Amazing Benefits of Prolonged Fasting
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The idea of fasting has taken the health world by storm and is positively changing the lives of people who are taking advantage of it. But, it's actually not a new idea at all. It's a technique that has been utilized for centuries to boost health. If you're eating frequently—3 meals a day with snacks—then you're missing out on incredible prolonged fasting benefits.
But, the great news is that it's never too late to start getting these health benefits. That's why in this article I will share with you everything you need to know about prolonged fasting and its benefits.
Start embracing a healthier life—start prolonged fasting.
In this article:
- What is Prolonged Fasting?
- Prolonged fasting vs. intermittent fasting
- 8 Incredible Benefits
- How do You do Prolonged Fasting?
- When You Shouldn't be Fasting
- In a Nutshell
What is Prolonged Fasting?
When you think of prolonged fasting, your mind may likely jump to people on a hunger strike. Yes, fasting is a tool utilized in many ways, and it's a central part of many cultures and religions. But, you don't have to think of it that way.
Fasting is more simple than it sounds. Really, it should be a staple of any healthy diet.
Prolonged fasting is when you go for a longer period of time without food. It's not just cutting calories or skipping one meal. People who practice prolonged fasting go 48-72 hours or longer without food. The length of time a person may fast can vary. Sometimes it may be a week, sometimes it may be 21 days or even longer.
People may want to practice prolonged fasting for weight loss or for many other beneficial reasons which we will dive into in just a moment. First, it's important to understand a few things about prolonged fasting.
During prolonged fasting, your body goes into this sort of survival mode. But, this is a good thing. It's actually like a physiological vacation for your organs, especially for the digestive system. I'm sure you enjoy a little vacation from work every now and then—so do your organs.
Your digestive system is especially thankful for this vacation. This is because every time you eat, you're kind of shutting down this system. People who eat frequently – let’s say you are doing 3 meals and 2 snacks never get a chance to get these amazing benefits
Prolonged fasting vs. intermittent fasting
If you're on the keto diet or if you keep up with my blog and videos you've probably heard about intermittent fasting. You may even already be including intermittent fasting as part of your diet. That's great!
So, how is prolonged fasting different? If you're already taking advantage of intermittent fasting, should you be doing prolonged fasting too?
Yes. You should do both.
Intermittent fasting is when you let your body tell you when to eat. You eat when you're hungry, and you don't eat when you're not hungry. You avoid slight feelings of hunger, and you only eat when you're feeling strong hunger—like if you're feeling hunger pain or weakness.
Intermittent fasting has all kinds of benefits. But, this is something you do daily to get into ketosis. Prolonged fasting is when you plan on setting a longer period of time aside to go without any food. So, with intermittent fasting, you may be eating one or two meals a day. During a period of prolonged fasting, you aren't eating any meals.
8 Incredible Benefits
Alright, so now you know what prolonged fasting is. Let's get into the benefits of prolonged fasting. This is not just a tool to put to use for weight loss, and it should not be utilized as a form of an extreme diet. This is something you use along with a healthy diet. You just put your diet on hold for a certain amount of time to gain these benefits, and then you go back to it.
The list of prolonged fasting benefits could go on and on. It could have a positive impact on your metabolism, blood pressure, and even your hormones. But, right now we're going to focus on just eight amazing benefits prolonged fasting offers for your mind and body.
1.) Regrow Your Brain
That's right. With prolonged fasting, you may actually regrow your brain cells. Who couldn't benefit from getting back a few lost brain cells? You won't regrow the entire brain, but certain parts of the brain could be affected, including the hippocampus and parts of the brain stem.
Let's talk about the hippocampus for a second. The hippocampus is a unique horseshoe-like shape. This part of the brain assists with the storage of long-term memories. It's also responsible for remembering the location of objects, places, or people. You wouldn't be able to remember much if it weren't for your hippocampus.
Now, the part of the hippocampus that becomes regenerated during prolonged fasting has to do with your memory. There is almost like a relay switch in your hippocampus that helps you get access to your file cabinet of memories. Regrowing that part of the brain could help support a healthy memory.
2.) Increased Mitochondria
What are your mitochondria? These are the energy factors of the body. This might surprise you, but you're going to find that your energy levels are going to go through the roof during prolonged fasting.
Known as the powerhouses of the cell, mitochondria are the parts of the cell that turn the proteins, fats, and sugars from what you eat into chemical energy. Mitochondria produce about 90% of the chemical energy your cells need to survive— no energy; no life.
Even though you're not eating, you're still burning fats, and you're going to have incredible amounts of energy.
Autophagy is a condition in your body that sparks an incredible self-cleaning action. Really, if you're interested in anti-aging, autophagy is the epidemy of that. Supporting anti-aging will help slow down the aging process—keeping your body looking younger and leading to certain all over health benefits. But, in order to get into autophagy, you want to do prolonged fasting.
Essentially, autophagy is the process of recycling old, damaged proteins, microbes, and damaged mitochondria. You recycle these proteins into new proteins to build new tissue.
4.) Enhanced Stem Cell Production
Your stem cells are cells that don't have a purpose yet. But, you still want them around. Stem cells haven't been differentiated yet. Basically, they just sit there and hang around until the body calls them into action because this other cell is damaged or needs to be replaced.
As you age, you lose stem cells. The more stress you're under, the more sugar you eat, or the more frequently you eat, will also cause your stem cell count to go down. But, during prolonged fasting, you can enhance your stem cell reserve.
You're enhancing your stem cell pool and increasing your replacement. This is another reason why you will start to feel younger and even more youthful during or after a fasting period. Prolonged fasting acts as a really amazing repair action.
5.) Decrease Inflammation
The drugs that promote anti-inflammatory effects are currently dominating the market. Another interesting point is that most of the money in drugs has to do with anti-inflammatories.
Inflammation can cause pain and all kinds of issues with your health from rheumatoid arthritis to diabetes and even auto-immune diseases. Prolonged fasting is an essential tool to help someone get to the root of their inflammation.
Honestly, if you have any of the "itisis" at all, like arthritis, for example, you really need to try prolonged fasting. All autoimmune disease also involves inflammation. That's why the remedy always involves taking steroids which are anti-inflammatories.
The problem with the steroid solution is that it rebounds and destroys the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are vital to your overall mental and physical health. The way prolonged fasting affects the immune system makes it essential if you have an autoimmune disease. I believe it really could significantly improve these autoimmune conditions.
Try prolonged fasting for anti-inflammatory support. It could be a fantastic alternative.
6.) Decrease Tumor Growth
When you're fasting, you deplete your sugar reserves, and your body starts to run on ketones and fatty acids.
Very simply, ketones are a byproduct of fat being burned. It's an alternative fuel source for the body. Instead of running on glucose for fuel, you will switch to running on ketones which will, in turn, help you burn fat.
Ketones are actually the body's preferred fuel source, and it's much more efficient for the brain and heart. Ketones are triggered by the absence of carbohydrates. You will have to stop consuming carbohydrates and let your body switch over and adapt to using ketones. This is where the ketogenic diet comes in—it will help you make the switch.
Tumors can't survive with ketones—they are starved off. So, if you have a tumor whether that's a polyp, a cyst, boils, or fibroids, you need to try prolonged fasting.
Now, I also want to point out that cancer lives on sugar. So, another added benefit is that by fasting and depleting your sugar reserves, you could actually starve cancer as well.
7.) Increase Antioxidants
Your body has a whole network of antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and much more. During fasting, your antioxidant levels go way up. That's because, during this time, your body is repairing and defending itself against things like microbes.
Zinc is another thing that actually goes up during fasting. Zinc is involved in a lot of enzymes that are antioxidant. Uric acid is yet another thing that goes up during fasting. This might sound like a bad thing but it's actually really good.
See, uric acid is one of the body's most powerful antioxidants, and your body will use it during fasting. These levels of uric acid will spike and then fall back down again. It won't stay at a prolonged high point. It goes up and down more like waves. But, your body needs this wave-like uric acid action in order to clean up some of the damage the body is dealing with.
8.) Cell Resistance to Stress
Some people will tell you that prolonged fasting is bad because it's very stressful for the adrenals. But, it's actually helpful to the adrenals because it increases stress tolerance. You're body no longer has to run on the ups and downs of sugar. Instead, you're going into this repair mode where your body increases resistance to all sorts of stresses.
Essentially, your cells become tougher. This is a unique survival mechanism that has been genetically established through years of past adaptation.
How do You do Prolonged Fasting?
Alright, so how do you do prolonged fasting? Well, it's all about listening to your body. Let your body tell you how long you can go without food. This is especially important in the beginning when you're first trying prolonged fasting.
It's really best to start slow with fasting and work your way up to go longer periods of time. You might start with 24 hours without any food. Then, the next month you might want to try 36 hours and then 48 and up from there.
It just takes time for your body to adjust. But, you will start to notice as you fast that your hunger will go away and you will feel good mentally and physically.
Listen to your body's signals. Let it tell you when you need to eat. If you're just feeling slight to normal feelings of hunger, try to keep going with the fast. If you're feeling strong hunger pains, your blood sugar crashes, you're weak—then eat. There is no problem with needing to go a shorter amount of time. If you feel these extreme signs of hunger than eat! However, if you're feeling great on your fast, ride it out!
Here are a few tips for you as you get started with fasting:
It's very important to ease into prolonged fasting. When you first stop your diet and start your fast, fast for however long you can in the beginning. You will likely find you feel great, and you might make it to 72 hours before feeling like you really need to eat. But, when you feel those strong signs of hunger, just eat. You will find you'll be able to go longer the next time you give it a try, but don't force yourself.
Take Electrolytes and Sea Salt
This is a tip that should definitely not be overlooked. During a period of fasting, your body is living off of its reserves. There have been people that try to go a long period of time fasting, and they feel sick or even pass out because their body still needs certain nutrients. You need to take a multivitamin-mineral and sea salt. You also need to have plenty of electrolytes. These will help give your body the vital nutrients it needs while fasting.
Try Green Tea
Some people really overcomplicate fasting. Yes, you can still have your supplements and even tea while on a fast. Green tea is actually a fantastic source while fasting. But, try to get decaffeinated green tea. This might help you switch it up from drinking water and will also help 0boost your antioxidant levels. Another tea that would be great for you to try while fasting is called "hoodia gardenia." This tea will actually help you suppress your appetite, which will make fasting even easier.
There is a great product you can easily find online called EDTA—this is a chelator. I really like this product because it pulls out heavy metals in the body. This is really helpful if you have a lot of calcium deposits or stiffness and even kidney stones. It will help pull that calcium from the body. If your iron is too high, you can really start to notice a lot of problems with the body. EDTA will help pull that excess free iron from the body.
EDTA will actually pull these things out of the mitochondria which will help increase your energy during fasting even more. This is something that is overall just very beneficial to take. It's great for circulation, cardiovascular function, and mitochondria function.
You only need to take EDTA twice a week. It doesn't need to be taken on a regular basis because it will pull too many minerals from the body if you take it too much. So try taking it in the morning to pull out what the body doesn't need and then take your electrolytes in the afternoon to replace the minerals that the body does need. But, only add EDTA twice a week.
What about when you're finished with your fast? When you're done fasting, you might feel like you want to eat a large meal. That's not a good idea. Going from not eating for a long period to eating too much all at once is kind of a shock to the system. When you start eating after a fast, make it a small lighter meal. Just go slowly—eat a little bit, wait, eat a little bit more. Just like how you had to ease into fasting, you need to ease back into eating.
When You Shouldn't be Fasting
Intermittent fasting and prolonged fasting are generally fantastic for the body, and they both spark incredible health benefits. Prolonged fasting side-effects are also rare. However, there are a few cases where you should not do prolonged fasting.
First off, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not try fasting. This includes both intermittent fasting and prolonged fasting. Eating a healthy keto diet is fine, but do not fast. You may actually need more calories when you are pregnant or nursing, not less.
Another situation where I do not recommend prolonged fasting is if you're very thin already and you should not lose any more body weight. In this situation, you may even be on a diet that ups your calorie intake, especially if you want to gain weight. Prolonged fasting boosts your metabolism, and you will experience weight loss. While weight loss might be a benefit for some people, if you need to gain weight, it would be an obvious issue. You can still do intermittent fasting, but trying prolonged fasting could be a problem for you.
In a Nutshell
If you're physically able to do prolonged fasting and you aren't already, you're missing out on amazing health benefits. It even goes beyond what I have outlined here. The effects it has on your metabolism, hormones, weight loss, and blood pressure—fasting has changed people's lives. It may seem challenging at first, or you may assume you can't do it before you even try. But, you can. This is completely possible for you to do if you are in the right physical condition.
Fasting is simple, and it doesn't have to be that hard if you follow my easy tips. Trust me. The benefits are worth it. Just give it a chance—you'll see.
*Any comments on our blog or websites relating to weight loss results may or may not be typical and your results will vary depending on your diet and exercise habits.
***Always consult a professional before making any significant changes to your health.