Fasting is the voluntary abstinence of all food and drink. Lasting from 12 hours – 90 days, usually due to religious or therapeutic reasons. An absolute fast or dry fasting is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a period of 24 hours, or a number of days. Water fasting allows drinking water but nothing else. Other fasts may be partially restrictive, limiting only particular foods or substances.
A fast may also be intermittent in nature. Fasting practices may preclude intercourse and other activities as well as food. Several metabolic adjustments occur during fasting, and some diagnostic tests are used to determine a fasting state. For example, a person is assumed to be fasting after 8–12 hours from their last meal. Metabolic changes toward the fasting state begin after absorption of a meal (typically 3–5 hours after a meal); "post-absorptive state" is synonymous with this usage, in contrast to the postprandial state of ongoing digestion.
Fasting is a therapeutic tool practised since millennia by different cultures and medical systems heterogeneously. Fasting is common practice for many traditional and cultural reasons. Many religious groups incorporate fasting into their rituals and fast on designated days of the week or calendar year. Evidence states that medically supervised fasting for 7–21 days is efficacious in the treatment of rheumatic diseases, chronic pain syndromes, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome. Naturopathy uses fasting as the first-line management in treating diseases
Fasting is not a fad
Fasting is Calorie restriction (CR). The benefits of CR diet scientific fact. A Therapeutic Fast simulates a CR Diet that scientists have touted for the main reason behind Okinawan longevity. Like CR, fasting also activates telomerase the anti-ageing enzyme. CR improves how cells respond to stress, how they break down (autophagy), induces apoptosis (programmed cell death ie in cancer cells), and alters hormonal balance. Autophagy in particular, is quality control inside cells. It is essential to maintain cell homeostasis and for efficient cellular response to stress. Autophagic activity declines with age, thus fasting is also anti-ageing. CR also enhances Phase II Detoxification thus will assist in the elimination of heavy metals, hormones and toxins. Read on to discover 2 types of fast, a low reactive diet and a traditional fast.
Aim of therapeutic fast
1. Provides physiological rest for the gastrointestinal tract. Remember that the hardest thing our body does is to digest food.
2. Mobilisation of detoxifying defence mechanisms.
3. Promotes recuperation in chronic illness.
Physiological changes during fasting
Fasting can cause certain changes to occur. There is weight loss initially, lowered blood pressure, heart rhythm changes, a decrease in triglycerides and cholesterol as the fats are mobilised from the liver, an increase in uric acid (therefore is contraindicated in gout) and a decrease in blood sugar. Fasting also enhances immune function and decreases inflammation.
Short fast 3-5 days with no food.
This is known as a water fast. Consume only fruit, vegetables and water for 24hrs prior to and just after fasting. Try and maintain a stress free environment. Fast on a holiday. Drink spring/filtered water only when thirsty. Encourage gentle exercise i.e. Stretching. Avoid extremes. Drink prune juice if constipation develops.
Nutrients to improve detoxification and protect against liver damage
There are 2 phases of detoxification in the liver. Certain nutrients are involved in each. These are;
Phase I Vitamins B1, B2, B3, A, C, E and minerals, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and protein
Phase II Vitamins B2, B3 and minerals chromium, selenium and zinc
Other important nutrients are lecithin, methionine, cysteine, inositol and choline.
Silymarin 420 mg day – after 6 weeks can see normalised cell changes in the liver.
Nutrients for the bowel
Fibre is important as it actually grabs heavy metals and gets rid of them out of the body. This is called chelation. Oat bran, pectin, guar gum, psyllium and slippery elm are examples. Avoid psyllium if you have diverticultis. Probiotics such as acidophilus, bifidus and casei and prebiotics such as fructooligosaccharides and inulin are important for bowel health. Fructooligosaccharides and inulin are the food that the good flora eats. Take fibre away from medications/supplements.
Herbal Medicine to assist detox
Carahealth Liver Tonic
Milk thistle Silybum marinarum, Bupleurum/Chai Hu柴胡 Bupleurum falcatum, Globe artichoke Cynara scolymus, Barberry Berberis vulgaris
- Hepatitis, alcoholism & cirrhosis
- Heavy metal toxicity
- High cholesterol
The tincture contains herbs that regenerate liver cells, promote the flow of bile and assist liver functions in particular, digestion and detoxification. It is recommended for liverish conditions such as irritably, melancholia, nausea, feeling sluggish and particular disorders of the liver. This tincture is designed to assist the liver function. The liver plays a major role in metabolism and has a number of functions in the body, including;
- Glycogen storage
- Decomposition of red blood cells
- Plasma protein synthesis
- Hormone production
- Bile production (an alkaline compound which aids in digestion, via the emulsification of lipids)
- The tincture treats liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcoholism, haemochromatosis, cancer of the liver, Wilson's disease, autoimmune disease of small bile ducts, Budd-Chiari syndrome, obstruction of the hepatic vein and Gilbert's syndrome and assists detoxification, especially of heavy metals.
Carahealth Heavy Metal & Plastic Detox
Burdock Arctium lappa, Horsetail Equisetum arvense, Milk thistle Silybum marinarum, Alfalfa Medicago sativa
Traditionally indicated to chelate heavy metals
Heavy metals are toxic to the human body and exposures are very common. We can become exposed through water, vaccinations, dental fillings, cosmetics and other personal care products, paint, foods and air pollution. There is strong epidemiological evidence that refutes links between environmental triggers, in particular thimerosal containing vaccines, and the onset of autistic symptoms. The symptoms of toxic heavy metal poisoning and the symptoms of autism, PDD, Aspergers, & ADD/ ADHD are very similar. Toxic metals could be the cause of those symptoms. Memory loss, increased allergic reactions, high blood pressure, depression, mood swings, irritability, poor concentration, aggressive behaviour, sleep disabilities, fatigue, speech disorders, high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, vascular occlusion, neuropathy, autoimmune diseases, cancer, thyroid disorders and chronic fatigue are just some of the many conditions resulting from exposure to toxins.
Chelation therapy is the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body. The most common forms of heavy metal intoxication are those involving lead, arsenic or mercury. There are many products that chelate heavy metals from the body. This tincture contains herbs that are naturally high in minerals which oppose and eliminate heavy metals from the body combines with liver herbs as the liver and the bowel are responsible for the elimination of the heavy metals. It is very important to increase fibre in the diet as fibre “grabs” heavy metals and helps eliminate them from the body. I would recommend taking the herbs for one month.
Diseases associated with heavy metal toxicity include;
- ADD/ ADHD
- Memory loss
- Increased allergic reactions
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Aggressive behaviour
- Sleep disabilities
- Speech disorders
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Vascular occlusion
- Autoimmune diseases
- Thyroid disorders
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu.
Cert IV TAE. ARCHTI mem.