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To Fast Or Not To Fast (Intermittent fasting: Good or Bad)


To Fast Or Not To Fast (Intermittent fasting: Good or Bad)


Why do we fast? Spiritual reasons mostly isn’t it?

Not really. Many of us also fast so that we can maintain our body weight and clean our body of toxins. Now research has come up with a new reason for us to fast for- boosting our immune system.

Some of us have a weak immune system, while some of us have a strong one, and the rest are just OK. This fact about the immune system baffled me more and as I was writing this article  two very interesting questions popped into my head.


“How immune are we in spite of the sterile environment that we try to surround ourselves with? and “How is it, that people who lived in slums, or poorly sterile areas, whom I came across everyday seemed more immune than us?”

A simple answer was provided to my question via Sarah L. Blum, a Vietnam Veteran, Nurse Psychotherapist, whom I had spoken to regarding this matter and her opinion was that-

When people live in clean environments and eat healthily and fast with some regularity they become very sensitive and so things that did not affect them before may after they have cleaned up. When people live in slums and squalor they build up a tolerance and immunity to what they are exposed to and can handle it better but take them away from all that and clean them up they will lose their ability to fend off the effects of something harmful. It was the white population that introduced disease into the Native American culture and they did not have immunity to what was brought to them.”

Well it is true isn’t it? After all our immune system does adjust itself according to the environment that we expose it to for longer periods of time. So in this case, can our immune system be boosted with the help of fasting? Let us see what researchers have to say.

What research says…

The latest discovery says that intermittent fasting can revive our deteriorating health and prevent us from Cancer, Alzheimer’s and other terminal illnesses. [1]

For more than 100 years, people have taken to fasting as an integral part of natural hygiene care and mankind has witnessed many restoring their health through fasting.  Fasting has been the last resort for those who have found no comfort in health even after years of treatment.

In a very recent study conducted by the University of Southern California it was found that if we fasted for 2-3 days, especially in the case of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and the elderly, our immune system regenerates itself.

As part of the research, both mice and humans were tested for the effects of fasting for a period of 2- 4 day over the course of six months.

At the end of the six months a lowered count of white blood cells was seen in both specimens. However, the experiment also showed a stem cell based regeneration of white blood corpuscles in mice after every fasting cycle. This regeneration renewed the body’s defense system.

What makes fasting work

Homeostasis makes fasting work. Not familiar with the term Homeostasis are we?

Well let me explain what it is.

Homeostasis is the mechanism of balancing, centering, and stabilizing the body and is that which enables our body to adjust to the relentless changes in your external and internal environments.

Homeostasis is well maintained while resting and fasting than when one is eating or engaging in activity. Hence, during this period of rest, the conservation of energy creates a favorable condition for the biological process of healing and a regeneration of cells is seen which boosts our immune system! [2]

Headache, psoriasis, lupus, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, colitis, and uterine fibroids are some of the illnesses which respond to intermittent fasting or a drastic dietary change. However, prior to starting a fast it is always necessary to consult a Professional Natural Hygienist because sometimes it becomes necessary to stop or eventually decrease some medications before the fast.

As said by Brandon Mentore– Health Strength and Conditioning Coach,

Intermittent fasting gives the organs and system of your body a break from their “duties” and allows them to perform housekeeping and maintenance. So the digestive system for example in the presence of fasting, can repair the lining of the gut, maintain good bacterial population, remove metabolites and filter out toxins all of these processes are crucial in improving any disease but are tough to perform when you’re constantly digesting food all day every day.

Giving your systems that break is what makes intermittent fasting so effective, it improves almost all systems in the body.
Fasting as a strategy for improving illnesses in clean environments is usually recommended because the assumption is the illness was contracted under conditions that were perhaps unclean.

Being in a cleaner environment is more conducive to the detoxifying effects intermittent fasting has because the environmental insults are greatly reduced. Doing intermittent fasting in slum conditions will work but not as effectively because those environmental insults are still present and can slow down healing and detoxification. “

What happens when we fast?

During a fast, most parts of the human body undergoes complete physiological rest, except for the liver and kidney which remain highly active.  It can be compared to the recovery process that our body goes through during the night when we are asleep because then our body does not have to concentrate on anything else that we do.

In the same way when we do not eat and stay on a fast for 2- 3 days, our body carries out the same restorative function towards the affected body part because it then does not have to concentrate more into the digestive process.

Just as abstinence from food at night facilitates the process of biological renewal, in the same way fasting allows your body to proceed with its repairs and restorations. If fasting and rest are both combined our body treats it as an extended period of renovation and renewal, thus enhancing the process.

Breaking the fast correctly

There are numerous signs that indicate when a fast should be broken. Looking out for these signs will help you break your fast in the correct time.

  1. Return of appetite: You start feeling hungry as opposed to the addicting emotional craving that you always had when you started the fast. You will understand the difference because as you fast you will lose the craving and your natural appetite will return.
  2. Sweet smelling breath: As you start to fast your breath will smell foul as your body detoxifies. However, with time as the detoxification completes, your breath will smell sweet and clean.
  3. A cleansed tongue: During the initial stages of fasting the tongue is coated with a thick and greasy layer which also gives us a bad taste. As the detoxification process completes this layer disappears and we have a clean tongue. Also salivary secretion becomes normal.
  4. Cool body temperature: During detoxification our body temperature will drop but it will return to normal once our body has detoxified itself.
  5. Normal Blood pressure, blood sugar, and pulse rate: Previously elevated Blood pressure, blood sugar, and pulse returns to normal.
  6. Clear Skin and better eyes: You will notice that skin reactions and other reactions become normal. Also our eyes become bright and our eyesight is improved.
  7. Improved elimination: Body  waste loses its odor and the urine becomes clear, light and almost white in color.
  8. Improved Circulation: Improved blood circulation is seen throughout the body as the color of the nail beds progress from a pale color to pink color.
  9. Controlled Emotions: Emotions are well controlled after fasting. The person will be more at peace, will be optimistic, cheerful, and content.
  10. Clearer mind: Fasting will clear the person’s thought process and give way to more ideas and inspirations in abundance. The person’s ability to understand will improve.

Before I end the discussion let me tell you that fasting and starving are two different processes altogether. When we fast we abstain from food for certain periods while also making sure that the body has enough nutrients reserved to meet the body’s needs. If you abstain from food at the point when your body does not have enough nutritional backup then you are starving yourself.

In short, I am saying that though fasting can regenerate your cells and bring you up from down the dumps, do not do it without supervision. A trained personnel such as someone who is a member of the International Association of Hygienic Physicians (IAHP), who is certified for fasting supervision is someone you can seek help from if you feel that maybe fasting is what you need to go for.

Now since you read this article, this is what i need you to do- discuss your experiences and views with me in the discussion forum below. Hope to hear more from you soon.

[1] Michalsen, A., & Li, C. (2013). Fasting Therapy for Treating and Preventing Disease - Current State of Evidence Forschende Komplementärmedizin / Research in Complementary Medicine, 20 (6), 444-453 DOI: 10.1159/000357765. ^Back to Top^

[2] Cheng, C., Adams, G., Perin, L., Wei, M., Zhou, X., Lam, B., Da Sacco, S., Mirisola, M., Quinn, D., Dorff, T., Kopchick, J., & Longo, V. (2014). Prolonged Fasting Reduces IGF-1/PKA to Promote Hematopoietic-Stem-Cell-Based Regeneration and Reverse Immunosuppression Cell Stem Cell, 14 (6), 810-823 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.04.014. ^Back to Top^

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