eliminate or at least significantly reduce consumption of refined grains. If grains are consumed, target <50gm daily preferably at the largest meal of the day. If intermittent fasting for breakfast, plan lunch to avoid grains and keep natural fats high to prolong ketosis.

Rule #3. To enhance ketosis and energy, increase consumption and eat plenty of natural fats from avocados, olives, butter, flaxseed oil, ghee, coconut oil, and MCT oil. Search for recipes from the many diets which support the addition of healthy fat like the Mediterranean, Keto, and MIND diet.

Rule #4.  Keep protein intake to a combined level of 25-50gm daily from all animal and vegan sources. For most individuals a single serving (>25gm) from animal sources once daily should be sufficient for muscle hypertrophy with anaerobic activity. 

Rule #5. Keep the metabolism active by exercising regularly (60 minutes daily) and mixing up intermittent fasting from 16:8 to 20:4(Novice Faster) or 5:2(Pro Faster) for example. When any desired results appear to  plateau, consider a change in the style of fasting or mixing it up.

Success Tips for Individual Goals

Success Tip for Diabetics

Consider following a low sugar and low carbohydrate or Ketogenic diet. The avoidance of sugar and reduction or complete elimination of grains from the diet contributes significantly to reducing insulin resistance and elevated blood sugars. With intermittent fasting as a foundation it is easy to skip grains at a minimum of one meal. With avoidance of grains at 2 consecutive meal times or the use of the Curb Wellness Shake, it can be easy to keep total carbohydrates from grains at a minimum. Consuming either no grains or the allowance of 50 grams total daily between all feedings, allows greater flexibility with at least one meal, such as dinner. If intermittent fasting for breakfast, plan lunch to avoid grains and keep natural fats high to prolong ketosis.The reduction in consumption of grains throughout the day will greatly assist in lowering insulin, increasing ketosis, assist in weight loss, increase energy, reduce post meal fatigue, and reduce “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Seek the advice and support of a trained Fasting Mentor every 4-6 weeks. For a focused approach toward diabetes consider the following laboratory workup every 6 weeks including CBC, CMP, Lipids, HgA1c, and fasting insulin. Consider also the specialty labs for IgG Food Intolerance and Food Additives Intolerance.

Success Tip for Anti-Aging

Know what you want to achieve with fasting. One of the great benefits derived from fasting and its relation to aging comes as a result of autophagy. Autophagy is a state of recycling of poorly functioning and inflammation promoting cells that persist in the body though their performance is suboptimal. The state of autophagy requires fasting greater than 24 hours to induce this recycling. The benefit of this recycling is a renewal of all cells and joints with evidence suggesting an increase in both lifespan and healthspan. Set a goal to try longer fasting periods as intermittent fasting becomes easier to do by progressing toward Pro Faster, and eventually Master Faster.

In addition, talk to your alternative physician about Anti-Aging research and therapies. Many therapies for slowing and even reversing the aging process are very accessible and include infrared sauna therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and supplements like Curcumin, Green tea extract, Quercetin, Senolytics, NAD, Nicotinamide riboside, and Plasmalogens. Prescription options might include some medications such as Metformin, Rapamycin, and Dasatinib. Though the research is still new, it is progressing, and currently provides great hope for increasing individual healthspan. 

Schedule and seek the advice and support of a trained Fasting Mentor every 4-6 weeks. For a focused approach toward aging reversal consider the following laboratory workup every 6 weeks including CBC, CMP, Lipids, HgA1c, fasting insulin, TSH, T4free, T3free, Cortisol AM, CRPhs, Methyl B12, Homocysteine, and sex hormones. Consider also the specialty labs for IgG Food Intolerance, Food Additives Intolerance, Toxic Metals, Environmental Toxins, Mold, and Plasmalogens

Success Tip for Weight Loss

Keep the metabolism active by exercising 4-5 days weekly for 45-60 minutes even during fasting. Remember to stay well hydrated. Exercise will eat up excess blood sugar, decrease insulin, and speed up the onset of ketosis. Exercise also increases growth hormone secretion promoting muscle growth and a higher fat burning metabolism.

Fasting Tools to Enhance Fasting Success

FASTING TOOLS TO ENHANCE FASTING SUCCESS

Fastwell also offers a line of supportive supplements that provide just the right nutrients to sustain us in our fasting states while we develop metabolic flexibility. The customized use of each supplement is also described in each of the fasting programs.

Sustain Premium Electrolyte

Sustain Premium Electrolyte is a refreshing addition to water that delivers the optimal level of electrolytes while fasting and helps prevent fasting headaches. The premium electrolyte blend includes an optimal balance of RealSalt* (sodium), magnesium, and potassium. Sustain is sweetened with all-natural, low-carb Lo Han Guo (monk fruit) to minimize insulin response and with less than 1 gram of carbs it will keep you in ketosis. Stir one scoop of Sustain into 8-10 ounces of cold water once or twice a day while fasting to improve your experience, control hunger “pains”, and keep in the fasted state.

Boost Pre-Workout Drink

Fasting increases your natural adrenaline and promotes the release of human growth hormone giving you plenty of energy and added muscle growth. Boost Pre-Workout Drink has been designed specifically to keep you in a fasting state while helping you perform optimally during your workout. Drink Boost 30-60 mins before starting your routine for more energy and power during your workout and the nutrients your body needs to support recovery. Because of the added energy with fasting and the addition of Boost, it will be easier to stay in a fasting state longer, thus optimizing fat burning. Stir two scoops of Boost into 8-10 ounces of cold water once a day while fasting to improve your workout and speed muscle recovery while staying in ketosis.

Don’t forget the BIG Picture!

It is so easy to get lost in doing so many little things that we can forget why we are doing it all. The hope of increasing longevity can motivate us to make positive changes. Longevity defined is the balance of lifespan (living longer) and healthspan (living vibrantly). Most individuals seem to agree that they would prefer to only live longer with a high quality of health. Thus vibrant living, living life fully in the present, is the greater goal superseding length of life. 

Since choices that increase lifespan still contribute to a vibrant life, it is useful to become educated in the techniques of increased life expectancy.  Increasing lifespan equates to living longer by actively opposing the progression of common diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, alzheimers, and cancer so often influenced by genetics and environmental interactions. The six leading alternative therapies not promoted by modern medicine to reduce genetic and environmental impacts of disease onset over the lifetime include nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress resilience, physiologic prescriptions, and detoxification.

Lifespan choices do contribute to an enhanced healthspan, but healthspan is generally hardwired and requires a proactive approach decades before onset of the major health concerns. Cognitive, physical, and emotional functioning contribute or distract from the quality of life at any age, but are more disrupting and difficult to maintain as we age.

Diagnostic labs and brain imaging more accurately predict cognitive decline leading to earlier preventions. The variety and level of physical activity through our life becomes a significant predictor of physical decline as we age. The lack of social engagement or a sense of purpose are small predictors of future emotional resilience and stability in an aging population. 

Fasting contributes to the big picture as it effectively addresses many of the concerns associated with aging that affect lifespan and healthspan. It is a foundational idea upon which many other ideas can be built or added upon to contribute to reversal of and prevention of healthspan decline. Fasting in its many forms has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension, dementia, and joint pain, all leading concerns of aging and quality of life. While death is unavoidable, living vibrantly is a choice requiring precise action, with benefits appreciated in the moment and giving hope in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions on Fasting

Can I consume any food or water while fasting?

Fasting has been historically a very rigid practice defined as avoidance of food and sometimes water for a period of 24 hours extending to days and even weeks. The last decade of research has confirmed insulin control and autophagy as the leading health benefits from fasting. Due to the fact that elevated insulin is the leading culprit, and knowing that fasting is the leading therapy to reduce insulin secretion, is there any food or drink that when consumed has none or limited effect on insulin secretion? The answer is YES. 

You can consume anything that does not elevate insulin. Secondly, you can consume anything that does not have calories which generally elevate insulin. Fat is the exception as it does not raise insulin in the body after consumption. If a food does not cause insulin to rise when consumed, then the state of ketosis is continued and fat burning is optimized. Still, fasting’s best benefits are recognized in the complete absence of any food and drink beyond 24 hours. Knowing how difficult this can be, research has confirmed that some drinks and some food will still promote ketosis and minimize insulin spikes, all of which leads to a “fasting state” with the benefit of not feeling “starved”.

Another marker to watch that is much easier to measure on a regular or daily basis are ketones. Ketones are produced while in a fasting state and are a measure of the physiologic promotion of ketosis signifying optimal fat burning. In summary, any drink or food that keeps insulin low and promotes ketone production, is promoting a fasting state. This gives us a little flexibility with intermittent and prolonged fasting as we are able to support our mind and body sufficiently long enough to see fasting’s short and long term benefits. Let’s discuss a variety of options below that we can consume as needed that have minimal impact on insulin and maintain active ketone production:

#1. Water. While fasting you should consume at least 2 liters daily. There are a variety of things to be added to water that provide a mild flavor and health benefits without adding calories sufficient to raise insulin. You can squeeze lemon or lime or add cucumber slices to flavor. Apple cider vinegar can also be added to your water and sipped through the day. All types of teas and coffee are acceptable, particularly green tea with its possible appetite suppressing benefits. Cinnamon and nutmeg also can be added to teas to enhance flavor and health. Electrolytes can also be added to water at the beginning or mid day to help maintain electrolyte balance and improve fasting tolerance.

#2. Fats. Fat is another exception that does not affect insulin secretion or stop ketone production. Fats that can be eaten without raising blood sugar or insulin include coconut oil, medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, butter, and heavy cream. Coconut oil has an added benefit in that the small chain fatty acids, like caprylic acid, are able to naturally kill yeast and candida species in the intestines. Adding a little coconut or MCT oil to green tea for example provides a little flavor along with a positive intestinal cleanse from yeast and extended energy in the day.

#3 Bone broth. Homemade bone broth from beef, chicken, or pork bones is acceptable. Vegetables, herbs, and spices can be added to enhance flavor and nutritional value. In the absence of high blood pressure, a small dose of salt should be added to the broth to improve hydration which is vital when fasting beyond 24 hours.

Bone Broth Recipe: Add chicken, pork, or beef bones, vegetables(celery, cabbage, carrots), 1 tbsp of vinegar, with salt and pepper to taste. Cover all ingredients with water, simmer for 3 hours, then strain and defat. Consume 1-2 cups of broth throughout fasting days. 

Can I still exercise while fasting?

Of course yes. Exercise that is completed while in a fasting state is using up our own personal fat stores for the energy requirements. In the absence of sugars from our diet, our body shifts to burning our own fat, and produces ketones which feed the brain and muscles so we are able to maintain activity. Try to extend the intermittent fasting period as long as able following exercise to promote ketosis. 

If I am very active, will I have enough energy when I fast?

You can take comfort in the knowledge that our bodies know how to keep making energy, even in the absence of meals and snacks frequently scattered throughout the day. As we practice fasting, we will become more metabolically efficient and burn fat which provides more calories for energy production than the same amount of carbohydrates. If you reach your goal weight or you are at your ideal body weight, consider one day a week fasting or a 5: 2 to maintain your benefits and to help maximize autophagy. Timing of meals and activity can be customized to individual needs. Don’t try fasting while hiking the Grand Canyon for example. Do extended day fasting when life is a little slower and stress can be managed effectively.

Will I lose muscle mass or strength when I fast?

According to research, hormones like human growth hormone and testosterone increase as a result of fasting, reduced insulin secretion, and of course strength training. Historic myths of muscle loss with fasting are unsubstantiated. The best stimulus for muscle growth and maintenance is strength or weight training which demands muscle growth from the body. The added support of sufficient sleep, adequate protein intake with non fasting meals, and resistance training provides the best combination for maintaining and gaining muscle mass. Remember sufficient sleep is also required for the body to repair and grow new muscle as a result of weight or resistance training. 

Can I eat high protein and stay in ketosis?

Protein can have a mid influence on insulin levels and thus can affect our ability to stay in ketosis. Some individuals equate the popular keto diet with a high protein diet, but the keto diet is not a high protein diet. It is a high fat diet. Protein can also raise insulin levels. If you eat too much protein you will not stay in ketosis. To stay in ketosis, fat needs to make up >80% of the diet with protein providing <15% total calories. Future research and individual response to protein may affect the recommended ratios of protein and fat in the future. Even as a percentage of total calories to be consumed in a day, 15% of total calories from protein is not that high considering the bulk of dietary calories are coming from fat. If you are consuming more protein in place of sufficient fat you are not likely in ketosis or following a keto diet. Again that is alright to fast without following a keto diet, if by following intermittent fasting protocol, you are still in ketosis more hours during the day than not. 

I get hungry when I fast, what can I do?

It is important to understand that in the absence of regular eating hunger pains can be present. They do not stay permanently and will pass. Try to stay busy or do something active to take your mind off of it until it passses. To prevent the symptoms you can follow the first recommendation to stay well hydrated. Secondly, adding Sustain Premium Electrolytes should also be helpful at the start of the day or toward the end of the intermittent fasting period. Consider as a start to the day or mid fasting a cup of green tea with a 1 teaspoon MCT or coconut oil. Best time to consume this would be in the hour before the hunger pains seem to strike to prevent the onset.

Fasting seems to cause constipation, what do I do?

Due to the infrequent food intake and reduced fiber intake for some, bowel motility may slow down causing constipation. The best way to treat this is by increasing fiber intake with non fasting meals. Some individuals report that adding a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber with the meals eliminates the constipation. If the fiber intake is ineffective consider Magnesium 400 mg once daily to help with bowel motility.

What do I do with medications while I am fasting?

Many medications can produce side effects while in a fasting state by being absorbed less or working more efficiently. Generally intermittent fasting for 16:8 and even 20:4 should have no effect on medication absorption and dosing. Absorption changes with multi day fasting and that means a reduction in some medications may be required. It is necessary, if you are taking any medication to let your doctor know that you are doing extended day fasting, so adjustments can be made if needed. Close monitoring by your physician would be recommended for multi day fasting as described in Master Fasting.