What if you could burn fat, build muscle, detox your body, and rebuild your immune system by doing absolutely nothing?
Well you can, with the power of fasting!
As you probably know, fasting is a tool that has been used for spiritual purposes for thousands of years. Many different cultures all over the world have used fasting to commune with the Divine.
But fasting is not just for spiritual health.
Fasting can be used as a tool to promote health and regeneration on the physical level as well.
In fact there is quite a bit of scientific evidence for fasting. Studies show that fasting can: increase insulin sensitivity, promote weight loss, decrease inflammation, increase mental clarity, normalize levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, and even regenerate the immune system.
This makes sense considering that supermarkets and fast food restaurants have not always been available and our ancestors had to endure periods of food scarcity and famine. Our bodies are not only designed to handle these difficult times but actually require them in order to carry out certain biological processes.
Digestion is an energy intensive process. When no food is consumed for extended periods of time the body can use the excess energy for detoxification and healing. This leads to rejuvenation of cells and a profound anti-aging effect.
One of these biological processes is called autophagy. The word autophagy is derived from the Greek word meaning “self-eating.” This process is one of the main drivers of the benefits of fasting and the first step in attaining the anti-aging benefits of fasting.
Autophagy is triggered by calorie deprivation, particularly in regards to protein restriction. The process of autophagy involves the recycling and elimination of damaged cellular material and cellular waste. In other words the body begins “eating” up all the old damaged materials making room for new material to be generated.
The benefits of autophagy peak at around 36-48 hours of fasting. However, some autophagy does begin to occur as soon as 8 hours into a fast.
As the body “cleans house” with autophagy, it also stimulates the regeneration and regrowth of new material. During a fasted state, the body begins to upregulate the production of human growth hormone (HGH). In fact fasting has been shown to increase HGH as much as 1300% in women and up to 2000% in men!
But why is growth hormone important?
HGH helps the body burn fat, build muscle, increase bone density, and reverse aging.
Spikes in HGH during a fasted state allow the body to rebuild and regenerate the cellular machinery that is cleaned out by autophagy.
In fact, one prominent study has shown that 3 days of fasting can literally regenerate the entire immune system!
The study shows that as the body “eats up” old immune cells, stem cell activity is catalyzed. The stem cells then begin to create new immune cells which leads to the anti-aging effects of fasting.
This can be seen in clearer skin, improved immunity, better joint and connective tissue function, and increased mental clarity.
Fasting resets your body’s sensitivity to a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin is considered the “hunger hormone” because it stimulates appetite.
But this is not the only thing ghrelin can do.
In one study, mice that were injected with ghrelin were found to have improved memory and learning as well as increased neural connections.
This is because ghrelin stimulates a process called neurogenesis in the brain. Neurogenesis refers to the production of new brain cells. Neurogenesis is incredibly important for keeping the brain young and healthy.
With so many benefits of fasting, you might be considering giving it a try. If you are, it is important to start slow and to do your research.
The ideal length for a fast for optimal benefit is 3-4 days. However, for most people this is impractical.
A good way to start is with a technique called intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is when a large section of time is dedicated to fasting with only a small “eating window” during which food is consumed.
For beginners, I recommend an 8 hour eating window and a 16 hour fast. This can be done two or three days a week at first. If that works out, then you may want to increase to every single day. From here if you want to shorten the eating window further for more benefits, you may.
Fasting is contraindicated for those who are immunocompromised, pregnant, or breastfeeding.
For those with a chronic disease it is best to approach fasting under the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To get some of the benefits of fasting without depriving yourself of food, check out the highly acclaimed Keto Zone Diet today!
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After the Neurogenesis header, I believe it should read: ‘Fasting resets your BODY’S sensitivity…’ Otherwise, I enjoyed reading this article. I have heard a little bit about intermittent fasting before, but I haven’t tried it yet. I think I will though real soon!
In my younger days I fasted 3days water only then 6days liquids. That was divinely directed. I went from a size 12 to a size 8. Now being in my 60’s, I’ve fasted 4-5 days on the lemonade fast and my bones had no pain. I’m going to try 4days with 4hrs window to eat and 20hrs fasting. Thanks, I hope to visit your office one day.