Water Fasting Benefits, Dangers, & My Personal Experience

A number of years in the past, I began experimenting with water fasting. Through the years, I’ve discovered it to be a tremendous expertise, a lot in order that I proceed to do it yearly, a number of instances a 12 months. I’ve seen so many advantages, not simply health-wise but additionally mentally and spiritually. It’s been a enjoyable journey to take as I’ve discovered extra and grown stronger with every quick I take.

Earlier than I share extra about my expertise with water fasting, I need to emphasize that that is MY expertise. Whereas fasting is usually thought-about protected for brief quantities of time, not everybody can or ought to attempt it. What works for one in every of us may not work for everybody. 

That is what labored for me.

What’s Water Fasting?

Because the title suggests, it’s fasting whereas solely consuming water. Nothing however water. Natural teas, black espresso, calorie-free drinks, and dietary supplements aren’t a part of water fasting. Simply water. You’ll be able to add in Himalayan salt to your water, which is useful to take care of electrolytes, particularly within the first three days if you lose quite a lot of water.

This 12 months, I’ll even be experimenting with ingesting extra salt water and minerals on the water quick and probably taking enzymes like Masszymes, which I theorize gained’t break the quick however may pace up autophagy.

If it sounds robust, I can say from my expertise, that water fasting is way simpler than different forms of fasting (bone broth, juicing, and many others.), that are extra dietary modifications and never fasting. The outcomes are way more profound with water fasting than different fasts. Such a fasting can be known as block fasting or long-term fasting.

How Lengthy Does a Water Quick Final?

Water fasting can differ in length. Brief-term fasts of 24-72 hours are thought-about protected for most individuals. Extended fasting consists of fasts of 5, seven, and even forty days. I began with a shorter quick of 24 hours to start after which labored my method up. Now, I usually do a five-day water quick as soon as 1 / 4 and an extended seven-day water quick to start out annually off. The longest I’ve fasted is ten days.

Why I Determined to Quick on Water Solely

All through historical past, individuals have fasted by default when entry to meals was restricted or throughout journey when meals was unavailable. As well as, each main faith recommends (or requires) fasting not directly.

However in trendy instances, the thought of voluntarily going with out consuming appears absurd to some. Researchers estimate that Individuals don’t even eat simply 4-6 instances a day like we expect we do. The precise quantity is nearer to 17-18 instances a day.

Don’t suppose you eat that many instances a day? Think about this — from a biochemical perspective, any time we put one thing caloric in our mouths, there’s a digestive occasion. Each hand filled with nuts, each sip of smoothie between meals, or perhaps a sip of espresso with cream. The physique sees all of these as digestive occasions.

As of late, we eat way more, transfer a lot much less, get much less daylight, and have way more synthetic mild publicity. The chances aren’t in our favor.

I made a decision to experiment with fasting due to all of the well being advantages. Nevertheless, I discovered that I truly felt extra psychological and non secular advantages from it than I used to be anticipating. Now, I be taught way more concerning the psychological and kind of emotional aspect of it.

The Advantages of Water Fasting

Though I’ve researched a number of forms of fasts (intermittent fasting, fasting mimicking eating regimen), I made a decision to experiment with water fasting due to all the advantages consultants have found.

Research present many optimistic results of fasting, together with:

  • It creates autophagy within the physique
  • Lowers age-induced irritation within the physique
  • Reduces oxidative injury
  • Lowers NF-kB activation
  • Boosts the immune system

What’s Autophagy?

Autophagy actually means “self-eating”. Primarily, throughout autophagy, the physique recycles previous elements to create new elements.

Analysis exhibits that autophagy is a key a part of the physique’s means to detoxify and regenerate itself. Fasting and high-intensity train each stimulate it. Even intermittent fasting can have advantages, although the largest outcomes appear to return from longer-term fasting.

Research have discovered that autophagy can result in decreases in threat of most cancers, coronary heart illness, and Alzheimer’s. Different research discovered it could enhance longevity and cut back all-cause mortality. Recycling = good for cardboard and good for our cells too!

Decrease Irritation and Oxidative Injury

Elevated irritation and oxidative injury correlate to early demise, whereas decreased ranges equate to longer life. Individuals who dwell to be 100+ years previous share the widespread issue of low ranges of irritation within the physique.

Research present that fasting reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines and irritation within the physique. Particularly, researchers at Yale Faculty of Drugs discovered {that a} compound known as beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) inhibits NLRP3.

NLRP3 is a part of a set of proteins known as the inflammasome, which drives the inflammatory response in a number of problems, together with autoimmune illnesses. These embody Hashimotos, kind 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s illness, coronary heart illness, and different auto-inflammatory problems.

The researchers discovered that BHB is produced by:

  • Fasting (handiest)
  • Excessive-intensity train
  • Caloric restriction
  • A ketogenic eating regimen

Cut back Most cancers & Coronary heart Illness Threat

Rising analysis exhibits a hyperlink between fasting and decreased most cancers threat. That is doubtless as a result of two elements listed above: elevated autophagy and decreased oxidative injury/irritation.

Analysis additionally exhibits that water fasting might sluggish or halt tumor progress, in addition to enhance the chemotherapy results and cut back the unintended effects. This makes it doubtlessly helpful when mixed with typical most cancers remedies.

One more examine discovered that water fasting will help shield the center towards injury from free radicals.

One physician I spoke to claimed that 1-2 five-day water fasts a 12 months may cut back most cancers threat by greater than 90%! Even when the outcomes aren’t that dramatic, I made a decision it was price a attempt.

Increase the Immune System

A 2014 examine discovered that water fasting for simply three days may regenerate the immune system. The researchers discovered that fasting “flips a regenerative swap” and prompts stem cells to regenerate new white blood cells.

“It provides the ‘OK’ for stem cells to go forward and start proliferating and rebuild the whole system,” in accordance with Dr. Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology and the Organic Sciences on the College of California and writer of The Longevity Weight loss program.

This analysis makes fasting promising for these with immune issues, these present process chemo, and all of us as we age since immune perform declines with age.

Enhance Mind Perform

When fasting, the physique switches from burning glucose to burning fats. As a substitute of glucose, the mind makes use of ketones for gas. Ketones are largely thought-about a extra environment friendly gas for the mind. Because of this, fasting is related to elevated psychological readability, focus, and focus.

My Expertise Fasting on Water Solely

Earlier than leaping right into a water-only quick, I researched the potential advantages and talked to a number of consultants. Like I stated, I’m not suggesting any such quick for anybody else; I’m simply sharing my private expertise. Anybody contemplating it ought to do their very own analysis and speak to a certified healthcare skilled.

For my first quick, I picked every week freed from journey or any main actions. This turned out to be an excellent factor as a result of, honest warning… the primary few days of fasting aren’t enjoyable. In any respect. However in addition they aren’t as dangerous as you may suppose.

Just a few days earlier than I begin, I deal with consuming much more inexperienced veggies, ingesting water, and taking dietary supplements (they aren’t allowed on a water quick). I additionally make certain my electrolytes are up with home made electrolyte drinks and add salt to my meals.

Testing on the Water Quick

My experiments with fasting are for analysis in addition to the well being advantages. To judge the results on my physique, I do a number of forms of testing earlier than, throughout, and after my first quick, together with:

  • Full CBC and Thyroid Blood Panel – I ordered and not using a physician by means of Life Extension (click on on “lab testing”). I do that earlier than and after the quick to measure outcomes.
  • Ketone Testing & Blood Glucose Testing – I used a Keto Mojo meter for each of those. You desire a 1:1 or higher ratio of ketones: glucose in mmol/L throughout fasting to indicate autophagy. In case you have a daily glucose meter that measures in mg/dl, divide that quantity by 18 for mmol/L. For example, my regular fasting blood glucose of 71 divided by 18 is 3.94 mmol/L.
  • Breath Acetone Testing – This check measures the quantity of ketones used and may predict fats burned. The blood ketone measurement above determines ketones within the blood, and this one measures the way it’s getting used. I used this machine. Of all of the exams, I take into account this one the least vital.
  • Intestine Testing – I examined my intestine utilizing Viome earlier than and after to see if there have been any dramatic shifts in intestine well being.

What Type of Water on the Quick?

Since water is the one factor consumed through the quick, it’s vital to verify to drink high-quality water. I’ve an entire home filter and a 14-stage under-the-sink filter, so I drink my faucet water. Some individuals choose to make use of distilled water whereas fasting as a result of it’s freed from all minerals.

Electrolyte depletion is among the larger dangers of fasting, so I added some high-quality Himalayan salt to a few glasses of water every day. That is supposed to assist with complications and tiredness.

The quantity of water can be vital throughout a quick. Ingesting an excessive amount of water could cause issues, as can’t ingesting sufficient. Sources differ on the precise quantity however it ranges between 2-4 quarts a day. I simply drank when thirsty and added a pinch of salt to a few glasses a day.

What Merchandise Ought to You Keep away from on a Water Quick?

Sources disagree on what merchandise, if any, needs to be used whereas fasting. Some declare that any lotion, toothpaste, or deodorant will create a metabolic change and break the quick. They advocate brushing with a plain, moist toothbrush and scraping the tongue. In addition they advocate skipping deodorant. Others say that ordinary exterior merchandise are high quality.

Since I make lots of my magnificence and private care merchandise, I felt okay utilizing them. I used a pure toothpaste and used magnesium oil for deodorant, since Epsom salt baths are thought-about okay. I additionally used cleaning soap every day and didn’t discover any detrimental results from this.

Dietary supplements aren’t allowed on fasts. As I discussed, you’ll be able to add high-quality salt to your water or use Epsom salts. This helps you steadiness electrolytes through the quick.

My Day-by-Day Water Quick Expertise

The primary time I experimented with a water quick, I didn’t know what to anticipate. I hoped to expertise autophagy and elevated stem cell exercise. I’ve observed that my expertise in earlier fasts has been fairly comparable, however now that I do know what’s coming, I can plan accordingly.

Here’s what I skilled daily:

Day 1

Since I didn’t know what to anticipate, I scheduled a straightforward first day. Issues began out regular, however by dinner, my physique began to note it hadn’t eaten all day, and the starvation hit. Then the tiredness.

General, it wasn’t a horrible day, and I simply took it straightforward. I went to mattress round 9 PM that evening and received about 10 hours of sleep.

Day 2-3

These center days had been tough. I used to be nonetheless hungry (clearly) but additionally had fatigue and slight physique aches. I additionally received chilly, doubtless as a result of modifications in T3 that naturally occur throughout fasting. So, I spent quite a lot of time on the sofa with blankets these two days.

I wouldn’t say lately had been as dangerous because the flu (although it’s been a very long time since I’ve had it), however they had been tough.

Days 4+

I beloved days 4-7 of my first quick! Vitality got here again with a vengeance, and starvation disappeared. I used to be simply 2-3x extra productive than regular. Many sources declare it’s because you’ve got extra time because you don’t must cook dinner. For me, this wasn’t true as a result of I nonetheless needed to cook dinner for my youngsters.

Since I used to be measuring blood ketones, I do know they had been above 4.0 on lately, and my adjusted glucose was beneath it. This implies I used to be in autophagy. Ketones are thought-about a cleaner and simpler gas for the mind by some consultants. I’m guessing the psychological readability got here from the elevated ketones.

The one criticism I had throughout lately was itchy pores and skin. From my analysis, this could be a widespread response to fasting and weight reduction, however an Epsom salt tub alleviated it.

Breaking a Water Quick Fastidiously

Surprisingly, if not performed appropriately, one of many greatest threat elements of fasting may be the return to regular consuming. The longer the quick, the extra vital the post-fast refeeding interval is. In excessive instances, after lengthy fasts, the physique can encounter one thing known as refeeding syndrome. That is the place fluids, insulin, and electrolytes get out of steadiness. In actually excessive instances, it may be deadly, so breaking the quick appropriately is VERY vital!

Sources advocate beginning with broth, delicate cooked veggies, some mild fruits, and fermented greens. Meat, fish, dairy, and uncooked greens are all somewhat harsh for breaking a quick, so it’s higher to attend till day three post-fast for these. Moreover, it’s a good suggestion to attend 4 to 5 days earlier than including in caffeine or alcohol in very small quantities.

My refeed appears somewhat bit like this:

  • Day 1: Broth, delicate cooked veggies in olive oil, avocado, berries, and sauerkraut (All of it tasted superb!). I usually break the quick at evening and preserve my meal to round 500 energy to let my digestive system begin working slowly.
  • Day 2: Add candy potato and extra quantity of meals.
  • Day 3: Add sluggish cooked meats and fish. Additionally add in dietary supplements.

My Water Fasting Outcomes

On my first water quick, I felt actually good after the center of day three. The psychological readability I had was superb! This has been my expertise with every quick since that first one. For every quick, I nonetheless monitor my blood glucose and ketones earlier than, throughout, and after.

I additionally examined my blood ranges earlier than and after fasting to verify it didn’t negatively have an effect on my thyroid. Not solely was it not dangerous to my thyroid, however my ranges truly improved!

The largest modifications I observed from my quick had been:

  • Weight reduction – Though this wasn’t the primary motive I experimented with water fasting, it was a fantastic profit. After I did my first quick, I misplaced over fifteen kilos throughout a one-week quick, of which twelve kilos stayed off. The opposite three kilos had been doubtless from water and meals within the digestive system.
  • Fasting blood glucose – Earlier than the primary water quick, my fasting blood glucose was at all times fairly good — within the mid-80s most days. Whereas fasting, it received as little as the 50s however has normalized and is constantly 71-73 each morning, even now that the quick has ended. I exploit this steady glucose monitor.
  • Thyroid ranges – My thyroid antibodies had been already low however received even decrease after fasting. All different thyroid hormones stayed the identical or improved.
  • Ldl cholesterol – My ldl cholesterol numbers and ratios have at all times been good however improved post-fasting. For a short while, they had been barely elevated, which is regular after fasting, weight reduction, or being in ketosis. Then, they normalized and returned to barely higher ranges.
  • Sooner Adaptation to Ketosis – On the time, I used to be experimenting with biking ketosis and utilizing it typically for psychological readability. By day one of many quick, I had achieved ketosis and noticed ranges get as excessive as 5.8 through the quick. Since then, I’ve been in a position to get into ketosis in in the future by simply limiting carbohydrates.

Who Ought to Not Water Quick

In brief, nobody ought to quick simply because I did, and everybody ought to completely analysis the dangers of water fasting and speak to a medical skilled earlier than attempting it. Widespread sense and analysis agree that fasting can be not a good suggestion for:

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers

The time spent rising and nourishing a child is a particular (and exhausting) time and never a time so as to add fasting into the combination. Fasting throughout these instances can result in nutrient deficiencies and dangerous substances being launched into breast milk.

Youngsters

This goes with out saying, however rising kids ought to by no means do an prolonged quick. In our home, our children typically select to “quick” for one meal quite than eat a meals they don’t love or in the event that they aren’t hungry. This encourages them to hearken to their our bodies and solely eat when hungry. It isn’t the identical as an prolonged quick, and kids ought to by no means limit energy for prolonged intervals of time.

That stated, youngsters typically don’t wish to eat a lot when sick, and so long as they get sufficient fluids, that is usually thought-about okay.

These With Medical Circumstances

Anybody with a well being situation or persistent illness ought to speak to a physician earlier than trying any main dietary change, reminiscent of fasting. These with gout, kidney problems, consuming problems, or diabetes mustn’t quick until beneath direct medical supervision.

The Backside Line of Water Fasting

I’ve had a optimistic expertise with water fasting. Though the primary few days are somewhat tough, I actually admire the advantages it has on my well-being. I’ve continued to finish fasts each few months and full one longer water quick originally of every 12 months. I’ve loved the psychological readability and the bodily advantages every time. 

Have you ever ever tried a water quick? If that’s the case, what was your expertise?

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